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The Election March of the Trolls

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Posted on Aug 28, 2011
Illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

We have begun the election march of the trolls. They have crawled out of the sewers of public relations firms, polling organizations, the commercial media, the two corporate political parties and elected office to fill the airwaves with inanities and absurdities until the final inanity—the 2012 presidential election. Journalists, whose role has been reduced to purveyors of court gossip, whether on Fox or MSNBC, descend in swarms to report pseudo-events such as the Ames straw poll, where it costs $30 to cast a ballot. And then, almost immediately, they blithely inform us that the Iowa poll is meaningless now that Rick Perry has entered the race. The liberal trolls, as they do in every election cycle, are beating their little chests about the perfidiousness of the Democratic Party and Barack Obama. It is a gesture performed not to effect change but to burnish their credentials as moralists. They know, as do we, that they will trot obediently into the voting booth in 2012 to do as they are told. And everywhere the pulse of the nation is being assiduously monitored through polls and focus groups, not because our opinions matter, but because our troll candidates understand that by parroting back to us our own viewpoints they can continue to spend their days lapping up corporate money with other trolls in the two houses of Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and television studios where they chat with troll celebrity journalists.

The only commodity the troll state offers is fear. The corporate trolls, such as the Koch brothers, terrify the birthers, creationists, militia lovers, tea party militants, right-to-life advocates, Christian fascists and God-fearing red-white-and-blue patriots by proclaiming that unless they vote for Perry or Mitt Romney or Michele Bachmann or some other product of the lunatic fringe of our political establishment, the American family will be destroyed, our children will be corrupted and the country will turn socialist. Barack Obama, who they whisper is a closet Muslim, will take away their guns, raise their taxes and bring homosexual couples into kindergartens.

For those, usually liberals, still rooted in a reality-based world, one that believes in evolutionary science, the corporate trolls offer a more refined, fear-based message of impending doom: If you abandon the Democrats we will be governed by Bible-thumping idiots who will make us chant the Pledge of Allegiance in mass rallies and teach the account of Genesis as historical and biological fact in our nation’s schools.

And underneath it all runs the mantra chanted in unison by all the trolls—terror, terror, terror. The troll establishment spins us like windup dolls and laughs all the way to the bank. What idiots, they think. And every election cycle we prove them right.

“The only people who grasp the distinction between reality and appearance, who grasp the laws of conduct and society, are the ruling groups and those who do their bidding; scientific, technical elites who elucidate the laws of behavior and the functions of society so that people might be more effectively, albeit unconsciously, governed,” wrote James W. Carey in “Communication as Culture.”

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The trolls dominate or have neutralized every major institution in the country on behalf of their corporate paymasters. The press, education, Wall Street, labor and our political parties are managed by trolls or have been destroyed by them. Sometimes these trolls speak like liberals. Sometimes they speak like conservatives. Sometimes they are secular. Sometimes they are Christians. But the language they use is a cover for the relentless march toward a totalitarian capitalism and a kingdom where the trolls, if not the rest of us, live happily ever after. Rick Perry and John Boehner overtly make war on Social Security. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi say they would like to save Social Security but are sadly powerless before the decisions of a congressional super committee they helped form. The result, of course, is the same. We get to choose the rhetoric and manner in which we are deceived and disempowered. Nothing more.


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By Chris Acosta, January 21, 2012 at 8:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Obama has rejected the Keystone Pipeline
for the reason of wanting more time to review it’s
impact.  Some will say it is just a ruse and perhaps
that is the case.  I refuse to believe people like
Mr. Hedges however because he has surrendered to his
own despair. Events in the real world have a way
affecting even those who run to communities that are
supposedly self sufficient.  Imagine living in Europe
in one of these communities in 1938 completely
oblivious to what was happening not 100 miles away. 
Ignorance is no protection against anything! 
President Obama is different from those running
against him and he is as good as it will get in 2012. 
I intend to vote and be engaged in this nation’s
politics under none of the illusions described in
Mr. Hedges rant.  The only mindless troll is Mr.
Hedges and his need for other mindless trolls to
follow him down his path of complete nothingness.  He
offers no real solutions except to run and hide one’s
head in the sand.

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By ardee, January 17, 2012 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, January 16 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

The government is not socialism.  Socialism is the ownership and control of the means of production by the workers.

You are, of course, correct in your assertion, as far as it goes. But when a government funds research that benefits us all I feel free to make such an analogy, even if it is a bit tongue in cheek.

Now if the Pharmaceutical Industry would price the products that we the people funded in the first place at reasonable levels the space between socialism and our current system might narrow even further.

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By Anarcissie, January 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

The government is not socialism.  Socialism is the ownership and control of the means of production by the workers.

I see no reason why socialist organizations can’t do pharmaceutical research and development, however.

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By ardee, January 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

But, for example, socialism didn’t create the drugs we have now days that can keep people alive who have hiv.  That was created by corporate funded research.

Sorry, Charley, but all that drug research was, in reality ,funded by the government in the form of tax breaks and the like. Somewhere around 85% Ive heard.

Socialism in action.

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By Charles, January 16, 2012 at 4:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This piece makes me wonder if the author thinks the sky is falling on the entire world.  He must.  Because political and living conditions aren’t better in other countries. 

Is the goal supposed to be more socialism?  Is the failure in that the reason for the dire attude?  But, for example, socialism didn’t create the drugs we have now days that can keep people alive who have hiv.  That was created by corporate funded research.

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By ardee, September 19, 2011 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, September 10 at 10:07 am

While I appreciate the studied response I come away from it with more confusion. How, I wonder, can you justify a belief in Socialism with continued support for the Democratic Party, wedded as it is to Corporatism?

I reject your appraisal of the current direction of that party and think you believe in it as it once was and fail to perceive what it is now. Perhaps you cling to that loyalty because the extremism of the GOP, failing to think outside the box of a system which is basically a Duopoly Party, each almost mirror images of the other.

Before you jump all over that statement allow me a moment. The Republicans are not the Tea Party, they are simply in a trap of their own making. When faced with electing George W. they sought, and found a base of radicals who would work tirelessly to raise the GOP to prominence, putting aside their own differences for the nonce. Now they are trapped riding the tiger with no way off the beast.

Both political parties are wedded to a system requiring huge infusions of money to gain office. That money does not come from thin air, donations of fifty or a hundred bucks are insufficient to obtain the hundreds of millions necessary to win a majority in the Legislature and the White House. That money serves to maintain the control of the wealthy over our government and its decisions. Corporate rule is fascism, and that is what we have when one considers voting for either of the two political parties that further this fascist state.

If you are serious, as you state you are, about the advent of socialism then you must, perforce, think outside a box that is a trap. Neither party will ever lean left until we the people force them to do so. I believe that third party politics is the way to force change while maintaining the basic system under which we once flourished.

Yes, I do understand that “flourished” is a bad choice of words as we lived our good lives on the backs of the third world. But Ive not enough characters allowed me to express my full message here. I think you and I agree right up to the edge of things. But you seem to want to remain wedded to a party that has left you behind.

Neither major party will ever consider such as free elections, changes to voting I, and perhaps you as well, believe necessary, and the rest of that which is needed to end the stranglehold of money on the process. Only a third party, given a small number of seats in the Houses, can begin to effect change by bringing to the fore that which will remain forever silent without them present.

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By Anarcissie, September 18, 2011 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

Actually, there are quite a few self-sustaining, autonomous communities out there.  For obvious reasons, they lie pretty low, and anyway, ‘the revolution will not be televised’ because it will be incomprehensible to Televisionland.  At least you can think about things like this, and maybe find others who are interested; you might be able to do something.  Whereas it is pretty obvious that confining your political attention and activities to the Democratic Party is not likely to have any discernable result whatever.

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By Lucius, September 18, 2011 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges has abandoned all hope by which we might beat the system at its own game by essentially creating a viable alternative to the predatory ruling trolls, and has, in essence, given up on the very possibility of political self-governance. 

What I find problematic is his assertion that “We have to turn our backs for good on the Democrats, no matter what ghoulish candidate the Republicans offer up for president” because it leaves us with few options.  We cannot begin a human based political system because, as Hedges knows, the trolls simply do not allow it.

Therefore, while he may be correct that ‘they’ have won and we ought to embrace our ‘banishment’, that only makes sense if banishment = viability.  If we must become internal exiles in our own Nation, fine, so long as we can prosper and not be subject to the tyranny of ghoulish trolls. 

But the problem as I see it is that the only alternative he recommends is “to create monastic enclaves”.  Well, that’s certainly one option.  But it’s an ideal, I’m afraid, which is out of reach for most people who are sick and tired of the status quo.  Unless Hedges wants to recommend the practical steps people would have to take in order for such self-sustaining, off the grid, rural ‘monastic’ communities to take shape, then it’s just an unrealizable fantasy.  Forming self-sustaining communes as the alternative to a broken and potentially unsustainable system may happen somehow, somewhere, sometime.  But getting farmers, butchers, machinists, mechanics, teachers, carpenters, masons and everyone it would take to create a viable alternative ‘monastic’ society seems to me to be a utopian vision, the practical implementation of which renders it moot.

And to be sure, writers such as Derrick Jensen and others are thinking along these lines, but meanwhile the ghoulish trolls are in command

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By poodfreemon, September 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

troll (1616) : a dwarf or giant in Scandinavian lore

Without cable TV for a month, I am mostly free of the trolls, the trolls who
“have crawled out of the sewers of public relations firms, polling organizations,
the commercial media, the two corporate political parties and elected office to
fill the airwaves with inanities and absurdities until the final inanity—- the
2012 presidential election.”

In the first paragraph Hedges nails it. He reduces to troll status the entire
American political caste (D.C. players, Wall Street and corporate players, media
players), and thereby he opens the door that leads to a world without trolls.
With one word Hedges has given us the power to dismiss all of our trolls,
merely by flipping the switch to OFF, merely by withdrawing all allegiance to all
trolls.

“The troll establishment spins us like wind-up dolls and laughs all the way to
the bank.”

And what might be the nature of our revolution? I’m sure many of us have our
two cents to throw into the ring. Hedges lays a possible foundation when he
says, “The only route left is to disconnect as thoroughly as possible from the
consumer society and engage in acts of civil disobedience and obstruction.”

Once again I would like to suggest that we embrace the ever-more-clever
approach and include revolutionary tools like humor, flash mobs, wikileaks and
“weaponized irony.”

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By JDmysticDJ, September 10, 2011 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

RE: ardee, September 9 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

I’ll try to keep this succinct. When I get started up it becomes hard to stop. Yesterday morning I wrote 2,600 words regarding: The evaluation of empirical data and statistics, Capitalism , The Republican Party, Right-wing economic theory, Ayn Rand, William Edward Hickman, quasi-sociopathic behavior, Alan Greenspan, Milton Friedman, Paul Ryan, Capitalism’s power and influence over our government and the world, etc. 2,600 words and I was just getting started. I have saved those words and I might fill a thread with those words at a more appropriate time and for a more appropriate topic in the future.

What exactly is an “inevitable possibility,”? Speculation about possible outcomes is just that, speculation. Asking people to consider possible outcomes does not in any way suggest that those possible outcomes are inevitable. What some are suggesting here is that the collapse of capitalism is inevitable. “It is clear, or will become clear soon, that capitalism, and the capitalist total state which grew out of it, don’t work.  People are going to have to deal with that sooner or later.”

True dat…? Is it possible that capitalism will become more powerful and repressive, not less powerful, or that capitalism dominated governance, as we know it, will evolve into something even more repressive and violent?

You write:

“[I] prefer to see socialism rise to the fore sans any sort of overthrow or such.”

If I have not been clear about what I’m advocating, let me state now that I not only prefer what you prefer, but I believe that any other outcome would be tragic. We only disagree on the best method of achieving that goal non-violently.

O[B] zerk Michael voices the fears of the Right. A sizable portion of the Right considers Obama to be a radical leftist, but you and I know that this perception by the Right is absurd. There is an anti-gun website, csvg.org that listed the incidences of politically motivated violence since Obama was elected under the title “Insurrection Timeline,” all incidents the result of anti-government loonies, Obama haters, or right-wing lunatics. These incidents along with the riotous vitriol and acrimony so evident during the Health Care reform debate demonstrates that if conditions continue to deteriorate, the possibility of violence enveloping our nation sometime in the future is not beyond the realm of possibility, stranger things have happened. I’m only asking people to consider the possibilities.

Remote future possibilities, or unforeseen future possibilities aside, the immediate result of the Left turning away from Obama and the Democrats would be a strengthening of the right-wing servants, and sycophants, of capitalism.

Criticisms of the Democratic Party, in my opinion, are justified, not just now, but going all the way back to the pre-Vietnam era, but the contention that Democrats have been more progressive than Republicans can not be disputed by a rational and informed person.

Note David J. Cyr’s anti-Democrat fanaticism.  I’ll suggest that David J. Cyr might suffer from a bizarre form of political dyslexia. I do not believe that David J. Cyr is a deceitful Republican operative or double agent, but I do believe: He, you, and others, to some extant, function as such.

Finally, government serves as a convenient straw man villain for capitalists. Capitalists invest in subverting government, while at the same time capitalists invest in propaganda to discredit government. Republican initiatives amount to nothing other than the failed policies they’ve advocated for decades. Yes, the Democrats have been complicit to a degree but the dichotomy of thinking between Republicans and Democrats can not be denied. I do not object to valid criticisms of Obama and the Democrats, but I do object to the advocacy put forth by Hedges and others that the Left abandon Obama and the Democrats, the outcome of such a strategy is obvious.

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By Anarcissie, September 10, 2011 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

RedwoodGuy, September 10 at 6:00 am:

‘... Change is coming. It is coming in exactly the way the Societal Bosses want it.’

I don’t think they’re that competent.  They are good at political manipulation and propaganda, because that’s how they got their jobs, but I don’t think they know how to administer, to take care of, to build.  If they were, they would observe that the most stable, successful sort of capitalist state is social-democratic at home (that is, Welfarist) and lies low abroad.  Instead, we see dismantling of Welfare, reckless financial and military adventures, and the stirring of ethnic and religious hatred.

On the evidence, I’d say the American state has deteriorated into a weak structure dominated by plutocrats, kleptocrats, and sadistic thugs.  Eventually, this state will collapse, probably through bankruptcy or a falling-out among its ringleaders.  Unfortunately for most of us, the collapse is not likely to be very pleasant.

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By David J. Cyr, September 10, 2011 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

Liberals work to get wrongs done better.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By Cliff Carson, September 10, 2011 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

David J. Cyr

“Honestly, I’ve never known a Democrat who wasn’t faking their sincerity.”

Honestly?

David

You are a Self-Promoting person in the mold of those who brought the woes to America.  I am speaking of both Republicans and Democrats.

“Democrats won’t be allowed in Heaven”, is the conclusion arrived at by American Family Radio that sells itself as worried about the future of America.

They are a 24/7 National Republican Radio selling itself as Christian Radio.

I notice you’re writing is very similar to what I hear on that station.  They also feature Limbaugh and Hannity, etc.

David, I question your honesty.

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By Cliff Carson, September 10, 2011 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

Redwoodguy

Unless you are one of the Establishment - which you portray yourself not to be, then you are going to be dumped on just like the rest of us.

And yet you seem to be joyful about that.

You’re attitude is “Bring it on” I’m not going to resist, at least not while I can go out into the woods and catch squirrels and rabbits for my sustenance.

That is your right.

I have a different view of the world.  I see those Establishment people as telling me I have to go provide their sustenance to their liking, and that if I was a good servant, I would be like Redwoodguy, I wouldn’t complain, I would would be joyful in serving my masters.

Tumble bugs is what comes to mind.

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By David J. Cyr, September 10, 2011 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Actually, Obama is a liberal.

He’s doing what liberals do.

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By RedwoodGuy, September 10, 2011 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

@Cliff Carson
“It’s almost as though commenters are afraid to speak up, afraid that derision will be poured upon them.”

No, but they would be fired. Let’s generalize first. The role of media is to blow the Establishment’s horn. By media, I mean all the big influential media like NYT, CBS, WSJ, and so on. The Establishment is in fine condition thank you, no change required. You see the world from the bottom up, they see it from the top down.

Right now the Establishment is making structural changes to the USA. They are remodelling the house. That’s what you see as as problem, and they see as an opportunity.

We don’t need 90M workers any more, so they have no interest in solving unemployment. They wanted to trim the workforce down. They have. They don’t want to pay the health care costs of getting poor people into their 80s and 90s. It’s too bloody expensive for too little return. So, they are trimming off Medicaid and all other related costs of caring for the poor. We don’t need all that many educated people any more, and so they are cutting way, way back on all education budgets and teachers. Meanwhile, if you will take note, their wealth is being compounded annually. So, what you are seeing is exactly, precisely what they intend to be happening.

Now, when you say people should want change, sure they do, but they don’t all want the same change. The media keeps people fighting each other over the social issues to create cultural divide - - a class war among one class, working people. They are confused and dazed. They actually thought Obama was a liberal. And so on.

Change is coming. It is coming in exactly the way the Societal Bosses want it.

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By David J. Cyr, September 10, 2011 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Cliff Carson:

“As long as the sessions are performed honestly and with a sincere effort to find the best path forward, usually cause and solution are identified.”
___________________

Honestly, I’ve never known a Democrat who wasn’t faking their sincerity.

If they were sincere they wouldn’t have ever been Democrats.

Democrats cause the the problems they campaign to reform.

Liberal “reform” is the process of applying new paint upon old rot.

If you really want some change, then stop being a Democrat… start getting real.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By Anarcissie, September 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

I would be more concerned with non-socialist violence at this point.  If we look at the history of Europe between 1910 and 1940, approximately, we observe not socialists but fascists coming to power through revolutionary violence following breakdowns in the capitalist order.  There were some ‘socialist’ regimes (Russia, Hungary) but they were fairly fascistic in practice.  In the United States, there are no orderly, self-disciplined workers’ movements of any size, so if things deteriorate to the point where there is fighting in the streets—and this has certainly happened to big industrial countries like ours—it’s not the socialists who are likely to float to the top.

I realize most of the talk about ‘revolution’ is childish; but maybe we all need to stop being children now.

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By Cliff Carson, September 9, 2011 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

I would like to see the American People decide to make a change.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

I pasted this quote on another thread, but it is telling that on just about any thread on Truthdig or just about any site for that matter, you can read ream after ream about that other Party or that other Politician until your head hurts.  You can read over and over again what people think is wrong.

Most of the people who make comments about these articles are sincere and are concerned about the future of America.  Of course there are some exceptions.

But what you won’t hear are suggestions about how the Government can be reformed.  It’s almost as though commenters are afraid to speak up, afraid that derision will be poured upon them.

That is why I posted that Shaw comment.  If you truly want to reform our Government, you must first be willing to change your minds about pre-set ideas.

In Industry, one of the more powerful tools that is utilized to find problem cause and problem solution is Brainstorming.

When a group Brainstorms, normally disparaging a suggestion is not allowed.  When no one of the group can come up with any new suggestion, the group chooses the most likely problem cause from the pile of suggestions ( there are several ways to go about this) coming from the Brainstorming.  The method is then repeated to find the most probably solution.

As long as the sessions are performed honestly and with a sincere effort to find the best path forward, usually cause and solution are identified.

We need to come together one way or another and begin searching for a solution that will yield a method to cause reform.

Who is willing to present their ideas to this thread group?

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By OzarkMichael, September 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment

I prefer to avoid thinking of the possible inevitability of violence, and prefer to see socialism rise to the fore sans any sort of overthrow or such.

      -ardee


Dont think about the possibilty of violence while several Truthdig bloggers hint at it?

Oh yeah, thats a good strategy… NOT.

The good that we hope for rarely happens via ‘prefering not to think about’ bad things that people around you are planning on. I would feel much better about our chances, ardee, if you opened your eyes more often.

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By ardee, September 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

Well, who knows.  It is clear, or will become clear soon, that capitalism, and the capitalist total state which grew out of it, don’t work.  People are going to have to deal with that sooner or later.

True dat…..But, with a population of 300 million either the prophesy of JD or the advent of another system , one more equitable, fairer, far less violent and certainly more rational seems inevitable.

I prefer to avoid thinking of the possible inevitability of violence, and prefer to see socialism rise to the fore sans any sort of overthrow or such. Socialism does seem to work where it has been applied.

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By Anarcissie, September 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

There are different meanings for capitalism and capitalist.  In Marxist theory (and probably in some preceding theories as well) capitalism is a political and social order as well as an economic and financial arrangement.  The capitalist political order comes about when the bourgeoisie—the owners of the industrial means of production—supplant the feudal lords or landed aristocracy as the dominant class of a country.  Once capitalists have become the dominant class they can generally set things up to their liking, although they are constrained by conflicts with other capitalists, with other countries, and with the working class whose labor power they exploit.  The limited-liability joint-stock corporation seems to have been an early invention of capitalist statecraft and it seems reasonable to associate it with the notion of capitalism.

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By filosofe, September 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

You guys misuse the word “capitalism.” 

Under capitalism strictly-defined, the capitalist owns the business outright, and is therefore responsible, down to the last penny of his wealth, for its losses.  We would probably be bertter off under such a system, cruel as it may sound.

Incorporation circumvents this inconvenient exigency.  A corporation is a legalized irresponsibility.  It is much more altruistic.  Owners personal wealth is protected.  When a corporation comes a cropper, the consumers who had the gall not to patronize it foot the bill. 

There is a great scene in Clavell’s Gai-Jin where one Japanese explains the nature of a “joint-stock company” to his amazed superior.  Seeing it, as it were, from the viewpoint of Mars, you can understand how against all ordinary standards of right and wrong it is.

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By Anarcissie, September 8, 2011 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, September 8 at 9:38 am:

‘The concept of small self regulating communities is appealing. I won’t make the bold assertion that “It ain’t gonna’ happen,” but I will suggest that if it were to happen it would be in the far distant future, and furthermore I’ll suggest that the only potential for small self regulating communities to come into existence it would be as a result of a cataclysmic total collapse of our society….’

Well, who knows.  It is clear, or will become clear soon, that capitalism, and the capitalist total state which grew out of it, don’t work.  People are going to have to deal with that sooner or later.

The simple-minded may have sensed this already, which would explain why they’re turning to religious fanaticism as an alternative.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 8, 2011 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

By RedwoodGuy, September 7 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

“First, yes I am anti-statist. States are an abstraction that are not vital to human interests. Why is “small” - as in small local communities - considered pessimistic and negative? I find small community engagement to be uplifting and positive. Small groups make rules easily, they reach consensus easily, they provide justice easily, they create a moral platform easily. Small reduces friction. “
“As to the C.U. question. Sure, a liberal justice would have delayed the incursion of corporate money into politics, but only by some time. If you track the corporate takeover of public life, the dots all line up in one direction. It is an irresistible force under our faulty (flawed) scheme of governance. Maybe Citizens United type of decision would be 5 years or 10 years later. Let’s not forget here that the Clinton gang who advertised themselves as liberals, were responsible for something far, FAR more destructive than C.U., and that was all the Rubinomics of turning finance loose on the economy. So, I have to be completely skeptical of claims that Dems are a serious bulwark against the corporate state.”
The concept of small self regulating communities is appealing. I won’t make the bold assertion that “It ain’t gonna’ happen,” but I will suggest that if it were to happen it would be in the far distant future, and furthermore I’ll suggest that the only potential for small self regulating communities to come into existence it would be as a result of a cataclysmic total collapse of our society, and even if such a cataclysmic collapse of our society were to occur it is unlikely that small self regulating communities would be the result. Power vacuums are always filled, and what they are filled with is seldom, if ever, desirable. Perhaps I’m speculating too much, but aren’t you also speculating about the inevitability of Citizens United becoming law? Now, if you’re only suggesting that you want the Federal Government to be reduced to the point where it has no ability to regulate or fetter capitalism, then you should attend the next Tea Party rally and register as a Libertarian, or a Republican.

(More below)

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By JDmysticDJ, September 8, 2011 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

#2

David J. Cyr appears to be suggesting that North America should be reorganized into nine separate “States,” or is it that he’s asking us to think about alternatives to the current reality. Maybe David J Cyr is asking us to contemplate a futuristic world in the genre of science fiction, just for the fun of it or to expand the horizons of our thinking. I am perplexed as to why David J. Cyr would post such a comment. Incidentally, an avatar is a Hindu Deity reincarnated in human form, a computer generated image of a human being, sort of a hologram kind of a thing, or the embodiment of concepts and ideas. I am not the reincarnation of a Hindu Deity, a hologram, or the embodiment of concepts and ideas, I present ideas and concepts, but I do not embody them.  I’m trying to think of an embodiment for my concepts and ideas; the only embodiment I can come up with would be that of a long haired bearded individual clad in tattered garments, wearing sandals, a crown of thorns, and a pained [removed]I expect to be metaphorically nailed to the cross, or perhaps to spend eternity in hell because of my inappropriate levity in this matter, but, oh well, that’s neither here nor there.) Continuing, David J. Cyr accuses me of being devious. I am not at all devious, I present my ideas and concepts in a straightforward manor (With the exception of the occasional inappropriate levity,) and I consider it a great travesty of justice that I am not allowed to use the terms nihilistic and nihilism while David J. Cyr is allowed to use the term avatar inappropriately. I would be within my rights to report David J. Cyr to truthdig, obtain legal counsel, and sue David J. Cyr for defamation of character… (Perhaps I’m overreacting a tad bit, it’s no big deal really, just a very minor irritant.)

Neither David J.Cyr’s “Nine States,” nor your advocacy of small self regulating communities can have any impact on our immediate future; unless you’re advocating reducing the size of government to the point where it could be drowned in a bathtub in order to leave capitalism unfettered. I don’t want to assume too much, and quite frankly, any assumption about you is now difficult because I can not fathom what you are thinking [?] But I shall assume that you wish to cease the power and influence of the very few over the vast many, and to stop the rightward slide into a corporatist state, neo-fascism, neo-feudalism, whatever. Imagining what might be the reality in a far distant uncertain future does nothing to prevent the rightward movement of our government that is evident today and has been occurring rapidly over the last 30 years or so. I can only restate my belief, supported by political realities that the Democratic Party provides a “Bulwark” against the tide of right-wing injustice and mean spirited folly, however weak that “Bulwark” might be. Yes that metaphorical “Bulwark” needs to be strengthened but leaving that “Bulwark” abandoned and unattended will negate its ability to restrain the tide and increase the potential for barbarous heathens to continue and escalate their barbarisms. Reform not destruction is what’s needed, and Marxist theoreticians and free marketers, with their similar theories of constructive destruction can kiss my far more rational and compassionate ass, so to speak.

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By David J. Cyr, September 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an avatar, being a painting in many shades of (D)evious blue):

“I find myself in a quandary as to what term to use to describe what I believe is your harmful and counter productive thinking.”
______________

The RedwoodGuy avatar that, by the way, looks remarkably like Timothy Leary, is quite apparently well engaged in a thought process that (D) dedicated liberal avatars quite evidently haven’t sufficient imagination to be capable of:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking

Since the conservatives and liberals are determined to keep on doing what they’ve done, the best option any of us will likely have (and most won’t have it) will be hospice care, when the terminal-stage climate wars the corporate party dedicated have made inevitable soon come.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By RedwoodGuy, September 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

@JdMysticDJ

First, yes I am anti-statist. States are an abstraction that are not vital to human interests. Why is “small” - as in small local communities - considered pessimistic and negative? I find small community engagement to be uplifting and positive. Small groups make rules easily, they reach consensus easily, they provide justice easily, they create a moral platform easily. Small reduces friction.

As to the C.U. question. Sure, a liberal justice would have delayed the incursion of corporate money into politics, but only by some time. If you track the corporate takeover of public life, the dots all line up in one direction. It is an irresistible force under our faulty (flawed) scheme of governance. Maybe Citizens United type of decision would be 5 years or 10 years later. Let’s not forget here that the Clinton gang who advertised themselves as liberals, were responsible for something far, FAR more destructive than C.U., and that was all the Rubinomics of turning finance loose on the economy. So, I have to be completely skeptical of claims that Dems are a serious bulwark against the corporate state.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment

Definitions of nihilism (n) 

“Total rejection of social mores: the general rejection of established social conventions and beliefs, especially of morality and religion.”

“Belief that nothing is worthwhile: a belief that life is pointless and human values are worthless.”

“Disbelief in objective truth: the belief that there is no objective basis for truth.”

Synonyms: negativism, pessimism, nothingness, emptiness, anarchism, skepticism


En Carta includes:

“Belief in destruction of authority: the belief that all established authority is corrupt and must be destroyed in order to rebuild a just society.”

“Anti-statism is a term describing opposition to state intervention into personal, social and economic affairs.[1] Anti-statist views may reject the state completely as well as rulership in general (e.g. anarchism), they may wish to reduce the size and scope of the state to a minimum (e.g. minarchism), or they may advocate a stateless society as a distant goal (e.g. Marxism).”

Note that I did not suggest that you were a nihilist, I wrote that, “what you advocate is blatant, and glaringly obvious, nihilism.” And that Hedges’ thesis was “…A dangerous and nihilistic kind of thinking, pure and simple.”

The terms nihilism and nihilistic have been used to describe:  music styles, youth social movements, movies, certain books, historical political movements, and philosophies.

I’ll retract my accusation of nihilism, simply because the word has such broad implications. I suppose that someone could accuse me of being guilty of nihilistic thinking under such broad definitions. The definition of Anti-Statist seems to be fitting for Tea Partiers, Ayn Rand types, Republicans, Marxists and Anarchists. Are you certain that you want to define yourself as an Anti-Statist?

Like cpb who is uncertain about the definition of capitalism I find myself in a quandary as to what term to use to describe what I believe is your harmful and counter productive thinking. I’ll find a way to express my thoughts on this matter, moronic won’t be a word that I will use in respect to your thinking.

Again, I believe your thinking and what you advocate as a strategy to alleviate the abuses of capitalism, corporatism, government, whatever, is in essence: negativism, pessimism, nothingness, emptiness, anarchism, and I am more than skeptical that what you advocate as a strategy has any potential for a positive outcome.


Improper use of the terms nihilism and nihilistic aside, do you believe that a Left leaning Supreme Court Justice i.e. Democrat appointed Supreme Court Justice, would have functioned as a “Bulwark” against the Citizens United Supreme Court decision?

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By David J. Cyr, September 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

I read this book about 30 years ago. It could be useful for sensible reorganization, because there certainly hasn’t been much homogenization happening.

It’s a primer for downsizing North America. Think of it as a secessionist’s tool for redistributing self-determination from sea to shining sea… a start on the path back to where we were, as we create hospice care communities in the End Times coming with climate change.

The Nine Nations of North America
by Joel Garreau

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nine_Nations_of_North_America

Garreau’s updates:

http://www.garreau.com/main.cfm?action=book&id=3

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By RedwoodGuy, September 7, 2011 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

@JDMystic

Nihilism? Where on earth did you get that from anything I said or promoted? Seriously now, the “slit my throat” comment was just comic hyperbole regarding “more of the same old Democrats.”

I have never advocated anything except building local communities, building self awareness, building individual liberty and eschewing war machinery in the form of large inchoate states, like the USA.

I am a humanist. Nihilism has no part in anything I think about or advocate. I think what might be confusing you is my anti-statism. Most people who are embroiled in the political party game are dyed-in-the-wool statists. They simply can’t imagine life without the USA as an umbrella. A giant nation striding around the world building an empire. I am anti-statist, and I have no regard whatsoever for the USA as a state. That’s not nihilism.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 7, 2011 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

RE: cpb, September 6 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Are you asking for a descriptive term that isolates the good aspects of capitalism from the bad aspects of capitalism? Any good aspects of capitalism are greatly outweighed by the bad aspects of capitalism in my opinion.

Up until 5 centuries ago usury was defined as, “The loaning of money for profit.” Today usury is defined as, “The loaning of money at an exorbitant interest rate.” What is exorbitant is subject for debate. Need I offer the statistics of the distribution of wealth in this country, for example, just 400 Americans have more combined wealth than the combined wealth of over 150 million Americans.  The combined incomes of those who accumulate more than a million dollars annually is 39 trillion dollars; our debt amounts to 14 trillion dollars.

From a macro perspective, the best measurement of economic justice is the distribution of wealth. Capitalist entities do not create wealth, they consolidate wealth, and that consolidation of wealth leads to inordinate political power which has the affect of accelerating the consolidation of wealth.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 7, 2011 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

RE: RedwoodGuy, September 6 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

“Slit my throat please, and end it all. “

The above sentence by you is easily recognized as being hyperbole, but the above sentence by you is the essence of what you advocate, and what you advocate is blatant, and glaringly obvious, nihilism.

Hedges writes:

“We have to turn our backs for good on the Democrats, no matter what ghoulish candidate the Republicans offer up for president.”

The above from Hedges is not hyperbole, it is the thesis of this article and other articles he has written, and it is a dangerous and nihilistic kind of thinking, pure and simple.

I don’t know if you noticed, but when I pointed out the very real difference between Romney and Obama regarding the “Citizens United Decision “truedigger3 reacted with anger and insult. The 5-4 Supreme Court Decision would have been different if there had been one more Left leaning Supreme Court Justice in the Supreme Court. That Left leaning Supreme Court Justice would have served as a “Bulwark” against that corporatist i.e. capitalist, corrupt, and tragically harmful Supreme Court Decision.

I can not bring myself to wishing you good luck with your nihilism.

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By David J. Cyr, September 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE, cpb:

Is this still capitalism?
________________

Not as we, nor Marx knew it.

However, Marx surely saw our present predicament far better back then than near everyone now who’s living within our present predicament.

Traditional capitalism served the interests of shareholders. Not now!

History provides ample evidence that an evil thing survives and flourishes much easier than a good one can. Evolution isn’t always glacially slow. Occasionally, it’s accelerated within a brief period of time. That’s when there’s the greatest confusion.

The history of Civilization is the history of fascism serving the economics of exploitation. Fascism began with the organization of small city states created to protect their citizens seeking to dominate and exploit any other people not them. It ramped up rapidly in intensity with the creation of larger nation states. It flourished with energetic vigor with the ingenious innovations of capitalism and a most intelligent design developed from the reasoning of the Age of Enlightenment (see the Bill of Rights and Constitution of the United States). And recently, it MovedOn, becoming the global Market-State… a stateless (in the defined borders sense of the word) state. The Market-State effectively owns the United States and all other “developed” nations — acquisitions of rusty old debt-ridden entities that are no longer sovereign states… no longer having governments able to self-determine national policies. The apparently “sovereign” old developed nations are actually now just wholly owned subsidiaries of the Market-State.

America was the Don Corleone of nation states, but now America is just the global Market-State’s Luca Brasi.

Now, even the wealthiest and mightiest of capitalists are incapable of controlling or predicting returns from the massive amorphous entity that the Market-State is… an invasive globally malignant entity that has no loyalty to any nation, any people, or any class. It’s the end-stage of capitalism — the end-stage of a cancer upon Nature that will soon have no hosts left to feed it, because none of its human hosts will much longer survive the mindless market driven insatiable extraction of the last remnants of fossil-fuels.

Within living history — within the lives of the “Greatest Generation” and “My Generation” — profit driven humans have destroyed multiples more of the commons that human habitation upon this planet requires than all our ancestors did, from the Stone Age up to our time. Complete collapse is imminent… because the Market-State is no more concerned about the consequences of Earth’s ecosystem collapse than any cancer is about the death of its host. Cancer never needs to plan for a future.

What to do? First, consider these two quotes from very different people — with very different intentions — discussing essentially the same phenomenon (the state of our current condition, using different terms for it: market-state in the 1st quote, and Empire in the 2nd):

“Whereas the nation-state, with its mass free public education, universal franchise, and social security policies, promised to guarantee the welfare of the nation, the market-state promises instead to maximize the opportunity of the people and thus tends to privatize many state activities and to make voting and representative government less influential and more responsive to the market.”
— Philip Bobbitt,  (from “Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History”)

“Whereas in the disciplinary era sabotage was the fundamental notion of resistance, in the era of imperial control it may be desertion. Whereas being against in modernity often meant a direct and/or dialectical opposition of forces, in postmodernity being-against might well be most effective in an oblique or diagonal stance. Battles against the Empire might be won through subtraction and defection.”
— Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (from “Empire”)

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By David J. Cyr, September 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an avatar, being a painting in many shades of (D)evious blue):

“If all supporters of the Democratic Party would withdraw their support for the Democratic Party and give support to a more progressive and less corrupted Political Party, en masse, then I would be all in favor, but such can only be considered a pipe dream at the present time.”
________________

Yes. If “progressive” Democrats ever actually wanted what they advertise they wouldn’t have been Democrats.

The Democrat faction of the corporate party can’t be “reformed” by any insurgency. It was pluperfectly designed to absorb all good intentioned persons who enter, and put them into service of evil.

There will be none of the systemic change that our children existentially need as long as the Democrat faction of the corporate party lives on to deceive yet another generation… the last one it will ever need to deceive.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By cpb, September 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

“I want to shake it up and see some action. The American thing has really failed, and it is beginning to stink up the joint. A timely exit is in order.”

- RedwoodGuy

I disagree on ‘beginning to..’. And ‘the joint’ as it turns out, is most of the planet at this point.  Sigh..


But hell yeah!  Fist raised high.  Keep us informed.

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

@JD Mystic DJ

I’m perfectly at ease with some chaos. I think it might be absolutely necessary for the creativity to emerge. Nothing is more depressing to me than the thought of more Clintons, more Obamas, more Gores. Slit my throat please, and end it all.

You may imagine Democrats as some bulwark against Republicans. But really, it doesn’t bear out in the facts. Nixon was more liberal than Clinton. Obama is re-tracing Bush policies. Now what? What possible difference is there to get excited about?

You certainly are entitled to enjoy your support of The Party. For me? I am well over 60 and I have run out of time and patience. I want to shake it up and see some action. The American thing has really failed, and it is beginning to stink up the joint. A timely exit is in order. Even such characters as Dennis Kucinich have become self parodies.

I wish you luck bolstering the bulwarks.

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By cpb, September 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

“‘Free’ markets, ‘free’ enterprise, private enterprise, and capitalism are often confused, sometimes deliberately in pursuit of obfuscation.  One also observes talk of ‘planned economies’ or ‘command economies’ with reference to socialism, as if capitalists neither planned nor commanded.  Finally there is a bit of confusion between capitalism the system of economic and financial relations and capitalism the dominant ideology of the state.  We may not all be on the same page here.”

- Anarcissie

Yes!  That’s the problem I’d like to understand more fully, or have understood more fully by a higher fraction of us so we can all agree on just what the heck we are talking about.  I’m ready to vote for coming up with an entirely new term, but I’m not going to promote that idea here.

If you look at how the polarized “wings” and their media talkies abuse the language it is no surprise that we don’t understand what another may mean when they throw out what should be a commonly understood word or expression.

But ‘capitalism’ for pete’s sake - so central to so many necessary discussions….  It would be nice to have the friggin thing complete with a slightly narrower focus.

Thanks for the input.

Thanks also to RedwoodGuy.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

RE: RedwoodGuy, September 6 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

If I understand you correctly, and I think I do, you are using the examples of evolution of new paradigms from old paradigms e.g.  Hunter gathering to agrarian, agrarian to industrial, etc. and of course such paradigm shifts were not the result of planning per se, but you have missed the point of my comments.

Paradigm shifts that occur over time, decades or centuries, would not be the result of planning as in some hunter gathering society sitting around a fire discussing the best way to become agrarian rather than being strictly a hunter gathering society. Whether there was chaos associated with such paradigm shifts is another matter. Throughout history and up until the present time the migration of agrarian populations into industrial areas has been fraught with some degree of chaos, hardship, exploitation, etc. but focusing on the concept of capitalism, “killing itself” would indicate some measure of collapse, leading to a measure of chaos, but as far as I’m concerned the end of capitalism would be worth a modicum of chaos. I would have been pleased if capitalism had come to a peaceful end 5 centuries ago. I don’t ascribe to the thinking that progress, in all its forms, was contingent on the existence of capitalism, and I would include progress in technology as not being contingent upon capitalism, but such thinking is easily challenged and can only lead to argument based on conjecture, but contemplation about the virtues or lack of virtue of capitalism has little relevance to the specific intent of my post. When I wrote, “…but more to the point is the immediate strategy advocated here by some that we should turn away from being involved in our governance without a consideration for what might be the result of that turning away.” I was attempting to be very specific. I was referring to our immediate future and what I believe would have immediate negative consequences on our near future, as well as having negative long term consequences for our future, and potentially negative consequences on the goal of disempowering capitalism, or even more specifically, negative consequences on the immediate goal of obstructing the ever increasing power of capitalism and its advocates and sycophants to control our governmental systems.

I am now having doubts about my ability to convey my thoughts on this matter without being even more specific.  It is my belief that the Democratic Party with all its faults and perceived corruptions, real and imagined, is the lesser of evils and that the Democratic Party does provide a Bulwark against the greater evil of the Republican Party, however weak that Bulwark might be. I continue to believe that reforming the Democratic Party has the most promise for achieving mutual goals and that supporting the Democratic Party at the present time is the only logical course of action and that these advocacies of turning away from the Democratic Party serve no good purpose, quite the contrary. I am unable to see any positive outcome to be had from withdrawing support from the Democratic Party at this time and I believe that such would be a plan of supreme folly. If all supporters of the Democratic Party would withdraw their support for the Democratic Party and give support to a more progressive and less corrupted Political Party, en masse, then I would be all in favor, but such can only be considered a pipe dream at the present time.

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

@ Truedigger3

Sure enough, a lot of misery was cause before capitalism - yes. BUT..what we don’t know (and can’t test) is what might have happened with some OTHER new arrangement which was not capitalism?

No one should take it as inevitable. There is no pre-determined path that humanity is walking. The future is actually open, just as it was still open the moment Columbus dropped his anchor in the New World.

I suspect many people believe there is some fate-filled “path of constant improvement” which humanity is walking. Not so. There are ups and downs, successes and failures, advances and retreats, good ideas and bad that are still unfolding.

As a microcosm of that idea, consider the last 100 years of US history. From a gilded age of horrible excess, came a golden age of the middle classes after WWII and lasting for some 30 years. That was followed by another retrograde movement back now into a second gilded age. It’s not a linear process of enlightenment, in other words.

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

@ Cliff Carson
“I am convinced that the majority of the people of America basically want the same things.  To be happy in their everyday lives.  To feel safe in their homes.  To have opportunity to achieve and see their children inherit a better world.  But there are some among us who want what they can forcefully take from the weaker of our society.”

I really don’t see that in practice at all. Here’s an example of what I see.
1. A vast number of people - maybe 50M or more - want to make the US into a theocracy. They want the Ten Commandments and the Old Testament to rule the behavior of all men. They want to pass laws on drugs, sex, marriage, abortion and other personal behaviors. They want to eliminate public benefits like Medicare, Medicaid, and the CDC. They want to sent working immigrants out of the country because they are so-called “illegal.”

2. Quite a part from just “raising their children” and being happy, vast numbers of people want to insist that such pure nonsense like “Creationism” is the subject of all schooling. Not to mention the revisionist history and glorification of the State.

3. This large group of people also want to promote and enforce as much wealth inequity as possible. The strategy is to use the Law as the instrument to redistribute wealth upwards from the poor to the rich by means of controlling banking, finance and labor laws.

There is nothing at all benign about these movements. These people are passionate about implementation of ideas that are utterly incompatible with my own, and those millions who think as I do. I have no interest in State religion. No interest in more inequality, no interest in more racism.

I have no intention here to insult you, but I have to wonder how you obtain such a blase, neutral, non-confrontational view of the nation? I don’t know where you’d be standing to see it as you do. I know many people in the “Red” states - I converse with them regularly over the years. WE HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON AT ALL. I do not want what they are so passionate to make happen. They do not want my version of the world. They are in the many millions, and we are in the many millions.

So again I ask, what is the obsession about making us be under one roof? I don’t get that desire.

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By Anarcissie, September 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

‘Free’ markets, ‘free’ enterprise, private enterprise, and capitalism are often confused, sometimes deliberately in pursuit of obfuscation.  One also observes talk of ‘planned economies’ or ‘command economies’ with reference to socialism, as if capitalists neither planned nor commanded.  Finally there is a bit of confusion between capitalism the system of economic and financial relations and capitalism the dominant ideology of the state.  We may not all be on the same page here.

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By Cliff Carson, September 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

Redwoodguy

“Cliff, you see convinced that 307 million people want about the same things. They do not. And the gap between them has grown to a chasm. There’s not a single thing I will ever have in common with the constituency of Michelle Bachmann. What her fans want makes me puke and become ill. And in fairness, he supporters think I am Satan incarnate”.

Redwoodguy, I am convinced that the majority of the people of America basically want the same things.  To be happy in their everyday lives.  To feel safe in their homes.  To have opportunity to achieve and see their children inherit a better world.  But there are some among us who want what they can forcefully take from the weaker of our society.

Many of we Americans call them thieves and criminals.  And In my Opinion that is what our Government has become: A Giant Conglomerate composed of Immoral and Unethical Corporations that would cause the killing of innocent human beings, if it will fatten the bottom line,  combined with a severely corrupted Government Leadership and two equally corrupted Political Parties that steer the election such that only those allowed to be presented for election are those that are corruptible, or already participants in the corruption.  Sometimes this incestuous relationship miscalculates and an incorruptible does get elected.  But that event is not the norm and in the long run is of no help for the good of common man.

I have to agree with you Redwoodguy there has been no interest indicated in these comments for discussing the merits of what I suggested (however I will forever believe it would work if enough people decided to implement it).  But since there is no interest, that is why I asked for someone to present a better plan - and I said I would join the movement.

Surely I am not the only person on here who is more interested in resetting Americas course than just pontificating.  Pontificating will never accomplish change.  Is there someone on here who will present an Idea - other than violent revolt- on how to end the Criminal reign?  Then how about the rest of the writers on here give some attention to how we can effect a desired change?

Real change should be our goal.  And the first step is to stop making excuses and formulate a plan. This world is full of problem identifiers, the really valuable people are those who are interested in finding a solution and actually start to do something.

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

@CPB,

I think there is a commonly agreed upon set of conditions for capitalism, that most economists and philosophers would agree upon. To wit:
1. Accumulation and use of private capital to gain more capital
2. Use of wage labor to extract excess value from production (labor exploitation)
3. An amoral logic which always must maximize profit
4. A need for compound annual growth in order to keep it alive and breathing.

Now, with that set of simple conditions, you can see the practice of it easily in our life. What I think is crucial is to understand that the algorithm of capitalism has no moral vector. “Seeking profit” must be done in spite of consequences. A capitalist can’t put the regard for the beauty of a forest ahead of the profit in cutting the trees. It is always up to society to enforce limits and bounds, in order to make up for the lack of inherent morality in capitalism.

So, minimum wage, pollution laws, working conditions, equal opportunity - - these are all moral imperatives overlaid on capitalism by force of law. Even with these laws, notice how capitalism calculates! Let’s say the fine for polluting a river is $10,000. The best capitalist practice will compute the cost savings of going ahead and polluting, versus the fine. If they can save $100,000 and only be fined $10,000, guess what they do?

Most small merchants are not really capitalists. Just because you have a “business” and you engage in “commerce” doesn’t make you a capitalist. Most guys who own an ice cream shop are just guys creating a job for themselves. Trying to make a living.  That’s not the meaning of modern capitalism.

You want to be looking at the Exxons and BPs and Monsanto and Kraft and Massey Energy and Bank of America to see capitalism working it’s ways.

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By truedigger3, September 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

Re: By RedwoodGuy, September 6 at 1:30 pm

RedwoodGuy wrote:
“Begin with Columbus and follow the entire arc. It leads to the present condition of deforestation, over-fished oceans, blown off mountain tops, erosion, chemically tainted water supplies, and a preposterous health care systems using disease as profit centers. In it’s wake are millions upon millions of abused humans, slaves, wars of treasure, pillage and destruction uncountable. That is the wreckage of capitalism.”
——————————————
RedwoodGuy,
Although rampant greedy UNCONTROLLLED capitalism is a source of injustice and misery for a lot of people, most of the problems you mentioned above occured and could have occured without capitalism.
Since the beginning of recorded history, the world had, without capitalism, millions upon millions of abused humans, slaves, wars of treasure, pillage and destruction uncountable.
With the current OVERPOPULATION of earth, even in simple societies, people are encroaching on forests and arable land to ech a living and find space to live straining resources wiht dire consequences in the near future.
In my humble opinion, priority should be given to birth control. Mother earth is screaming and asking for relief, otherwise she will get very mad and correct the situation with famines, droughts and possibly deadly epedemics.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am against rampant UNCONTROLLED capitalism. I am for regulated and controlled capitalism with social safety net in place for all citizens that gurantees life necessisties for all citizens.
The privately owned Federal Reseve shoud be nationalized and the issuance of money should be only by the Federal Government.
Oil, natural gas, electric generation and distribution and logging in national forests should be owned by the Federal government and the profits go to the Federal budget.
The above system will allow citizens to express their creativity and rewarded for their efforts without the ill effects of rampant uncontrolled greedy capitalism.

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By cpb, September 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

I remember having a debate with a relative about what
was, and was not, capitalism.  Said relative was more
radical than I in political perspective at the time and
used the term in the broadest possible way and calling
it out as the cause of the worlds destruction and
immorality.  I didn’t disagree about the destruction or
immorality, I just wasn’t sure it was actually
‘capitalism’ that is, as an economic principle, that we
were actually talking about.

I thought capitalism, in brief, simply represented the
simple notion of the possibility of profit via
investment of capital.  A motivator to drive the machine
forward.  That, I thought, couldn’t be evil in and of
itself?  What we have today, I said at the time, I don’t
know what to label, but I wouldn’t label it capitalism.

I’m still not sure I would use the term to describe the
broader reality, and I know that it’s use in this way
does much to ostracize people who may still think of it
in more simple and perfectly reasonable terms.

At the time of my debate I pointed out that part of the
original idea was that capitalism contained a feedback
mechanism of responsibility.  Along the lines of the old
stories we were told - if the capitalist pollutes the
river it will annoy the townsfolk who won’t buy the
products and thus the capitalist will naturally modify
his behavior to suit.  Etc..

The feedback mechanism no longer exists, per se.  The
owners are no longer responsible.  The responsibility
has been contracted out, with the stock market thrown in
between.  CEO’s are responsible to profit the
shareholders and the shareholders are responsible to
nobody.  At some point the corporation itself became a
person. 

Is this still capitalism?  What happened to those Little
House on The Prairie days of responsible merchants?

Another thing that has changed dramatically of course is
scale.  And regulations, and more regulations, and less
regulations, and ever-increasing consolidation and
scale.  Dog forbid we infringe on the right of a corp to
pollute the water - How UnAmerican!  And if we do pass
intelligent laws they just go pollute water somewhere
else and we still buy their crap.

Someone help me out here.  Do we need a new term?  Is
what we are seeing really what should be appropriately
titled “Global Capitalism”, or is that just a good
target phrase? 

From Wikipedia “..There is no consensus on the precise
definition of capitalism, nor on how the term should be
used as a historical category. There is, however, little
controversy that private ownership of the means of
production, creation of goods or services for profit in
a market, and prices and wages are elements of
capitalism.”

No consensus?  How many debates about capitalism are
irrelevant before they begin because the parties
involved don’t share a common understanding of the
meaning of the darned word in the first place?

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

@JDMystic DJ

“For example, the thinking that states that the destruction of capitalism should be the objective, while not having a plan for what might be a new paradigm after the destruction of capitalism, but more to the point is the immediate strategy advocated here by some that we should turn away from being involved in our governance without a consideration for what might be the result of that turning away.”

Back up. In the 100,000 years or so of modern human consciousness, the movement from one “living mode” to the next was never planned. Ever.

From foraging bands to horticultural tribes was not a planned change of “how we should live.” From the horticulturists to the farmers was not a planned change. There was no advanced scheme laid out where someone extolled the benefits that might accrue to farming over the pastoral life, or horticulture.

These changes happen because human consciousness evolves. If I could put that in bold, I would. It’s the key idea here. As our consciousness expands in capability, it allows for new ideas to emerge. Now, not all these new ideas are going to work out right. Even though farming seemed to be a great idea that would save Man work, no one foresaw the unintended consequence of farming. For example, war as an almost permanent condition is only possible because of farming. Capitalism is only possible because of farming, and so on.

We simply have to move on with our growing consciousness. One of the things we have come to be “aware of” is the tiny size of our planet, and the very finite resources. This was NOT part of human consciousness 10,000 years ago when farming began. But it is a part of today’s consciousness. So, things must change, because one thing is certain, our desire to survive is hard-wired.

We need to try new things. That starts with giving up on what is surely broken. Can anyone say they would design today’s “USA Entity” if they started with a clean piece of paper? I surely would not.

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

@Congressional Dys
“I am speaking from personal experience.  I consider myself a capitalist, I owned my own company and I set up a generous profit sharing program with my employees.”

I think it is a big mistake to replace the general idea with an anecdote. It’s wonderful that you are such an ideal business owner, it really is, but that’s not the arc of history to which I refer as “capitalism.”

Begin with Columbus and follow the entire arc. It leads to the present condition of deforestation, over-fished oceans, blown off mountain tops, erosion, chemically tainted water supplies, and a preposterous health care systems using disease as profit centers. In it’s wake are millions upon millions of abused humans, slaves, wars of treasure, pillage and destruction uncountable. That is the wreckage of capitalism.

Even in our most recent past (after all the enlightened owners like you set the example) we have the BP spill in the gulf which was 100% avoidable by simple prudence and a few dollars. We have the Exxon pipeline spills, and on and on.

Your position of demonstrating the anecdotal success just doesn’t tip the scale in any measurable way. Capitalism has brought the planet to a crisis and in the drive to do that has made life miserable beyond what it could have been under other (perhaps not created yet) ideas.

It’s worth pointing out that capitalism is an anathema to Christianity, a religion claimed by 85% of Americans!

In my travels I’ve come to see that since we swim in it, most people have made the assumption there is no other type of environment possible. Believe me, no one enjoys thinking out of the box - no one.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Definitions of plan (n)

system for achieving objective: a method of doing something that is worked out in advance

intention: something that somebody intends or has arranged to do


Planning in order to achieve an objective, by my appraisal, facilitates achieving an objective, but the best planning must include consideration for what will occur after the objective is achieved, in my opinion. Planning is not a necessity in order for an objective to be realized, an objective may be realized with the absence of any planning. For example, using Capitalism as an example, if the objective is the disempowerment of capitalism, it is possible that “Capitalism will kill itself,” capitalism self destructing is a component of Marxist theory. If capitalism were to “Kill itself” the objective of disempowering capitalism would be achieved, an old paradigm would come to an end and a new paradigm would come into existence. That new paradigm would come into existence regardless of whether the new paradigm was planned for or unplanned for. Those who dispute Marxist theory regarding the inevitable destruction of capitalism argue that Marx did not take into account the ability of capitalism to adapt to changing circumstances; new paradigms of the practice capitalism would come into existence when necessary according to their reasoning. What should be obvious is that capitalism is currently a nearly omnipotent controlling force over the world’s economies. There are a variety of anomalous adaptations of capitalism but capitalism remains as the overriding controlling force over the world’s economies. If this overriding controlling force were to “Kill itself” as predicted, then it is quite reasonable to assume that chaos to one degree or another would occur without sufficient planning for that potentiality. One can only speculate about what the consequences of such chaos would be, one speculation would be that chaos would have severe or tragic ramifications.

Another mode of thinking about capitalism is that capitalism in its basic principles is the perfect ism and that any opposition to or modification to these basic principles would be harmful, even dangerous. This appears to be the mode of thinking of those who are in control of the controlling force. Any fundamental adaptation that would interfere with the basic principles of capitalism is not necessary and would only have negative consequences according to this mode of thinking.

One might logically conclude that contrasting modes of thinking about capitalism contribute to world conflict. Control of economies and natural resources is a necessity of an overriding controlling economic system such as capitalism. It should be clear that historical attempts by peoples and economic systems intended to circumvent the perceived abuses of capitalism have resulted in mixed, and sometimes tragic, results. Economic systems in opposition to pure capitalism have collapsed or have been forced to adapt. 

Along with adaptations of capitalism, and systems opposed to capitalism, have come philosophies of governance which are perceived as being facilitators of the variety of economic systems. Examples of the variety of governing systems would include: De facto Autocracy, Plutocracy, Theocracy, National Socialism, Fascism, Corporatist Democracy, Social Democracy, Socialism, Communism,  Anarchy and modifications there-of. Of course economics is not the sole determiner of philosophies of governance but economic theories contribute significantly to philosophies of governance. Today we see examples of Free Markets, Regulated Markets, Loosely Regulated Markets and varying degrees there-of associated with the wide variety of governmental systems, e.g. Free Market Communism is an example of governance that espouses free markets while maintaining regulations that govern commerce.

(More below)

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By JDmysticDJ, September 6, 2011 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

#2

I do not claim to be an expert on economics or the philosophy of economics; my expounding here can not be perceived as particularly enlightening, or even thought provoking, and I feel confident that my expounding here would be challenged by many. What concerns me here is the strategy i.e. planning of those here who espouse modes of political thinking that I perceive to be ultimately dangerous. For example, the thinking that states that the destruction of capitalism should be the objective, while not having a plan for what might be a new paradigm after the destruction of capitalism, but more to the point is the immediate strategy advocated here by some that we should turn away from being involved in our governance without a consideration for what might be the result of that turning away. It appears that the thinking of some is that the destruction of capitalism, or the disempowerment of capitalism, is the objective in respect to our governance, and that is not an objective that I personally disagree with, it is the logic of the method espoused here that I question, and the consequences of that method that I fear. The disempowerment of capitalism is a lofty goal by my appraisal, but can that goal be achieved by what is espoused here, I think not, and not only do I think not, but I think what is espoused here is foolhardy, counter productive, and existentially dangerous. I advocate a continuing opposition to what I perceive as being the abuses of an ever increasing harmful fundamental capitalist thinking that enriches the very few while impoverishing or disempowering the many. The very few are the possessors of inordinate influence and control over our government, by my appraisal, and the representatives of this small but powerful constituency also have an inordinate control of our government. I can not, do not, and will not, under the present circumstances with all their complexities and tragedies, believe that suggestions that we should withdraw our support for the only available bulwark against the worst excesses of this inordinate power is in anything other than a nihilist type of thinking; counter productive, ineffectual, and self defeating.

If the presumed “Bulwark” mentioned above, and a metaphor that should be easily recognized, is weak, we should work to strengthen it, not destroy it.

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By Congressional Dysfunction, September 6, 2011 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

@RedwoodGuy you say “Those people aren’t “capitalists” - they are managers hired by capitalists. This is a constant confusion with people. CEOs are most often NOT capitalists. They are just the hired help who might get really big paychecks.”

Sorry, methinks you are stereotyping. 

I am speaking from personal experience.  I consider myself a capitalist, I owned my own company and I set up a generous profit sharing program with my employees.  It worked very well and I know of others that have used a similar approach with success.

The bottom line is an improved bottom line, by sharing and incentivizing, we made more money.  The unfortunate reality of big business is big paychecks earned from the work of others.  As long as big business and big labor argue and demonize each other, they each cash big paychecks and workers suffer.  Just because it is that way does not mean that it has to be that way.

While I am not advocating a “greed is good” attitude, I do not see why a profit motive is inherently evil.  Everyone wants to be compensated for their efforts, even if for no other reason than to satisfy the most basic needs of food and shelter.  How to generate the money fairly and compensate people fairly is the issue.  It can
be done, but often the ‘haves’ do not want to share with the ‘have nots’.

There is no little blue pill to treat Congressional Dysfunction, only the ballot box.

http://congressionaldysfunction.wordpress.com/

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By Anarcissie, September 6, 2011 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Lately I’ve noticed more than one cap fan talking about the supposed common evils of big business and ‘big labor’.  The problem with this paragon of evenhandedness is that there is no big labor.  Labor unionism has been defeated, at least for the present; what’s left of the labor union movement are remnants hanging on for dear life.  The cost of this victory for the corps is that they no longer have an imaginary friend to blame their evil deeds on.  Their fans should take note of this, and come up with some other fable.

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

@Congressional Dys
“I disagree; people that run successful businesses know that a treating employees with respect and motivating them with a reasonable share of corporate profits creates an environment that breeds success.”

Those people aren’t “capitalists” - they are managers hired by capitalists. This is a constant confusion with people. CEOs are most often NOT capitalists. They are just the hired help who might get really big paychecks.

My reference is to the logic of capital - not specific humans, like the HR manager, or the hired CEO. The “logic of capitalism” is a force not unlike gravity.
This force drives the destruction of the planet, the exploitation of labor, and the accumulation of wealth into a few hands as the rest of the world squirms for a little nourishment.

Try not to link it to individual people like the CEO.

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By David J. Cyr, September 6, 2011 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Majorities never learn anything the easy way, because their easy confidence in their numbers keeps them trying to too easily get done everything that can’t be easily done.

That’s a reality that the corporate party’s mass support is dependent upon… natural persons trusting in corporate persons to decide everything.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

Cyr,
That works in the long run, but it does create a lot of pain in the short term for impoverished workers. I think wage labor is a sucker trap, and so I am all for people getting out of it. I suppose making it more painful speeds that process, right?

Once again, getting out of wage labor pretty much assumes smaller, localized economies and systems of governance.

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By Congressional Dysfunction, September 6, 2011 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

@ RedwoodGuy - you say “That wouldn’t be capitalism then. The defining logic of capitalism is greed as self interest. Greed doesn’t know fair, or respect, or sharing. It would be a gross misunderstanding of the idea of capitalism to suggest it has a means of “properly sharing profits.””

I disagree; people that run successful businesses know that a treating employees with respect and motivating them with a reasonable share of corporate profits creates an environment that breeds success.

The problem is the never ending war between big business and big labor; the casualties are the workers caught in the crossfire.  The unfortunate reality is that big labor has developed the same over the top compensation schemes used in big business.  See http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/03/03/2097/scores-union-leaders-earn-six-figure-salaries.

People, be they in business, labor or politics, pretend to care about something else when in fact they only care about taking and holding onto power.  Once they get power, they do what they need to do to keep it.

Neither party has all the answers, neither party will reform on the national level until they are reformed at the local level, because that is where the trolls are created.  In my opinion, what we have today is not what was originally intended, we continually stray from the idea of representative government.  As I ask in the opening sentences of my book Congressional Dysfunction:

“Is the Congress of 2011 what the Founding Fathers
planned for it to be, or has it become the embodiment of their worst nightmares?  During their serious and public debate on the nature of the proposed legislative branch, the Founding Fathers probably never expected that the Congress they were creating would degenerate into a legislatively incompetent, over-compensated millionaires club whose members would accept sexual predators in their midst and condone lying to We the People.  Not anticipating modern political parties, the Founding Fathers would not be pleased to know that elections would be rigged to create safe districts to create a balance of power between those parties in a way that effectively disenfranchises voters.  The Founding Fathers would be disheartened to know that the bond they intended between We the People and Congress has almost been obliterated; they knew that such a bond was critical if We the People were to have any confidence in our representatives.  Faced with a Congress more interested in reelection than solving problems, the United States has achieved their worst nightmares.”

I do not believe that the Founding Fathers were perfect but they tried to create something that could work; unfortunately it has been perverted into a system that creates and maintains the nest of partisan vipers that infest Capitol Hill.

There is no little blue pill to treat Congressional Dysfunction, only the ballot box.

http://congressionaldysfunction.wordpress.com/

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By David J. Cyr, September 6, 2011 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

I don’t consider it to be a bad thing for the workers’ percentage share in the profits from perpetual war production to have been reduced, from their high “in the golden era after WWII.”

If American workers (through experiential learning) eventually decide that this economy based upon perpetual war production isn’t a system that best benefits them, then perhaps they’ll stop (R) & (D) supporting this system dependent upon perpetual war production… and then produce a system dedicated to providing for the needs of all, rather than just the desires of some.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Why is everyone so insistent that the USA must be fixed? That the USA must go on as it has and that we all need to get along? What is this compulsion to force everyone into one mold?

The USA sucks as an institution. I have no interest in killing more brown people, dropping more atom bombs, invading more countries, slaughtering more peasants, or stealing more resources from the 3W. Why would I want to keep this machinery going? I don’t. I want to kill it dead, and let some new machinery arise.

What is the obsession with feeding this beast?

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

@Cliff Carson

“Who has that plan ready to present?  I am willing to forgo what I suggested and work for the other plan if it is plausible. Lets hear those plans.  Time is a wasting.”

I think the only think you want to hear is endorsement of your plan. I don’t see any endorsements coming.

I think other plans recognize that putting new tires on a car with a blown engine isn’t the best way to move along down the road.

The USA is ungovernable. I’d like to hear the Southern Baptist Bigots say, “Sure, I’ll stop voting for Republicans. I don’t mind being ruled by Democrats until we can reform the system.” Likewise, can you imagine the Tree Hugging Peaceniks, “Hey sure, I’ll stop voting for Democrats and be ruled by Republicans for a while.” Nope. That’s not going to happen.

Cliff, you see convinced that 307 million people want about the same things. They do not. And the gap between them has grown to a chasm. There’s not a single thing I will ever have in common with the constituency of Michelle Bachmann. What her fans want makes me puke and become ill. And in fairness, he supporters think I am Satan incarnate.

So, I have a question for you Cliff. Why should these two groups be forced to live with each other trading leadership?

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By RedwoodGuy, September 6, 2011 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

@Congrssional Dys

“Capitalism could work, if management and labor treated each other with some level of respect, recognized that both management and labor are needed to be successful and then properly shared the profits.”

That wouldn’t be capitalism then. The defining logic of capitalism is greed as self interest. Greed doesn’t know fair, or respect, or sharing. It would be a gross misunderstanding of the idea of capitalism to suggest it has a means of “properly sharing profits.”

Over the last 30 years, labor’s share of profits has steadily eroded form a high about 58% in the golden era after WWII, to today’s figure of about 45%. This difference isn’t accidental. It comes about by the policies pursued by capital, with their political handmaidens in the two parties doing the implementation.

To replace the missing wages, labor was offered credit, and now we are stuck with and indebted, low wage labor force that simply can’t keep spending enough to keep the economy afloat.

Now, reasonably intelligent people expert on such matters could have and did predict this would be the result of those policies against labor, but because of the natural logic of self interest they were followed anyway.

I think the prediction that capitalism will kill itself is our best bet.

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By Anarcissie, September 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

Actually, I don’t think capitalism can work, other than as it does.  In order to have capitalism, you have to have a capitalist class and a working class.  Since the capitalist class is on top, the capitalists are going to be the most power-hungry, greedy people in the community, and they’re going to constantly come up with schemes to get the best of one another and the working class.  These schemes will lead to constant panics and disasters, which are undesirable from the point of view of those who have little or no reserve wealth.  This is what we observe in history and what we observe now, although in the case of the U.S. the problems are compounded by the bankruptcy caused by imperialist war, which has occurred in pre-capitalist states as well.

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By David J. Cyr, September 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

The “progressives” are the liberals who vote for Democrats so they can keep protesting against what they keep voting for.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By JDmysticDJ, September 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Truedigger3

“Obama is hiding behind his blackness”? Well that’s certainly not fair, he ought to wipe that stuff off right away. I guess you’re one of those who think Obama should have allowed our government to go into an economy crushing default. What perfidy, he’s a traitor for not doing so.

David J Cyr is an angry, irrational, delinquent, school boy radical, but I’m not sure which of you two is spouting the most nonsense here.

I’m weary of trying to talk sense into such as you. What’s the plan truthdigger3, are you ready for a neo-fascist bunch of Republicans to take over? Many people here are oh, to, radical-hip.

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By truedigger3, September 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Re: By JDmysticDJ, September 5 at 11:29 am

JDmysticDJ,

You are quoting Obama’s speeches and you are telling us that these speeches are true representative of Obama’s true intentions!!.  Are you kidding or were you sleeping in the last three years??!!.
We got our fill of Obama’s “moving eloquent” speeches and promises and either he did nothing or he did the opposite. Your beloved Obama is a fraud and a con man. It is that simple!.
Obama is worse than any Republican. He is hiding behind his blackness and the so called “progressiveness” to do the dirty work of the super-rich without any serious opposition of the other so called progressives!.
Only a “progressive” Democrat will dare to dismantle what is left of the New Deal and decimate Social Security and Medicare and Obama is currently doing a very good job at that starting with that abominal Debt Limit fiasco in which not a single cent of new taxes were inacted on the super-rich and SS and Medicare are now being prepared on the chopping block!.
Although I don’t agree with some of what David J Cyr writes, he makes much more sense than you do. I guess you are blinded by your long history of emotional attachment to the Democratic Party.

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By Congressional Dysfunction, September 5, 2011 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

The two parties are two sides of the same coin, and the currency is maintaining political power and the benefits of that power.

Obama has Jeffrey Immelt as his jobs czar; GE pays no US taxes, ships jobs overseas and recently delayed an investment in the US energy sector because of uncertainty over the US energy policy.  See http://www.americanfuelscoalition.com/2011/07/30/wyo-research/ for details.

Yet Immelt told US business to get off the fence and start hiring.  If anyone should know what US Energy policy is, it would be Immelt.  In other words, neither party can be trusted to do anything other than look out for their partisan interests.

There needs to be a balance between big business and big labor, not a swing between one extreme or the other.  In general, Republicans embrace big business and Democrats embrace big labor and nothing productive gets done.

Capitalism could work, if management and labor treated each other with some level of respect, recognized that both management and labor are needed to be successful and then properly shared the profits.  Our problem is that the government gets in the middle to buy votes for the parties to maintain power, not to solve problems.

There is no dialog; exchanging partisan insults does not advance anything and, as long as We the People continue to engage in these exchanges, the powers that be remain the powers that be.

Both parties need fundamental change and elections need to become competitive so that people elected to office become accountable to the voters.

Right now, politicians all run for office by spewing poll tested pabulum to get or retain their membership card in Club Congress.  They represent a political party, not the voters.  Membership has its privileges and, once in office, they will toe the party line to keep their membership card in Club Congress and the lavish pay & benefits that come with it. 

Forward-looking statements made by politicians during a campaign are not a guarantee of future performance; if someone traded securities like politicians run for office, they would go to jail for criminal securities fraud; in Congress it is just business as usual.  Once they have their Club Congress membership card in hand, they will say and do whatever is needed to ensure continual reelection; any actual benefit to the nation is
simply accidental.

There is no little blue pill to treat Congressional Dysfunction, only the ballot box.

http://congressionaldysfunction.wordpress.com/

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By JDmysticDJ, September 5, 2011 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

David J Cyr

Your radicalism has affected your ability to think clearly. Cuomo did not attempt to remove collective bargaining rights for state workers, he negotiated with state workers and got the same kind of concessions that Wisconsin’s state workers had already conceded to Walker before Walker attempted to take away collective bargaining rights, and usurp the power of elected local governments.

Have you fallen prey to right-wing talking points that attempt to draw false equivalencies in order to discredit the Left? Go to redstate.com or some such site, I’m sure it will help you to sharpen your dialectic of ignorance and counter productive, vehemence.

If you value your well being and pride let me suggest that you not go anywhere near good Union Men and suggest that they are dropping their drawers, and spreading their cheeks.

Somehow it escapes you that our economic difficulties are the direct result of right-wing domestic and foreign policies. Whether those right wing policies came from Ayn Rand influenced economists, Neo-cons, Neo-Liberals, Billy Clinton’s and Dick Morris’s Triangulation, or from Obama and his Wall Street advisors is irrelevant, those policies are right-wing policies.

What you and others here advocate in terms of strategy is mindless and counter productive and can only serve the interests of the Right. There is a wide gulf between Romney’s policies and practices and what Obama and the Democrats are trying to achieve, Romney is a billionaire with a history of acquisitions, downsizing, and factory closures, who states publically that corporations are people.

Obama stated publically:

“With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics,” … “It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies, and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

But even Romney is the lesser of evils compared to the “ghoulish” candidates now dominating the Right.

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By Anarcissie, September 5, 2011 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

Spending money to keep capitalism afloat is hardly extreme.  It is, as I said, conservative—highly conservative.

The sad fact is, capitalism doesn’t work.  Or rather, it works for some people, but it’s too dynamic, which is very hard on the lower classes.  Under certain conditions, ones which recur frequently, these may turn to alternate proposals for social organization, like socialism, anarchism, fascism or religious fanaticism.  But those on top naturally want to keep their position, their power, their wealth and social status; they don’t want some other gang to take over.  So they employ various strategies to quiesce the masses, among them war, imperialism, surveillance, direct suppression, and Welfare.  The chief political vehicles of this practice are the Democratic Party and the established-power levels of the Republican Party.

Carefully keeping what you’ve got is conservatism, not ‘extremism’.

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By Congressional Dysfunction, September 5, 2011 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie says “The Democratic Party does not have any ‘extremists’.”

A pretty extreme statement if you ask me. Democrats generally say that all government entitlement programs are sacred and taxes must be increased.  Republicans say that taxes are too high and government spending, to include entitlement programs must be reduced.  The real solution is somewhere in the middle, with a balance of proper spending and proper taxes, but neither will move from their pre-existing positions to develop a solution.

Here is an example of government “solutions”, from an article found at   http://kpbj.com/business_weekly/2011-09-05/obama_administration_turns_to_the_private_sector.

In June, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded a four-year $77 million contract to Northrop Grumman to develop a detection system capable of stopping fraud before it happens.  This is in response to finding out that someone created fake clinics and defrauded Medicare and Medicaid out of $35 million. 

Would not the simple solution be to have someone already on the payroll simply verify the existence of the clinics before entering them into the database?  There is no common sense in government, to some the solution to everything is to spend more money and mark the problem solved.  All they really did was allocate money we do not have for a software solution we do not need in order to defer the problem four years down the road.

The key is locally breaking the grip that any individual party has on the local elections - safe districts have to go and elections must become competitive.  This will only happen when local voters get involved and take control.

There is no little blue pill to treat Congressional Dysfunction, only the ballot box.

http://congressionaldysfunction.wordpress.com/

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By Cliff Carson, September 5, 2011 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

I agree with you Anarcissie

And I agree with Congressional Dysfunction.

Now, who has a solution for the mess?

I have submitted that killing off one corrupted Party at a time is the solution.

I have pointed out that it is legal, non-violent,is a solution provided solely by the people, and provides for future needed changes.

And all I hear is more trashing of the other party plus rejection of what I propose as a workable plan.  Now if everyone is thru trashing and rejecting, how about some of you presenting a plan for change that has a chance of getting rid of the corrupt Government and replacing it with a reforming trend.

Who has that plan ready to present?  I am willing to forgo what I suggested and work for the other plan if it is plausible.

Lets hear those plans.  Time is a wasting.

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By Anarcissie, September 5, 2011 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

The Democratic Party does not have any ‘extremists’.  It is a conservative party whose ideological spectrum ranges from mild social democrats to people indistinguishable from corporate-oriented Republicans.  It does not even have strong social-democrat types any more, and has also not only gotten rid of its own anti-war types but reached out to destroy unaffiliated anti-war organizations like UFPJ.  Its main concern is to keep the world safe for capitalism, and anyone outside the narrow spectrum I outlined just above is put over the side.

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By Congressional Dysfunction, September 5, 2011 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

The Trolls are the weak candidates put forth by the D’s & R’s into the safe districts they create every ten years to maintain power.  Historically, the competitiveness of the elections is declining, because candidates represent parties not the people of their district.  The party establishment picks weak & compliant candidates to run in their self-drawn safe district.  These are trolls that will toe the party line because they want to maintain their membership card in Club Congress - lavish pay & benefits, great retirement plan. 

The party establishment fires up their extremists in the elections, ultimately turning off the moderates.  As a result, we get individuals who represent extreme positions on both sides who have no accountability to the public and full accountability to their political party masters.

Neither side has all of the answers; no single individual can solve the problems that Congress has created.  One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. 

As long as we have a troll march every two years, we will simply shift from extremists on one side to extremists on the other side; neither wanting to talk to the other.  The parties and their apparatus make millions on these essentially fake elections; they have no interest in solving the national problems because a more reasonable election process would put them out of business. 

Sure, members of Congress make statements lamenting the dysfunction or gridlock, but they do nothing to change anything because they benefit from it.

There is no little blue pill to treat Congressional Dysfunction, only the ballot box.

http://congressionaldysfunction.wordpress.com/

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By ardee, September 5, 2011 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

but for the sake of argument I’ll suggest that if “Everyone” stopped voting for Democrats, then “Everyone” would be screwed.

You mean we would get a republican agenda, one remarkably similar to that of the last three years? I must state that, without rancor, those who adopt a “GOP bad Democrat good” political position are probably weaned on comic books and fiction.

The Obama administration is carrying on the same policies as that of Shrubya; rendition and torture continues, wars , futile unwinnable wars, continue, and solely for the profits involved I suggest, jobs continue to disappear at an alarming rate, while corporate profits soar to record heights. Secrecy under Obama is greater than it was under the secrecy obsessed Bush/Cheney rule.

The list continues but I think you know them all, just choosing to ignore it all. Lastly I would remind you that it was a Democratic President who signed the ending of Glass Steagall, Billy Clinton.

The Democrats are living on their history, now ancient history. To pin one’s hopes on voting for those who have betrayed all but the wealthy because FDR was a democrat seems as fruitless as thinking in comic book terms of heroes and villains.

Neither political party has the solution to our myriad problems, both are wedded ,basically, to the same corporate first vision for this nation. We the people need a third way, especially as, not one single time, have I seen a democratic loyalist suggest one single idea for reforming her chosen party.  I find that strange indeed.

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By Cliff Carson, September 5, 2011 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

Ardee

I agree with you concerning the origin of the use of the word “all” and “everyone” as an unreasonable expectation by those opposed to a suggestion of how to force change in our corrupted Government.

I do think that Redwoodguy wrote in opposition of the plan using those words instead of the actual words that a simple majority of voters would be needed.

His misstatement, intentional or otherwise, was adopted by others opposed to the idea, as a red flag that it was absurd “to expect that all” or everyone could ever be convinced to agree on anything.

Back early in the thread I stated that one way that would actually force change to our Corrupted Government would be to chose one of the two major Parties and ignore them out of existence.  I named the Republican Party as my choice.

I expected that reaction from Republicans just as I would expect the same reaction from Democrats should I have chosen that Party.

It amplifies the problem that the public has in bringing change that around 70% of the public wants to see, but are too stubborn in their Party Loyalty to effect.

Around the year 2007, I was asked by a Political Forum host what I thought was the most rigid roadblock to reforming our Government.  I told him I thought it was Party Loyalty.  I believe that today.  And I posed this method as being American First instead of Party First.

In my opinion the Republican and Democrat Party both are enablers of corruption and have no regard for the common citizen of America.  And they will remain so until forced to change.  What I suggest is legal, non-violent, will work, and yes faces formidable Party member opposition.

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By David J. Cyr, September 5, 2011 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

There is a difference in (R)s and (D)s. The difference is mainly in whom each of the corporate party’s two factions fools all the time, every time.

Consider what happened this year in Wisconsin and New York, when both of those state’s governors — one a Republican, and the other a Democrat — instituted similar austerity plans, requiring workers to pay the time and the fines for banksters’ crimes:

When Wisconsin’s Republican, Governor Walker, rolled out his (don’t tax the rich/punish the workers) austerity plan, the public workers’ unions politely produced some grandly theatrical demonstrations over the removal of some of their collective bargaining rights… and then they obediently went to work to eagerly GOTV for the corporate party’s Democrats.

Meanwhile, in New York, collective bargaining was under no threat, because the public workers’ unions immediately dropped their drawers; bent over; spread their cheeks; and obediently allowed the Democrat, Governor Andrew Cuomo, to stick his (don’t tax the rich/punish the workers) austerity plan up their asses.

Unions quickly surrender to the corporate party’s Democrats whatever they would fight to win from the corporate party’s Republicans.

The corporate-state is celebrating Labor Day today because the corporate party corrupted Democrat management of unions has made organized labor completely subservient to the corporate-state.

The corporate (R) & (D) party’s voters ever reliably keep free-will voting to keep having the corporate person controlled government they say they don’t want. Republican and Democrat voters keep voting in solidarity together for the corporate party’s candidates either because they actually desire the abuses of gangster government to continue, or they are uneducable.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By JDmysticDJ, September 5, 2011 at 3:12 am Link to this comment

“I don’t know of a single political plan that was carried out successfully through the principle of everyone doing something.”

Focusing on the word “Everyone” is a silly kind of semantics argument. If I were to write that “Everyone in the U.S. is decadent” or, “Everyone in Germany during the Third Reich suffered from a nationalistic mania” or any one of a possible incorrect uses of the word “Everyone,” the poorly stated meaning would still have meaning to nearly “Everyone.”

If “Everyone” stopped voting for Democrats then the Republican candidates, every one, would be elected. If “Everyone” stopped voting for Democrats and Republicans then “Everyone,” who voted, would vote for a candidate not affiliated with either the Democrats or the Republicans.

Of course using the word “Everyone” in the above examples would be a poor usage of the word “Everyone,” because the likelihood that “Everyone” would stop voting for Democrats, or stop voting for Democrats and Republicans, is an absurd hypothesis, but for the sake of argument I’ll suggest that if “Everyone” stopped voting for Democrats, then “Everyone” would be screwed.

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By ardee, September 4, 2011 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, September 4 at 7:04 am

You cannot be blind as I am unaware of braille monitors as yet. Thus you ignore my post that clearly states you are asking the wrong fucking guy. If you must know ask the poster who proffered that opinion for cripes sake!

Hint, it’s redwood guy, as my previous post noted rather clearly.

Dumb does still mean an inability to speak ,does it not?

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By davidtalks, September 4, 2011 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

I don’t care whether Rick Perry carries a gun.
I care about who he points it at.
I don’t know what a liberal is, or a conservative.
I know what hunger looks like.
I don’t care who is elected.
I care about how they govern.

That’s where it stops. When did it become normal to get elected and then hope to be corrupted? For without corruption, elected leaders would be lonely.

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By Congressional Dysfunction, September 4, 2011 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

There is a new blog for discussion about Congress; the premise is that neither party is doing the job for We the People because they are both more interested in maintaining power than in solving national problems. The first posting - The Founding Father’s Worst Nightmare, Part I addresses the debt “super committee”. 

Join the conversation at http://congressionaldysfunction.wordpress.com/

The first blog post, entitled “The Founding Father’s Worst Nightmare, Part I” examines how the debt super committee is an abdication of representative government, something the Founding Fathers would find abhorrent. 

While the Founding Fathers were concerned about how large a representative body could be in order to properly represent the People, today’s Congress is collectively refusing to address the tough issues and hiding behind the new “super committee.” 

Congress collectively created the financial mess facing the nation but now refuses to work collectively on solutions.  Their cowardly solution is to create a scenario where only 7 out of 535 members of Congress will decide the national economic fate.  The unfortunate fact is that Congress has collectively benefited from the
financial crisis that has crippled the country’s economy. 

Even if the concept of a super committee passes constitutional muster and the members are sincere in their efforts, this is certainly not representative government.  With Congress driving the nation on our long journey into bankruptcy, we can no longer afford to sit in the back seat and periodically ask - Are we there yet?

Explore the topic in more detail in the new book.  Drawn from recent headlines, Congressional Dysfunction is a fact-based expose on the root causes of the legislative problems in Washington.  The book explores the lack of standards of conduct in Congress, lavish Congressional pay and benefits and their fundamental legislative incompetence.  Both political parties have gerrymandered “safe” seats to disenfranchise moderate voters and run weak candidates that represent a choice between Tweedeldee and Tweedeldum.

The book Congressional Dysfunction is available for download as an ebook (including Kindle) at Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/77612.  Paperback versions available at createspace
https://www.createspace.com/3667563 or Amazon http://tinyurl.com/3suo824

There is no little blue pill to treat Congressional Dysfunction, only the ballot box.

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By Anarcissie, September 4, 2011 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

ardee—I don’t know of a single political plan that was carried out successfully through the principle of everyone doing something.  Some have succeeded by getting a majority of the electorate (some elections), some by creating a persistently troublesome minority (Civil Rights), some through the courts, some through coups d’état, but not one that required everyone to do or support it, or some part of it.  It seems like an extremely long shot to me.  You seem to disagree, so, do you (or anyone) have a counterexample or not? One will do.

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By David J. Cyr, September 4, 2011 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an avatar, being a painting in many shades of (D)evious blue):

“Leftist Unions, working people, and small business people i.e. ordinary Americans coalesced in the Democratic Party to help in recovery from the right-wing created Great Depression and defeat the corporate ‘Economic Royalists’ as Roosevelt called them.”
_________________

They didn’t coalesce. They were cleverly co-opted by (D) faction of the corporate party that was created to moderate or murder any and every movement rising from the Left. The real Left in the 30’s gave the corporate-state a serious scare, which is why the ruling class’s savior (not class traitor), FDR, offered enough small crumbs to persuade desperate people to forget about demanding whole loaves.

The task of the corporate party’s Democrats has always been to co-opt people’s peace and justice movements into service of the corporate-state’s goal — sustainable fascism. The class war mission of its “progressives” has been to moderate masses for the ruling class, to ensure that either none, or the least possible change for good would occur, whenever oppressed people were fed up and wanting serious systemic change (e.g. MoveOn.org, PDA, UFPJ, etc. support of the No We Can’t have any real change Obama).

Because the corporate party hasn’t wanted to face another strong viable people’s alternative again, modern era (D) operatives have preferred to ruthlessly perform partial-birth abortions on anything rising from the Left. Liberal activists were the progressively malignant cancer that exterminated the Left. No people have served the corporate-state more dutifully and usefully than the “progressive” liberals have.

The function of Democrat operatives has always been to neutralize or redirect dissent into service of the corporate-state. That’s why Democrats are not in any part of the Left, and never have been.

The “progressives” claim they are firmly within the Left, because their Democrats are perceived to be not more than 89 degrees over into the Right.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By ardee, September 4, 2011 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie I re-post my response to that with which you dither. I do not know why you take this tack, nor do I care enough to ask:

By ardee, September 3 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

RedwoodGuy, September 1 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

Whenever there is a proposal which involves everyone doing the same thing, failure is certain.

Nothing is certain. The only battle one must win is the last one.
++++++++++++++++++++

From this you extrapolate an entire philosophy for me, thanks but no thanks. My response was to the “hidden” criticism of demonstrations and mass actions on the direction of political being doomed to fail.

I know you to be intelligent if agendized. I am certain you are aware of numerous historical instances of demonstrations and protests having an affect upon the actions of government. As an avowed anarchist you might not wish to acknowledge such, but that has not a thing to do with their actually having occurred.

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By RedwoodGuy, September 4, 2011 at 1:02 am Link to this comment

I’d go farther than anarcissie and suggest there is no organized left in the USA at all. I think the essential position of the international left is anti-capitalism. Now, no one in their right mind is going to suggest the Democrats have any anti-capitalists in the tent, are they? The farthest from the right they go is maybe Kucinich or Waters.

Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist (meaning capitalism with a heart) but he’s actually an Independent who caucuses with the Dems. 

If you were a nationally known Democrat, can you imagine appearing on TV and announcing you were anti-capitalist? I think it should be noted that even Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky would not be allowed on TV to bash capitalism.  They might get the words out once, but they would never see the inside of a studio again.

No, left is out for Democrats! I don’t even think there half a dozen liberals remaining in the party. They rooted them out during the Clinton administration, when Bill stuck his head so far up Wall Street’s arse he liked to never come out again.

The reason America has lurched so far to the right is that there is simply no legitimate leftist force at all. I think the Black Panthers were the last nationally recognizeable leftist movement in the USA.

The so-called progressive wing of Democratic party is a laughing stock of anti-intellectualism. It consists of prima donna billionaires like Arianna, celebrity millionaires, and geeks circle-jerking with Internet clicktivism.

See if you can find a national Democrat who will go on TV and say they are an atheist. Not going to happen. They are all God Fearing, Wall Street loving capitalists now. Republican lite.

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By Anarcissie, September 3, 2011 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, September 3 at 3:37 pm:

‘Considering myself to be a member of the Left, and being a person who votes for Democrats, I object to the radical contention that I am not in the Left now and the even more radical contention that Democratic voters never were part of the Left. ...’

I define the Left as the party or side of peace, freedom and equality, in contrast to the Right as the party or side of power, authority, wealth, social status, order, and the military virtues.  On this spectrum, a leftist is someone who would like to see more peace, freedom and equality than we now observe.

The present Democratic Party is conservative; its main stock in trade domestically speaking is the New Deal, which is now going on 80 years old.  There was some leftist influence on the party between 1964, with the appearance of the Freedom Democratic Party of Mississippi at the national Democratic convention that year, and the purging from the party of leftists after McGovern’s defeat in 1972.  I think we can say that after that point there were no active, effective leftists in positions of influence or authority in the Democratic Party.

Of course both parties have enthusiastically backed imperialism, war, government secrecy, surveillance, the Drug War, the prison-industrial state, etc. etc. etc., so there is no difference between them in this regard.

Both parties are supported by the rich and subscribe to their values, views and interests.  They are both devoted to making the world safe for capitalism, no matter how many people have to be killed or terrorized or how many lies have to be told.

So I think the Democratic Party cannot be considered a party of the Left.  This does not preclude leftists from supporting it, perhaps because the other party is far worse in one way or another, but it does mean that nothing leftish is going to come out of Democratic Party operations, activities, or victories.  The presidential careers of Clinton and Obama should show us that.

The idea that the Democratic Party is of the Left, in short, is a sort of illusion or delusion.  But if it makes you happy, you might as well believe in it.

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By Anarcissie, September 3, 2011 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

ardee—Redwood Guy thought that plans based on everyone doing the same thing were certain to fail.  You doubted this certainty.  RG supported his argument with four examples.  We would like to see your counterexample.  One will do; RG has made a universal claim.  Is that too much to ask?

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By ardee, September 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, September 3 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

ardee—Maybe you (or anyone) could give us some historical examples of everyone doing the same thing.  Otherwise we’re going to have to consider the probability of it to be pretty close to zero.

Perhaps you might ask the actual poster who penned ( typed) that trenchant argument. Your royal “we” kind of sucks when you make such an obvious error.

Here allow me:

By RedwoodGuy, September 1 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

Whenever there is a proposal which involves everyone doing the same thing, failure is certain.

All together now - - Everyone boycott BP! FAIL.
All together now - - Everyone stop shopping at Wal-Mart! Fail.
All together now - - Everyone stop voting Republican! FAIL.
All together now - - Everyone stop third party! FAIL.

And so on.

Yo Redwood Guy care to respond to the empress?

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By JDmysticDJ, September 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

Considering myself to be a member of the Left, and being a person who votes for Democrats, I object to the radical contention that I am not in the Left now and the even more radical contention that Democratic voters never were part of the Left. The Democratic Party has never been far enough to the Left to suit me, not even in the years immediately following the Great Depression of 1929 and up to 1936 which were the years in which the Democratic Party, and the American electorate were farthest Left by my analysis. Leftist Unions, working people, and small business people i.e. ordinary Americans coalesced in the Democratic Party to help in recovery from the right-wing created Great Depression and defeat the corporate “Economic Royalists” as Roosevelt called them. Norman Thomas, the Socialist Candidate won 2.2% of the vote in the 1932 Election. Is the contention that only 2.2% of the population constituted the Left in 1932?
The political acuity that says the Democrats and the American electorate, have been moving farther and farther to the Right is perfectly accurate by my analysis, but what is ignored is that the Right has also been moving farther and farther to the Right. Acknowledging that Obama and the Democrats now promote political policies once endorsed by Center/Right Republicans still puts Democrats to the Left of the current crop of right-wing ideologues that comprise the present Republican Party.
Again, the hope, and the best course of political action from the Left is to prevent the most fascistic from taking control of our government while seeking reform and to promote progress from a Left Perspective. The current majority of right-wing politicians are almost uniformly pro-Corporate, pro-Militarism, pro-Empire and U.S. hegemony, congenitally elitist, fundamentally racist, authoritarian, socially Darwinian in perspective, devoid of compassion, and on and on the, a long list of negative adjectives could rightly be applied to these Ayn Rand clones that currently make up the majority opinion of right-wing politicians.
Yes there is a lesser evil, which does not absolve the lesser evil it only recognizes that there is an evil that is greater. Advocacies that effectively allow the greater evil to attain control of our government can only be perceived as irrational and counter productive to a mind not become unreasonably clouded by understandable emotionalism or by the dogmatism of a long held political perspective. The exploitation of an opportunity that can only lead to a negative and potentially tragic outcome strikes me as being a very dangerous kind opportunism.

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By Marian Griffith, September 3, 2011 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@jak123
—-Like I said, I hate doom-saying but I see no other way to interpret what´s happening. Sometimes you just have to face the truth, no matter how ugly.—-

It is not doomsaying if the doom has already happened.

I’m not sure if this is a made up maxim or not, but it is rather appropriate:
“If the avalanche has started it is too late for the pebbles to vote”

There is no option anymore in the vote to stop the avalanche. There is only the choice between those who (may) try to prevent the avalanche of picking up speed and those who want to dive right over the edge of the cliff.

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By jak123, September 3, 2011 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

This essay reminds me of something Chris Hedges said about how the defeat in Vietnam was good for the United States because it provoked a period of introspection. Films such as “Chinatown” and “Alice Doesn´t Live Here Anymore” captured that sense of unease. I had thought that the Great Recession might spark a similar mood of introspection when we would look more critically at whether our system was, or is, as good as we have always been told. But that isn´t happening. Instead, I sense that people simply want to go back to the way things were, which means we won´t get the question of whether things were really as good as we thought. Sometimes I think the real story of the last 50 years is our inability to define ourselves in a way that is true and long-lasting. But then, how do you define what is true?

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By David J. Cyr, September 3, 2011 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

Democrat voters aren’t in any part of the Left now, and they never were. Democrats and Republicans are conjoined together far to the right, and relentlessly moving further right together with every election held.

Liberals believe themselves to be to the “left” because the “center” in America is located so far to the right.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By JDmysticDJ, September 3, 2011 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

All elections are important, but some, are, more important than others. My vote for “the most important elections ever,” would be the two referenda where the German people gave Adolph Hitler absolute power in Germany by majorities approaching 90%, they did so out of frustration with Liberalism and Socialism and because of fear of left-wing radicalism.

Unfortunately, sometimes voting for the lesser of evils with the goal of reform in mind is the best option available. The advocacy of voting for phantom candidates and phantom political parties, or withdrawing from politics, divides the Left, makes the Left impotent, and serves the interests of the right-wing lunatic fringe.

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By jak123, September 3, 2011 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

I dislike doom-saying because it´s too easy, a cop out, really. But I don´t think that the March of the Trolls outlines a doomsday scenario or situation. I live in Mexico and that has given me a different perspective on events in the U.S., my former home. I am, or was, a life-long Democrat. But after the debt-ceiling episode, I no longer believe the Democrats are able, or perhaps willing, to defend the safety net programs that have helped make the United States a tolerable place for working people. So if the Democrats are unable or unwilling to defend the things that supposedly define them as Democrats, where does that leave the average citizen? For me, at least, it means that I no longer have faith in the system. The truth is just too plain and overwhelming. The trolls (or apparatchiks, as I like to call them) have indeed taken over and there does not, in fact, seem to be any way to stop them. Like I said, I hate doom-saying but I see no other way to interpret what´s happening. Sometimes you just have to face the truth, no matter how ugly.

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By David J. Cyr, September 3, 2011 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Nearest example of everyone doing the same thing, is voting.

Near everyone who votes corporate compliantly votes for the same shit to continue, reliably, in every “most important election ever” that’s routinely scheduled.

There’s the smallest sane fringe minority, and a massive supermajority of lunatics.

Elections provide evidence that America is an intractably fascist society because its corporate (R) & (D) party dominated electorate regularly affirmatively provides a near unanimous popular mandate for it to remain so.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By RedwoodGuy, September 3, 2011 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

@Cliff Carson
“I do believe that it will work if enough people want it to.”

You didn’t improve your argument with this last post. I think I demonstrated clearly that parties are just a tool of the power, not the power itself. Changing the party names, or changing out one party for another isn’t reform. It’s just well…..rearranging the names on the door.

Reform would have to be systemic. The Constitution would have to be rewritten to address the actual times we live in, not 1790. Do you see people driving carriages across the country? When you visit the doctor does he use leeches? Is your mail delivered by pony? What makes people think a 250 year old idea for a Constitution is smart?

What makes today’s government useless for the people isn’t a “bad party” - it’s a bad design. A design that will not work in the modern era, because when it was created nothing of the modern era was known to the creators. You are attempting to fix the unfixable. After you kill the one party (a tall order), the next one will have the same logic as the last one - follow the money. And, ae you going to change the money? No, it will be where it has always been, in the hands of the power elite. They will buy the new party off just like the old one, because owning the political process IS WHAT THEY DO.

I did present an alternative and a solution. Ditch the non-working system and let smaller individual communities of like interest evolve tribally. That’s not giving up, that’s moving forward.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 3, 2011 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

I had many difficulties getting my lengthy posts up here, I apologize for the tedious redundancies which were the result of lengthy delays in acceptance by truthdig. Actually there is even more left un-posted but I will desist.

Encapsulating, the current political reality sucks, but it is what it is. We need to focus on making political reality less sucky; not on withdrawing from the fray, and providing default victory for the suckiest of all.

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By Anarcissie, September 3, 2011 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

ardee—Maybe you (or anyone) could give us some historical examples of everyone doing the same thing.  Otherwise we’re going to have to consider the probability of it to be pretty close to zero.

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By Cliff Carson, September 3, 2011 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

Redwoodguy

Your last comment directed to me:

“You assume parties are about representing common people - the masses. You assume that is the reason for the political system. It is not.”

Redwoodguy, so there can be no misunderstanding:

I have said over and over again that I think the two Political Parties, Democrat and Republican, absolutely do not represent the common American man.  I have said over and over again that they are in league with a Corrupted United States Government and a Rich and Powerful Privately owned International Financial Cabal that sets the United States money policy and supply.  I often refer to the two political parties as the Two Headed Washington Monster,  or on occasion, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

The ruling Political Parties in America are the “Spokesmen” for what I call the Shadow Government that invokes its will on the American citizen daily with all manner of ploys to rob the average American citizen of their American Dream- to provide their children with a better life than we, the current United States citizen, experience.

But over the last few decades this combination that forms the Shadow Government is taking away , with ever increasing subjugation of the people,  any hope for realization of this American Dream.
For this reason I have been sounding an alarm for the need to break the influence of this Washington monstrosity.  Almost everyone agrees that the runaway corruption of our Government must be stopped.  And there is almost as many suggestions as to how the proper course to accomplish this goal- won’t work.

Therein lies the basis for all this squabbling, not that it needs to be done, in that there is near perfect agreement ,  the problem and the argument originates from how it can be done.  And that argument, in my opinion, is what is keeping the American public from actually accomplishing what truly needs to be done - a complete overhauling of our Government.

And often this argument forms along Party lines, Democrat and Republican.  This division of the people is what keeps the criminals in control.  To answer your initial statement ” You assume parties are about representing common people - the masses”, Redwoodguy, what I do assume is that the Constitution provides for the election of the Senate, the House, and the Executive, but that Constitution does not provide for Political Parties.

Political Parties are nothing but a corruption of the original plan.  But admitting that they are here and in control is a reality.  Even though these parties have presented themselves as speaking and working on the behalf of the people, I claim just the opposite, that the Democrat and the Republican Parties absolutely do not represent the people.

I do believe that the initial battle to cure this problem should be to first diminish the power of those Political parties.  I think all this argumentative bluster that you and others like you on this thread put up is the prescription for failure to reform.  Instead of looking for a common basis for coming together as an unstoppable force you argue that “it won’t work”.

What you don’t seem to do is present is an idea of what would work.  You have posed that nothing will work and further more you don’t care.  I have posed that the easiest way to accomplish the reform goal is two choose one of those two major political parties and put it out of business.  I do believe that it will work if enough people want it to.

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By ardee, September 3, 2011 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

RedwoodGuy, September 1 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

Whenever there is a proposal which involves everyone doing the same thing, failure is certain.

Nothing is certain. The only battle one must win is the last one.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 3, 2011 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

Ah! The vicissitudes of social commentary; by my appraisal Hedges hit the ball out of the stadium with his recent article “Fundamentalism Kills” but by my appraisal, he has struck out mightily with this article, apparently he has a problem recognizing the “Change” – up.  Hedges establishes the premise and then arguments ensue here regarding how much of Hedges’ premise is true and how much is only partly true, without examination of the validity of the premise itself.

Hedges begins:

“We have begun the election march of the trolls. They have crawled out of the sewers of public relations firms, polling organizations, the commercial media, the two corporate political parties and elected office to fill the airwaves with inanities and absurdities until the final inanity—the 2012 presidential election.”

If you think the election of our nation’s leader and our elected representatives is inane, then you are in agreement with Hedges’ premise, but if you should think that the election of our nation’s leader and elected representatives is something other than inane, then you should object to Hedges’ premise as being false.

Hedges writes:

“The liberal trolls, as they do in every election cycle, are beating their little chests about the perfidiousness of the Democratic Party and Barack Obama. It is a gesture performed not to effect change but to burnish their credentials as moralists. They know, as do we, that they will trot obediently into the voting booth in 2012 to do as they are told.”

What say you “Liberal trolls,” with your little chests; will you be doing what you are told? Told by whom, by Hedges, or by a quite rational, if unfortunate reality, that if you don’t vote for Obama you’ll be getting not a “Troll” but an ogre who will lead this country into even greater moral and existential danger? Run, don’t trot into the voting booth in 2012, there will be nothing inane about the next election.

“Terror, terror, terror” Hedges warns is the means by which the trolls will motivate us to vote, while existential fear is the motivation Hedges gives us for not voting against the lunatic fringe, a strange kind of thinking indeed. I fear the type of irrational thinking Hedges and others offer as our salvation.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, September 3, 2011 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

U.S. elections determine whether the (R) voters or (D) voters have the more lunatic majority — which has the greater number of eager corporate collaborators desiring a larger share of personal responsibility for all the crimes of the corporate-state that conservative and liberal lunatics vote together in solidarity forever for.

The corporate person pre-selected (R) or (D) POTUS “elected” is a corporate money manufactured interchangeable part. It doesn’t matter to the corporate persons whether the lunatic majority chooses the red painted part, or the blue painted one. What will be done has already been corporate decided, but the election reveals which group of lunatics are then more loyal to the corporate-state than the other.

It was the self-policing “Art of the Possible” reformers who ensured that elections would not serve any good purpose, and thereby made America’s fascism sustainable.

A liberal is a person who would never waste their vote by fringe sanely voting against war and for real healthcare.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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