Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Shop the Truthdig Gift Guide 2014
December 25, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!








Truthdig Bazaar more items

 
Report

The Tea Party and Goldman Sachs: A Love Story

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Jul 5, 2011
AP / Mark Lennihan

New Yorkers walk to work outside the Goldman Sachs mothership in Manhattan.

By Robert Scheer

Face it. We live in two nations, sharply divided by an enormous economic chasm between the super-rich and everyone else. This should be an obvious fact of life for most Americans. Just read the story in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal headlined “Profits Thrive in Weak Recovery.” Or the recent New York Times story pointing out “that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million,” a 23 percent gain over the year before. 

In the midst of a jobless recovery, those same corporations are sitting on more than $2 trillion in reserves, refusing to invest in this country, as increasing percentages of their profits are garnered in tax-sheltered operations abroad. And the bankers who caused the economic meltdown have turned against President Barack Obama, who saved them; instead they favor a tea-party-dominated Republican Party that seeks to limit any restraint on corporate greed while destroying the ability of state and federal governments to bring some measure of relief to ordinary folk.

The whole point of the tea party is to focus concern over our stagnant economy on something called “big government” while ignoring the big corporations that have bought the government as an accessory to their marketing strategies. Big government is big precisely because it now exists primarily to make the world safe for multinational capitalism, whether through a bloated defense budget, trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement, or monetary policies that serve the interests of the largest companies. 

Robert Scheer recently discussed this column on Truthdig Radio.

It was their lobbyists who got Congress to end sensible regulations of financial shenanigans, and now, with the new tea party members of Congress as their most stalwart allies, they are yanking the teeth from the very mild regulations that Obama got through the last Congress. As The Associated Press reported: “Congressional Republicans are greeting the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s financial overhaul law by trying to weaken it, nibble by nibble.”

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
It is nothing short of demagogic for the Republicans to be complaining about the debt when it was the radical deregulatory policies that they pursued which caused all that governmental red ink in the first place. What a hoax to pretend that teachers’ pensions or environmental protections are responsible for a debt that increased by 50 percent as a direct consequence of the banking collapse. Yet they want to gut even the tepid regulations that became law under the Obama administration, foaming at the mouth about sensible regulation as job killing when it is the uncontrolled greed of Wall Street that is at the root of our high unemployment.

Congressional Republicans are cutting funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as if those already underfunded agencies are centers of anti-business radicalism. The CFTC is run by former Goldman Sachs partner Gary Gensler, who, back when he was in the Clinton Treasury Department serving under another onetime Goldman leader, Robert Rubin, teamed up with Republicans in Congress to gut financial regulation. He is one of the Obama regulators who has managed to delay even the minor controls that the Dodd-Frank law requires for the still wildly out-of-control $600 trillion derivatives market.

What a joke that the tea party assertion that radicals have taken over the Obama government is embraced even by lobbyists for Goldman Sachs, whose former executives have populated the Obama administration as widely as they did the two previous administrations. All they are missing this time around is that they didn’t get to have one of their own named as treasury secretary, as was the case in both the Clinton and Bush cabinets.

This week, the Los Angeles Times reported on Goldman’s renewed lobbying efforts in Washington aimed at watering down what remains of the promise of Dodd-Frank. True to Washington tradition, Goldman has hired Michael Paese, a former top staffer for the “liberal” Rep. Barney Frank to head its Washington operation, which last year spent $4.6 million lobbying Congress to soften the bill, a task now made far easier with Goldman’s tea party allies in the new Republican-dominated House. As the Times noted, “Goldman has spent much of its money on hired guns from major Washington lobbying firms, including former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and former House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.).”

Between the faux populism of the tea party and the army of sellout ex-congressional staffers and politicians from both parties, the Washington fix is in. Short of hitting it big on a lottery ticket, the vast majority of Americans are sentenced to a future of lowered expectations, insurmountable personal debt and dismal job prospects. 

They may not know it, however, thanks to the constant propaganda from a corporate culture dominated by images of a classless nation in which all consume the delights of the American dream, from the perfect smartphone to the perfect pill for bladder control, while merrily hacking away on the perfectly manicured golf course of one’s fantasies.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s new book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.

 

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



Get truth delivered to
your inbox every week.

Previous item: Syria Has Seen Similar Bloodshed Before

Next item: Over There With George M. Cohan



New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 13, 2011 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Apologies, that last post was in the wrong forum.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 13, 2011 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Gary, it’s not the entire ‘government’ meaning the will of the people, it’s a cadre of warped freaks within the government.  The so-called ‘christian conservatives’ though I’ll bet Jesus would have a lot less of a problem with sex than violence. 

And not that our government is so perfect, far from it, but this idea of letting kids initiate simulated shotgun blasts to a realistic looking person at close range, with high def video and sound is an inversion of the will of the People.  The supreme court is stacked with freaks.  Remember all the hub-bub about Janet Jacksons boob? 

These people inside our government have hang-ups, and I suspect violence might be a substitute for sex.  It’s all about dopamine release, right?  Perhaps America is being trained to ‘get off’ on violence so we can be a less moral police force for the world.

Report this
Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, July 13, 2011 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

OK, hit me with a stick, but I thought the High Court of the Humpty Dumpty Set said Violence was peachy keen fun and everybody loves it and every kid should have as many violent computer games as he can possibly fit into his bedroom… or something similar.

How come everyone is going on about the Guv using force to prevent kids form getting their digital kill’em and maim’em fix, when its pornography, or apparently anything that refers to sexuality in any non-violent way, that the Guv is pointing their “don’t buy, don’t sell, or else” finger at?

Did I miss something somehwere??

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 13, 2011 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, That post of July 13 at 3:00 am, spectacular.  Thank you for that and many others.  And, my copy of ‘The Cunning of history’ has shipped.

My more ‘common mon’ view on ‘anarchy’? It’s just a threat, an excuse for authoritarians to take greater control. I can’t frame it against the rich philosophical backdrop of your post below, but in the here-and-now, these ‘anarchists’ are just a tool of the ‘unjust’ factions lurking within government and society who do indeed to seek additional coercive powers be imposed.

That is, the anarchists, ironically, are merely tools of those ‘coercive forces’ about which they complain.  Look at the G8 ‘anarchists’, and the amount of police force which was assembled using them as the excuse.  They, the anarchists are tools because they are almost universally despised, except by the extreme authoritarians who creep into power to displace legitimate and ‘just’ power.

And the slightly bigger picture to me is, these ‘anarchists’ are a distraction from serious underlying issues.  The front men, the Bachmans, Palins, Huckabees, Perrys, on and on, are continuing to advance the American Theocracy mass movement, and even under that, we have fundamental economic issues regarding our ability to support a population, healthy and educated, or otherwise. 

On a more personal level, it is a shame, that our intelligent ‘hit-and-run’ anarchical mouse doesn’t see this ‘Tea Party/Theocracy’ movement, will eventually focus extreme coercive force on precisely her type.  Anarchists are indistinguishable from atheists in the view of the impending theocracy.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 13, 2011 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

Speaking of life and death, there’s a passage in The Republic wherein Socrates suggest that physicians should not bother healing sickly cobblers who were too sick to cobble, or something like that.  I thought of it when reading about surplus populations in The Cunning Of History.  As you may recall in this good state Socrates proposes, cobblers are cobblers because it is the one and only thing they do well—a curious view of human beings as machines.  It all seems like pretty evil stuff to me.  I certainly would not want to live in a world where Guardians would test me to find out the one thing I supposedly do well, and make me do it for the rest of my life, which evidently would be a short one if I proved sickly or recalcitrant.

But let us abandon Socrates to his iniquities.  I think you mentioned Thrasymachus as an example of might-makes-right thinking.  Clearly, might-makes-right is not anarchism; instead, it is proposed as the inevitable outcome of a situation in which people do not have rulers, that is, a state—an-archy—which will occur in spite of the wishes of the anarchists.  That view is one guess among several about the possibilities of human society and community.  It is an unproven one, which is why there is so much concern with legitimation among fans of various kinds of states.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 13, 2011 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

Just last week, WOW.  Thrasymachus is without a doubt the
archetypal immoralist, defending injustice as superior to justice. 
Personally I’ve never thought much of the references to god or
gods in Plato. They were just used as devices of metaphors for
human behavior. Ought not to get too hung up on them. Plato
advocated monism ala Socrates, and lived in a time when it was
more than fashionable to talk about the pantheon.  You probably
shouldn’t try to understand The Republic, as I think it wouldn’t be
worth your while to finish it.  His ideas of 2500 years ago really are
so dumb, there is nothing of value there. You should donate your
copy to a local thrift shop, or better yet throw it in the trash. 

But just for some closure: Indeed Thrasymachus sounds like the
father of Hobbes. In Hobbes’ political philosophy, all laws are fair
and justified under the rule of an absolute sovereign.  If, of anyone,
I think Thrasymachus is the ancestor of Machiavelli, the believer in
personal power and whatever satisfactions personal power would
provide.  The anarchist, Thrasymachus promoted the idea that it is
better to be unjust (to steal, cheat, kill—and not get caught). He
claims that it is more advantageous to be unjust than to be just; that
freely being able to commit conventional acts of injustice is better for
the agent, acting for himself, than being constrained by the rules of
justice and morality. Anarchists are anti-constraint of any kind, one
of no rules and no one rules.

A situation of oppression and anarchy, where only a once but not
so future ‘king’ mindset could prevail, is, yes, actually and essentially
Hobbes’ state of nature. It has to be said that ‘the left’ is fearful of this
because it implies Thrasymachus’ submission of the weak to the strong. 
Of course the social contract rests upon the weak wills of the many.
They come together in the first place because they are too afraid to
be injured or killed, so they willingly give up the power of coercion
voluntarily. Yet there are those, the strongest, the Thrasymachuses,
who would do pretty well in this anarchistic state of society.  Today,
we see that those are the ones who uphold a public image of piety,
yet secretly profit from all the evils and goods a sinful life have to offer
and combine that with the lie of a good reputation.  We know who they
are, Walton, Koch, Murdoch, Kristi, et al.

All right, on the one hand you have the idea of a society which gives
up some force, i.e., the right to take the property and lives of others,
in exchange for the right to be protected by the power of an elected
government against those who intend to do you harm.  It is this is the
idea that Hobbes appropriated from The Republic and recreated it into
his own political doctrine. Then you have the other idea of slave
morality.  You could call it the leftists.  A secret Nietzsche’s will to
power, only in this case, it is of the weak and impotent taking aim
against the strong; against those who could probably do not too badly
in the state of nature.

Agreed, the argument moves out of pure anarchy into a realm that has
leaders, hence, albeit a quasi government, whether one is needed, and
what kind or rather who should lead.  But the point was that our friend
Thrasy represented the anarchistic impulse.

This entire project of Plato’s Republic is really not the advocacy of any
particular class, but was on behalf of a motive. What is a just city and
a just man.  What people really insist on is a definite and true ideology
that operates in accordance with the facts of reality and the force, and
if you must call it coercion, to have that reality have a responsive
government instead of a loose tribe of persons who would invariably
clash among themselves. In Hobbesian societies, people would simply
be destroyed if they did not find their most able to lead them.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous—I agree that I, at least, am unlikely to bring anything new to our discussions in the near future.  I could more fully expand and explain my ideas, but that sort of thing gets tedious.

I was reading Plato’s Republic last week, and I thought it was pretty dumb.  So far I have only read the first half; I am not going to read the second half unless someone assures me that it gets better.  Thrasymachus’s argument is Hobbesian, rather than anarchistic: the powerful people get to say what justice is.  But this is wrong, because almost everyone who talks about justice refers to the gods (which is in the etymology of the word) or to some stand-in for the gods, like Natural Law, a sort of absolute which is outside the frame of mundane social interaction like the powerful oppressing the weak.  Thrasymachus also complains that Socrates won’t let him develop his argument in his own way, so I think he had Socrates’s number.  In any case we don’t hear any more from him.

Now (as if they heard this observation in advance) Socrates and company suddenly start talking about God or the gods.  This annoyed me greatly because no gods have been specified up to that point.  When, say, Aquinas talks about God, I know roughly what he’s talking about; he’s talking about the God of the Nicene Creed and its sources and descendants.  But who or what is Socrates talking about?  God knows.  There is also a long passage about how a set of Guardians must be educated by keeping them away from almost all art except I guess for some sort of (National) Socialist Realism.  But perhaps that passage is satirical.  The obvious question of how these Guardians are going to deal with actual human beings and with the ambiguities and tragedies of actual life is left unspecified, at least as far as I read.  Another important question whose answer is omitted is, of course, who is going to watch the Guardians—‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’  I find it difficult to believe people take this text seriously as embodying intelligent political theory.

Report this

By TAO Walker, July 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

People who’ve lost The Tao of their Humanity, our given place (as a vital
component of Her immune system) in the Whole Living Arrangement of Mother
Earth, inevitably spiral down into the kinds of CONvoluted “rational”-izations so
prominently on-display here, as they try to make some kind of sense of their
ever worsening (and mostly “self”-inflicted) predicament.  Plato got caught in
that maelstrom, and came-up with “The Republic.”  Confucius devised a
‘system’ that tried to address every aspect of “civilized” captivity, with the aim
of ameliorating some of its worst miseries.  Both, however, bought-into the
homo centric CONceit that’d gotten their peoples into such trouble in the first
place.

For some succinct and timelessly pertinent observations, about the condition
the domesticated peoples’ CONdition is in, its hard to do better than Lao Tsu’s
“Tao Te Ching.” 

HokaHey!

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

That is where we have always differed, Anarcissie. It looks like you
and I have been having this same argument at least since last
December.  It sort of reminds me of StarTrek episode Lazarus.  We
shall eternally be in disagreement.  I think hierarchical institutional
arrangements is much too oblique a concept to be sure of what you
are talking about.  It is too nebulous.  Nebulousity is not a virtue
unless it is to camouflage real intentions.  In my remembering Plato
and justice (The Republic is the definitive reflection), Thrasymachus
was the “might makes right” anarchistic Sophist who felt injustice, if on
a large enough scale is stronger, freer, and more masterly than justice.
(If you have The Republic, please see his view at 344c).  He maintained
that justice is nothing but the advantage of the stronger (338c), justice
is obedience to laws (339b), and justice is nothing but taking advantage
of another (343c).  With respect to the second claim, obedience to laws
is the reference to coercion.  So he is the perfect paradigm for your
view. 

The idea that justice is fairness seems to fulfill why it is a necessary
ingredient in societies, whether or not there is a government structure. 
If it is a feature of a “good” government, as legitimized by the members
of the society, then it also satisfies the needs of individuals in that each
person has an equal right to a fully adequate scheme of equal basic
liberties, i.e., liberties for all where one’s liberty does not usurp nor
infringe on another’s.  Rawls calls this the Equal Liberty Principle that is
intrinsically tied to the condition of the principle of Equal Opportunity,
that is, social and economic inequalities are to satisfy two conditions. 
1. they must be attached to offices and positions open to all under
conditions of fair equality of opportunity; and 2. they must be to the
greatest benefit of the least advantaged member so society. I think the
last criterion is the key in that it means society may undertake
enterprises that require giving some persons more power, income,
status, and so forth, than others, for example, paying middle and
upper-level managers more than production-line workers, provided
the operation makes life better off for the people who are the worst
off, and that there is access to the privileged positions and is not
blocked by discrimination according to irrelevant criteria, in other
words upward mobility.  With respect to the idea of fairness and
children, and their right to purchase simulated treachery and violence
in video games, it would be hard to say that such liberty is not to their
detriment and is to their or society’s benefit.

According to the literature this is also the common view of what moral
justice is.  Of course, there are a few meanings attached to the idea of
justice:  there is distributive justice - as assigning reward and
responsibility as if from a common origination; retributive justice -
which is concerned with punishment for infraction of a rule or law (the
one I think is what interests this discussion); and compensatory justice
– that restores to persons what may have been lost when harmed by
another.  When we say morality is conformance to the standards as
established by the society, it is about what is right or just in behavior,
which prior to the society’s construction of its code of morals, arise
from human conscience.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, July 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Not to mention Ommmmmm!  He dragged out the word force, then we were shown the way of coerciveing,... I find the word very humorous. 

Childern cannot buy violent video tapes is coerciveing, this goes for many thing such as beer, ciggys and there is the most coercive thing a government can do to little minds, is not allow them to attend the local strip joint. People should do whatever they want at any age they happen to be at, other wise they are the recipients of coerciveing!

The only thing missing from the words force and coercive for now among others is the embellished blob osmosizing me mind, is the saturations use of the word binary rhetoricaling with its close friend x y and z inundating my precious Tequila moments.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 12, 2011 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

“use of certain force”?? Did they raid some video store?  Smash the door?  Handcuff the proprietor? 

And how is a video game ‘free speech”?  They don’t even ‘speak’, they make explosive noises.  What do they say without speaking?  What statement do they make? 

Anarchissie’s argument seems to be a gussied up way of locating the words ‘coercive’, ‘government’ and ‘force’ in close proximity and with great repetitiveness.  Is it a brainwashing?  Once in a while slur the word ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ or ‘leftist’.  ‘Leftist’ in neo-con jargon means anyone who is not friend is foe. 

And it is you Anarchissie who avoid any discussion of ‘just’ governments and the minimum amount of acceptable force, typically applied at unmeasurable levels, balanced against proven, repeatable, measurable ills of moderated and illegitimate anarchical forces.  Actually, your style is of the sort of MarthA, but with adequate flourish as to not be obvious.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 12, 2011 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, July 12 at 6:57 am:

‘My goodness!  The dialogue has spun into the realm of the
fantastic.  Why a Broadway musical could be produced using
“hierarchical institutional arrangement” as the plot!  Could we put some names of real persons, like Charles and David Koch and their wealthy brethren in the cast of characters instead of just working within a Floating World? ...’

I think most of the people who participate in these discussions don’t need examples to get an idea of hierarchical institutional arrangements.

But to discuss ‘moral justice’ were are going to start with some sort of common view, and that’s not easy to discover, apparently.  My concerns, for instance, about the California legislature’s use of certain force to supposedly reduce the use of possible force was a moral concern, and I assume that the California legislature and its fans, or at least some of them, also had moral concerns.  We were unable to discuss them because my interlocutors either refused to concede the obvious about government power, or simply vanished. 

More generically, by the nature of the relations it comprises, a hierarchical institution wielding coercive force, like the State of California or the U.S. Federal government, certainly poses important moral risks; indeed, I would say unavoidable moral deficits—in my view.  I am more concerned when those who call themselves progressives, liberals, leftists deny that these exist, than I am by the Koch brothers.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 12, 2011 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Definitely the tantalization of words does not escape ersatz Indians? 
Nor does the dazzling entertainment factor of my own poet’s
inclination.  We might as well enjoy our misery.  Self-indulgent is a
mild criticism, patently or obscure to be sure.  It is downright
hedonistic!  Better to face the green-eyed monster directly than be
gouged in the back.  Can’t pull down any performer not named.  Can
only vainly “try” to pull down chimeras.  Do try to grab a hold of a
chimera’s leg!

Mother Earth unlike the falsely named Mother Nature will always
protect HerSelf.  We are arrogant to think otherwise.  Father Nature is
the one who rips the Earth and has not one shred of care for Humans,
much to our too often chagrin and self-destructive ways.

In this hour of human life, it takes more than one tribe to sway in a
dance of the full moons of moral justice. 

Meanwhile, back in the rational world of American politics, the common
people suffer at the hands of the self-servers such as Goldman-Sachs
and dance the Dance of Slow Death of their middle estate.

Report this

By TAO Walker, July 12, 2011 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Dazzling displays of verbal legerdemain can be quite entertaining in
themselves….even if they’re often, as below, patently (but s/henonymously)
“self”-indulgent.  CONfusing the script and its prescribed cast-of-characters,
however, with any particular temporary set of interchangeable ‘players’ who
happen to be acting it out on any Given Day, may be to miss entirely the
meaning of what Avon’s favorite son called “....the thing.”

It might be informative to hear from the “names” namers in just exactly what
‘role’ we will find their own so-precious “self,” as the great drama of “moral
justice” plays-out there in the virtual world-o’-hurt.  Could it be that hiding
somewhere behind the mask of pseudonymity lurks at-least a little of the
“green-eyed monster”....wanting to pull-down (and perhaps replace with their
own “self”)) some of those marquee performers?

Meanwhile, back in The Whole Natural Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth,
it’s The Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity, which makes possible
fulfillment of our given Human Responsibility (as a component in Her immune
system), that really IS The Play here.

HokaHey!

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 12, 2011 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

My goodness!  The dialogue has spun into the realm of the
fantastic.  Why a Broadway musical could be produced using
“hierarchical institutional arrangement” as the plot!  Could we
put some names of real persons, like Charles and David Koch
and their wealthy brethren in the cast of characters instead of
just working within a Floating World?  Shall Boehner, Ryan,
Bachmann, Cantor, McConnell be the singings madrigals?  Who
shall write the score?  Karl Rove?  And will the dancers be toe
dancing corporate divas like Grover Norquist?  Will Denise Robertson
juggle tea bags?  So far, only some elaboration has been offered with
impassioned extrapoets chiming in with more phantasmic layering. 
It is hysterical.  Calm yourselves!  Clear the anapestics from your
mental prowess!  Let the lucidity of reality rule!

The corporate-state is not the only arrangement, nor has it ever
been the impulse that drives states to form. If they become ziggurats
of greed, then they the result of a conditioned corruption that happens
in collectives when slumbering becomes too seductive, both in the
chronicles of the religious and the secular. The originating impulse
is always justice.  Seems to me moral justice has sprouted wings and
never crosses the mind of TaoWalker or Anarcissie.  How dismal.  Please
show your corporate-state, its definitive history (real please as in a
timeline) and the character of those who populate it, name names (be
brave) s’il vous plait. 

Because, sooner or later, the corporate gargoyles will have to eat their
foibles.  The Common Population Jails (CPJs) are starting to overflow. 
Jails are an overt sign of justice just as much as stone blindfolded
goddesses with sword in hand are metaphoric reminders.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 12, 2011 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

If “the careerists populating its tiers” are ‘just’, uncorrupted, then the ‘force’ is not a problem.  That is to say, the ‘force’ is a distraction from the real issue, which is: corruption of governments mission to work in the best interest of the common good, including the environmental, among other things.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 12, 2011 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

TAO Walker, July 11 at 7:25 pm:

‘... In any hierarchical institutional arrangement, the perpetuation and “growth” of the pyramid-scheme itself sooner-or-later (much more often the former) becomes the sole focus of the careerists populating its tiers. ...’

These corporate-state arrangements seem to produce a lot of stuff and a lot of power, to the point where they are seen as natural and inevitable.  Then the use of force on which they are necessarily based is forgotten, as in the discussion from which this thread descends.  More than forgotten—it becomes unthinkable.  An unthinkable fact pervading the social fabric.

Report this

By TAO Walker, July 11, 2011 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

What need to be “guessing,” when the words are (or at-least relatively recently
were) common parlance….even if they’re strung together here a little un-
CONventionally.  If some elaboration might help, however, try this.

In any hierarchical institutional arrangement, the perpetuation and “growth” of
the pyramid-scheme itself sooner-or-later (much more often the former)
becomes the sole focus of the careerists populating its tiers.  These “self”-
servers will do all they can (licit or, ultimately, otherwise) to CONtrol everything
and everybody subject to the machinations of the apparatus, in-order to bring-
about that entirely “self”-referential (and thus, finally, “self”-destructive) END. 
What’s more, it is the essential nature of such systems to behave like that….the
sometimes temporarily better intentions of their operators, to try and effect
some different outcome, notwithstanding.

Meanwhile, it never hurts to be a little careful about what we wish-for on any
given Day, even when every Given Day is….

HokaHey!

Report this

By Lew Ciefer, July 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

Dear Truthdig dot com:

There’s a terrible typo in the title of this particular article. It has ‘The Teaparty’ where ‘Little Timmy Geithner’ should be.

Thank you,

Lew Ciefer

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

One of the themes of The Cunning Of History is that most of the ideology, to say nothing of the technology, which resulted in the Holocaust, had long and deep roots in the culture of Western civilization, rather than being some sort of incomprehensible atavistic outburst, an interpretation it is often given.  Far from being a throwback, Rubinstein sees the Holocaust as a natural development in communities which think of themselves as progressive.  Once humans and their societies have been demystified and desacralized, they can be reorganized in a rational way, which in Europe of the early 20th century included industrialism, capitalism, the national state, and bureaucratic organization.  A certain train of development in such a society leads to the production or discovery of ‘surplus’ persons; for example, the German state determined that Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, and disabled persons were surplus.  In the Holocaust, these people were gotten rid of by depriving them of membership in the state.  As stateless persons, they were then outside the law, the living dead, and soon thereafter they were processed industrially into the not-living dead.

At least, that is my interpretation.

The book is not about blaming the Holocaust on someone or something; it’s about the genealogy of ideas and the actions based on them, about showing how this comes from that.  It poses important questions which, I would say, have thus far proved unanswerable.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 11, 2011 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Indeed She.  When I step back a wee bit from your post, I see what has been apparent, that we will repeat the history of the holocaust, with a different persecution group, and internationally compartmentlalized, so we need not interrupt international commerce with the unpleasantness of the thing. 

But, I think this holocaust will be by a slow painful burn of starvation and disease, not a relatively quick work camp then gas chamber/killing squad.  Look at the fat diabetics in the US and the malnourished in the third world. 

And a step farther back, I think, or perhaps leaning forward slightly, I’m not sure, that there are damn serious consequences to our actions/inaction.  The piddly squeaking of mice is a waste of time, which is not on our side.

And the really long view of your post (to me) ‘just’ government, getting lost or inconveniently overlooked is not to be overlooked.  Corruption by blatant despotism, or a benign insidious means is not to be poo pooed.  Rat F*ck our mousy little friendenemy.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 11, 2011 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

Yeah, it looks like we are covering the same territory on a few
forums.  The topic is close to some of our hearts I guess.  It is all
right I think, as Aristotle said every man (and woman has a little
bit of the truth. As we work our way through these forums, I don’t
have any feel for others, but I am learning tons.  Weighing it all for
truth is the challenge.

So not being worried about anarchism, since it is a theory of
governmentless society that would not happen in a country such
as the US anyway, I bought the book The Cunning of History (really
cheap in new condition on Amazon.com).  Of the 21 reviews made,
19 gave it 5 stars, 2 gave it 4.  Impressive.  I am bound to learn
something.  Just a very quick look the TOC and the thesis is that the
kinetics that kindled the action of the Holocaust is still in motion today
and that it could happen again.  Well I’d say it did happen in Darfour,
Bosnia, and Iraq/Iran/Kuwait.  Those in Darfour suffered a long and
detestable brutality.  But the world did not do a world war over it!  As
of Feb. 2010 BBC reported over 300,000 murdered while Mark Lacey of
the International Herald Tribune counts it at 400,000, with some
number not known for sure, dead from disease as a result of the living
conditions.  Also, even more serious, Saddam Hussein was responsible
for the deaths of over 1 million people in Iraq, Kuwait and Iran not to
say anything about the number of Kurds.  But I will say something
about the Kurds:  A cousin of Saddam Hussein’s Chemical Ali was
responsible in the 1988 campaign of killing as many as 180,000 Kurds
through a combination of poison gas and artillery attacks on civilian
population centers. So, it looks like there is reason beyond belief for
people-protective government, as the displaced Darfourans did not
have a government, did not have anarchy either, but did have a horridly
long oppressive tyranny at the hands of the most monstrous
authoritarian autocrats.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 11, 2011 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

Look Anarchissie…...say what you meant to say with regard to your particular distinction between ‘state’ and ‘government’.  Chrissakes, if we don’t understand each others words, why talk?  Let’s grunt it’s funner.

TAO, “Apparatchiks uber alles!”??? Look, the guessing is tiring.  Shit, I gotta lotta work to do without this.  Just say what you mean please?  Succinctly? It’s a matter of respect.

And I mean HokaHey in the way I think you mean.  It’s our life, let’s live it and if we die?  So what?  We lived! Is that about right? 

HokaHey Bro.

Report this

By TAO Walker, July 11, 2011 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

Apparatchiks uber alles!

HokaHey!

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 11, 2011 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

“.....but want to show that the government is just.”
Who said that?  We’re talking theory here.  Our mouse can’t see above the walls of it’s maze.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 11, 2011 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, July 10 at 10:48 pm:

‘... Furthermore, you say, “government’ [is] the actual agency or organization which exerts coercive power.”  While this might be true, I say that Gewaltmonopol des Staates is that coercive power granted by the people to the state as designated in the laws of the state, and the people make the laws. ...’

The statement you quote is just about my particular usage of the term ‘government’ in the variegated government-state usage complex.  It’s an attempt to clarify my language.  Some people say ‘state’ where I would say ‘government’.  I’ll assume we’re talking about approximately the same thing for the moment.

This discussion is an echo of the discussion in the comments under a different article, Peter Scheer’s ‘Yes To Violence, No To Sex’.  I entered that thread because I wanted people to savor the irony of using ‘violence’ (the government) to suppress video games which depict ‘violence’.  (I did not introduce anything about anarchism or anarchy; that was brought up by others, who subsequently complained about or made fun of what they themselves had done.)  As I expected, our little progressive pot boiled over because it was thought that I had disparaged the sacred government.  So I’ve had my fun. 

Now, you seem to agree with Weber’s definition but want to show that the government is just.  I doubt that this is going to work out given the ambience, but I’ll just observe that the people do not make the laws, that the government does not observe the laws, and in any case even if the people did make the laws and the government did observe the laws, that that would be no guarantee that the people, the laws and the government were just.  Slavery and Naziism were both supported by supposed popular mandate in many of the regions where they existed.

Again, I strongly recommend taking a look at The Cunning Of History.  Don’t worry, it’s not an anarchist manifesto.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 11, 2011 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

Not really a defense, but just a reminder that mice and rats are
used to navigate mazes and labyrinths in scientific testing.  We can
presume it is because they are not only smart animals, have good
memories, but also are tenacious?

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 11, 2011 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

Lee, I was thinking the oceans are a state of anarchy.  Good to be a shark, or a lamprey, or a bacterial which eats lampreys?

Anyway, She, our mouse won’t bite on the glaring difference between an oppressive government which uses extreme means of coercion as a matter of SOP, and a just government being the one and only legal means of exercising force, which, in a just government, would be as restrained as possible to deter non-government violence and criminality.

I saw something the other day about the FBI being concerned with these fringe groups like the tea-party being poised for violence.  I don’t remember where I saw the damn thing, but it mentioned militias, white supremacists, etc, and didn’t get much press coverage. 

Some faction of the Tea Partiers displayed an ability to get very near violence, an ‘in your face’ shout down at the August 2008 health care town hall debates.  That was an ugly example of borderline anarchy.  I’m sure that group will have no problem getting out the ax handles against any who oppose them, so I prefer the rule of law, thank you.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 10, 2011 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

Whether Schroedinger’s Cat is dead or alive takes some loaded
logic, or, quantumly speaking, it is both dead and alive at the
same time…until you open z box.  So you can skin it either alive
or skin it dead.  One way will get you scratched up the wazoo.

So what exactly is the disagreement about what government is? 
From the other forum, you said it is Gewalt (where I said it is
Gewaltmonopol des Staates in a civilized state)?  Gewalt, let’s go
over it once more, is coercive force, actually it translates into
‘violence.’  And you say it is the basis of everything the government
does.  For you said, “Otherwise, it would be unnecessary to have the
government do it.”  Furthermore, you say, “government’ [is] the actual
agency or organization which exerts coercive power.”  While this might
be true, I say that Gewaltmonopol des Staates is that coercive power
granted by the people to the state as designated in the laws of the
state, and the people make the laws.  A state, then, is defined as a
compulsory political institution having a government that maintains a
monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a specified boundary. 
While government is the means by which state policy is enforced, it is a
composition of people referred to as legislators, administrators, and a
judiciary that interprets and applies the laws in the name of the state in
the administrative bureaucracy who controls a state at a given time.  If
government has not been defined sufficiently, or over defined, then just
correct it.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, July 10, 2011 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment

One of my worst friends is an anarchist.

My pet goldfish was a anarchist,... until my cat ate it.

Does the anarchist shit in public restrooms?

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

Touché TAO

Anarchissie…the mouse runs from inconvenient truths.  How like the hip anarchist.  The mask fits you.

Report this

By TAO Walker, July 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

It’s a given that your average cat-skinner might take a run at the ‘job’ from more
than one direction….at-least some of the time.  There certainly are circumstances,
however, when there aren’t a lot of ‘options’....where there is, in-fact, only one
that is genuinely viable.

Without specifics about exactly which “cat” (Schrodingers, maybe?) is being
proposed for the ‘honor’ here, who can say whether there really is “more than one
way” to approach it….or if it’s one of those things that will yield to only The
Medicine specific to its particular CONfiguration.

HokaHey!

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

John Best, July 10 at 1:45:

‘She (Anarchissie) didn’t touch the relationship between ‘just’ government as it relates to coercion as opposed to the willing acceptance of needed force.  (She wouldn’t take the bait and I got pissed) (<:’

I could hardly proceed to deal with ‘just government’ when we can’t agree as to what ‘government’ is.  Anyway, I might not be interested in the question.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

Sorry if it came across as enigmatic, John Best.  I spent a lot of
time making the distinction between coercion of tyrants (despotic
monarchs, central committees, and the like) and legitimized
monopoly of violence by the (democratic is assumed) state where
force is accepted and is by consent of the people which has gone
undiscussed by Anarcissie.  It is all right for me since I recognize
her style and I may get some satisfaction or I may not.  Life will go
on either way.  But that is between her and me.  But you asked for
a similar explanation of the relationship and did not receive an answer
either, so I was just noticing a pattern.  It might be more important to
you to get some resolution.  For me it is already resolved, I noted that
Anarcissie does not seem to see the distinction or if she does, she
would rather take a different path.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

She….what is this related question you speak of?  I admit sometimes you lose me Sister.

And our good friend TAO Walker, there might be more than one way to skin a cat.
HokaHey Bro.

Report this

By TAO Walker, July 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

This Old Savage has never offered anything here from the viewpoint of a “Native
American”....or any kind of “American” at-all.  That Euro-centric CONceit
remains the exclusive ‘property’ of those among our domesticated Human
relations whose captive imaginations are dis-informed (and deformed) by the
distorting influence of theallamericanfeverdream.  Us Native Turtle Islanders are
not languishing in that make-believe CONstruct.

Academicians have no monopoly, of course, on the insistent belief that their
own peculiar papered professional expert opinions are….well, definitive.  They
do seem somewhat prone, though, to indulging in orgies of CONdescension
when their pet notions fail to receive the unquestioning acceptance supposed
to be guaranteed by the ‘imprimatur’ of denizens of the ivory tower.

The Whole Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth is not the “product” of
‘popular opinion,’ CONventional ‘wisdom,’ authoritarian diktat, or ‘scientific’
CONsensus.  It exists and thrives essentially without any reference whatsoever
to such manmade CONtrivances.  The virtual subspecies homo domesticus, on-
the-other-hand, is perishing in abject thrall to the crippling illusions of its
“individual”-ized CONstituents.

Free Wild Natural Persons ORGANized as Genuine Human Communities,
however, fulfilling our Human Responsibility as a component in Her immune
system, are not subject at-all to the suffocating CONfines of the virtual world-
o’-hurt that is symptomatic of the “civilization” disease process.  This may
explain some of the resentment expressed here from time to time by people
who are stuck in that CON-TRAPtion.  It seems not to occur to those inmates of
the “global” gulag that they’re in the mess they are today because it’s exactly
‘where’ that sickness takes its sufferers….and not , CONtrary to the thing’s PR,
to some techno-‘paradise.’

Anyhow, this Old Man is using this particular prosthetic device, to offer to our
tame Sisters and Brothers descriptions of how their “self”-inflicted predicament
looks from here in Free Wild Indian Country, because they are effectively deaf
and blind these Days to the Natural Voices and Presences of All Our Relations
and our Mother Earth Herownself.  It’s one hell of a CONdition to be in, f’r sure.

Meanwhile, it’s ALL biology ALL the time here….as all your dreamt-up
philosophy simply doesn’t signify.

HokaHey!

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Sometimes, and it is normal, our emotions rule more than we would
like. You reasonably asked for the relationship between coercion and
legitimized (willing acceptance of) force. There was a related question
implied in my many yards of posting that has gone ignored as well. 
Hmmmmm. veddy intahrestink.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

She (Anarchissie) didn’t touch the relationship between ‘just’ government as it relates to coercion as opposed to the willing acceptance of needed force.  (She wouldn’t take the bait and I got pissed) (<:

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

You may well be right John Best, but we have never let the inability
to convince one another stop us from trying.  In retrospect, I believe
we ‘bait’ each other to some degree but it might just be endemic to
the nature of the topics.  There seem to always be some residual
facet that one of us wants to pursue.  I can’t speak for Anarcissie,
but probing for truth has never been daunting.  Working with
Anarcissie is quite unlike the futility of trying to get somewhere in
dialogue with MarthaA.  Even with her I have tried to mine for seeds
of truth, but alas, the results have been Nyet, Nichto, absolyutno net,
ni v koye? mere , ne na vseh.  Che sera. LOL

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

She,
I hope you didn’t think my ‘stupid’ comment was directed anywhere near you.  I meant we always take the bait, and are not going to convince Anarchissie of anything.  Well, if you like a challenge, I’ll happily be proven wrong.

Report this

By felicity, July 10, 2011 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

Inherit - The supra-rich don’t breathe the same air
as you and I do and are thus unaffected by that
plebian, proletariat economic principle called supply
and demand.

The guy who recently paid $48 million for a Renoir
bought it from a guy who was tired of looking at it
so had decided to replace it with a Van Gogh (and the
guy who sold the Renoir was tired of looking at it
and so had decided to replace it with a Monet.) And
that pretty well describes the circle of activity of
the supra-rich.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 10, 2011 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

John Best, July 10 9:49 am “Why do we always get into this same
old stupid anarchy discussion?  A waste of time.”

Maybe, and while I can appreciate anyone’s weariness, my reactive
guess is that it is academic, that there is a difference between the
state and anarchy and there are two strong points of view being held,
and that those holding those opinions do not see them as stupid. It
is really easy to just gloss over and go on to bigger and better things
if you see it that way.  No coercion to stick around.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 10, 2011 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

Why do we always get into this same old stupid anarchy discussion?  A waste of time.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 10, 2011 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, July 10 at 8:29 am – Completely understood with a
little bit of chagrin.  More about Gewalt a little later, offline life
beckons for a while.
———
But speaking of self-righteousness… with no denigration intended,
it is easily seen in the history of Native American social structures
that like all peoples it went from savage to tribes to nations, but in
their case, never culminated into a state.  Perhaps the reason for
acrimony found among some Native Americans today?  One does not
need to experience arsenic to understand its effects.  It is self-serving
reactivism to think that all statements about Native Americans is
pontificating.  If Natural Human Communities are not composed of
individuals what are you saying is the composition of these social
structures?  These communities certainly had what would be ordinary
to them, an ordinary life, and that individuals lived those ordinary
lives, and by fiat, consented to their way of life.

Whatever you think is the intention of the idea of progress, in your
zeal to denigrate anything that is not Native American is idiosyncratic.
If you do not like the “progress” made by Western society, then why
are you even dallying around in electronic world, which is the result of
progressive Western ingenuity. It appears most hypocritical. If you can
find a virgin territory, you might retreat to it and let the rest of us swim
in our swill to our fullest heart’s content. We will work out our problems
eventually, even if it takes a millennia. We’ve only been on the Earth
about 100,000 years, maybe up to as long as 200,000 years. About
12,000 formed hunting/gathering societies including the Native
Americans wherever they migrated from. The Pygmies in Africa are one
of the few remaining hunting/gathering societies.  You might try them
for a new residence.

It depends on where one wants to start counting. The domestication of
plants and animals, decidedly the first societal evolution, led to the
birth of the horticultural and pastoral societies, i.e, farmers.  The
history of the development of societies from the savage life to modern
man, takes up miles of shelf space in the Library of Congress.  Pay
particular attention to the distinction between Gemeinschaft and
Gesellschaft, and if you don’t know what that means, why look it up on
your electronic-age-access to the Internet.

In any society there are expectations of how members should and
should not behave.  There develops norms which are guidelines or the
social expectation for behavior. Every society constructs its own rules
for behavior and decides when those rules have been violated and what
to do about it.  Norms change constantly and differ among societies,
and can even differ from group to group within the same society, which
is what we have in America, and in comparison between America and
the rest of the world. 

There is no denigration at least from me, of the history and life
choices of the Native American, they have freedom, with some
limitations because they do live within a larger society, to live as they
choose. I have never understood your acerbic and curdled diatribes
against non-Native Americans and your “Indian blanket” denigrations. 
A study of the history of mankind shows that nations are built out of
strife, all nations in the world, just look at the Sudan for a recent
account.  All nations were not the owners of their land at some point in
their history and conquered and confiscated it from others.  Look at the
Middle East and all that represents from the Arab world to the Jewish
one.  All nations have some shame in their history, and the Native
Americans are no different.  They have much bloodshed on their hands
in their attacks against other Native Americans, just as African tribes
have done through their history.  Your self-righteousness is very
misplaced.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 10, 2011 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

<blockquote>
Shenonymous, July 10 at 7:51 am:

‘... The alternative to state is anarchy and anarchy means living as did savages, with no government, no social organization and violence in the hands of the individuals. ...’

You’re saying here, as I read it, that social organization can be maintained only by force (Gewalt), but I think that remains to be proven.  Since we observe many instances of noncoercive social organization, the proof looks pretty difficult.

Report this

By TAO Walker, July 10, 2011 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Those who have no actual experience, thus no real knowledge of how us
“savages” actually live, should maybe be a bit less eager to pontificate about it. 
Natural Human Communities are not comprised of “individuals,” anyhow,
(though “the state” certainly is), and “violence” (if you look at ‘the news of their
virtual world-o’-hurt on any given Day) remains very much “in the hands” of
those malformed solitary sufferers of the “civilization” disease.

The propaganda of “progress” is just that….a fabrication intended to keep its
‘target population’ CONvinced that sliced bread and flush toilets (among myriad
other similarly silly affectations) somehow ‘prove’ how much more “developed”
(and so much more deserving of admiration) are the “users” of such
CONtrivances than are….oh, say us surviving Free Wild Peoples of ALL kinds. 
When this sort of “self”-righteous “self”-glorification is seen in an “individual,”
‘others’ of its virtual ‘kind’ still generally recognize that as a debilitating
deficiency of ‘character,’ at the very least….and usually somethiong a good deal
more serious than that even. 

When indulged-in CONstantly (even at-times rabidly) by most of the
CONstituents of an entire virtual subspecies, however, (like homo domesticus,
for example) the same syndrome becomes transmuted somehow into definitive
evidence of exceptional ‘excellence.’  This is the very kid-stuff of rampant
insanity.

It sure as hell isn’t us surviving “savages” who are systematically destroying the
capacity of our Mother Earth’s Whole Living Arrangement to even tolerate,
never-mind support, the infamous appetites of the wannabe “rich.”

HokaHey!

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 10, 2011 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

From thefreedictionary.com:
sib (sb)
n.
1.
  a. A blood relation; a relative.
  b. A person’s relatives considered as a group; kinfolk.
2. A brother or sister; a sibling.
3. Anthropology: A kinship group consisting of two or more lineages considered as being related, as by common descent from a mythic ancestor.

adj.
Related by blood; kindred.

[Middle English sibbe, from Old English sibb; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.]

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 10, 2011 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

The contrast is between the state and anarchy.  According to
Weber, Trotksy said “Every state is founded on force.”  Weber,
himself, continued, “That is indeed right. If no social institutions
existed which knew the use of violence, then the concept of ‘state’
would be eliminated, and a condition would emerge that could be
designated as ‘anarchy,’ in the specific sense of this word. Of course,
force is certainly not the normal or the only means of the state—
nobody says that—but force is a means specific to the state. Today
the relation between the state and violence is an especially intimate
one. In the past, the most varied institutions—beginning with the sib*-
-have known the use of physical force as quite normal. Today, however,
we have to say that a state is a human community that (successfully)
claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a
given territory. Note that ‘territory’ is one of the characteristics of the
state. Specifically, at the present time, the right to use physical force is
ascribed to other institutions or to individuals only to the extent to
which the state permits it. The state is considered the sole source of the
‘right’ to use violence. Hence, ‘politics’ for us means striving to share
power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either among
states or among groups within a state.”

*I can guess but does anyone know what he meant by sib?

Furthermore, said Weber, “He who is active in politics strives for power
either as a means in serving other aims, ideal or egoistic, or as ‘power
for power’s sake,’ that is, in order to enjoy the prestige-feeling that
power gives.”  Masculate means to make strong.  I do not propose
“emasculate” but rather de-masculate, or weaken the power of
politicians.  There is still some power or the politician would be
ineffective at the legislature.  But rather “regulate,” that hated word by
the elite, as has been suggested already by some of the more
insightful.  We do have to talk about the virtue of regulation in a
egalitarian society.  Food for another discussion?

The alternative to state is anarchy and anarchy means living as did
savages, with no government, no social organization and violence in the
hands of the individuals.  As an evolved human being where millions of
years brought my kind from barbarism to civilized, I do not want
violence to be within the sole province of the individual.  The way I see
it there is a natural progression is from primordials to tribes to nation
to state, but with the condition of legitimization, meaning with consent
of the people.

To respond to your observation, John Best, when does one historic cycle
end and another one begin?  Seems a continuum with never at any one
time a complete forgetting of speculator tricks, particularly these days
when archiving and retrieval of actions and events of men is
instantaneous.  The tricks used by the political charlatans may be re-
used but there will be someone who will catch them…eventually!  Or if
not, then we are oblivious and hence the trick actually was
ineffective???

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 10, 2011 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

What the heck is neo-liberalism??

She: I think at least one historic cycle is related to the time it takes for the various tricks of speculators to be sufficiently forgotten by the population that they can be re-used.

ITW: I was hoping you’d comment on the effectiveness of various types of spending, i.e. the ‘investment quality’ of various categories of federal stimuli.  Pick a few of your favorites?  Thank You.  My personal favorite is a modern day equivalent of the hoover dam.  Like the moonshot of the 60’s….every dwelling completely energy self sufficient by 2020.

Report this
kulu's avatar

By kulu, July 10, 2011 at 2:08 am Link to this comment

Dale Johnson 6 July 7.15am

Yours is an excellent outline of neo-liberalism. I will pass it on to others. There is one connection, however, that you missed I think and that is the role of religious fundamentalism in all this.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

I believe Mark Twain said “at best it rhymes,” although some say
he said “it often rhymes.”  Take your pick.  Not too sure how
significant is the point, but actually 19th c. Santayana said, “Those
who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

But just to push the idea a little further, it doesn’t mean that history
will inevitably repeat itself, but the chance of repeating a mistake is
imaginable if reading, discussing, and reflecting on what happened
in the past is not given any regard.  Now we know, both intuitively
and logically, that history cannot in any way “repeat” itself.  We don’t
really mean that carbon copies of events recur.  Probability theory says
even the possibility is mathematically negligible.  What happens are
similar properties of events.  As time elapses, the trajectory of history
more or less spirals with analogous dynamics, and because some parts
of events are closely congruent, a new event “seems” to have repeated, 
But the facts of the events upon close inspection are not exactly
uniform and do not have identical evolution. 

Actually, it is our ignorance of the reality and true facts where a
varnished edition is mistakenly assumed that gives the impression of
repetition that leads us to a false report of our own times.  It is a habit
of misconstruction of present events as frameworks or fixed patterns as
identical to discrete historical events.

But even if it never repeats exactly, if we are conscious enough to
contemplate possible consequences, it is close enough to learn valuable
lessons that can help guide decisions.  The question is compound: Are
we conscious and capable of contemplating possible consequences?

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, July 9, 2011 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

Keynes would be laughing bitterly at what the US has done to commit hari-kari.

The GOP’s whole line is to tell us it’s good for everybody if they poison the well because they gave 5% the antidote.

The Dem’s whole line is to tell us it’s not so bad that they only let the well be poisoned enough to kill 10% of us and make the other 85% deathly ill, even while they WISH they could give us all the antidote.

One says it’s good for us to drink the kool-aid, the other says we don’t have to drink too much.

Lists of fixes all come down to two:
Democrats in Washington need to grow backbones and not appease the Re-thugs out of fear.
Democrats and Progressives need to stick together and stop in-fighting.

But the second cannot and will not happen unless the first does.  Sadly, it won’t.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 9, 2011 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

Well, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes, as someone said.  Or you can take the view that events occur first as tragedy and then as farce.  Blood farce, to be sure.

Probably, the falling tax rate reflects the increasing fecklessness and criminality of the ruling class.  The ruining class.  This has been going on for a long time and yet the folk seem still bemused.  I guess we just have to wait until things hit bottom.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

ITW, I think this is a problem:  “DEMAND creates products and when people are struggling to make ends meet, demand for their luxuries falls.” 

It is not that producing any damn thing will necessarily create a good living condition for all.  Luxury yachts come tom mind.  People look to the short term.  Corporations look to the next quarter, perhaps a bit longer.  ‘Ginned up demand’, produces a waste of resources, a landfill of instantly obsolete crap. 

I think there is quite a bit to Keynesian economics, but it is extremely important to nudge people and governments toward investments and expenditures which are not ‘fluff’.  And yes, certainly, ‘just’ governments can and must lead the way.

Report this
Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, July 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

ITW, that’s why in a downward spirally economy it is wise to market to the rich.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, July 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

What the insanely rich don’t realize is that as you destroy the economy, you lose out on, well, what there is to buy.  DEMAND creates products and when people are struggling to make ends meet, demand for their luxuries falls. Sure, Audemars Piguet and Patek Phillipe aren’t affected. How many can afford $15,000 for a stainless steal Audemars? Only those who BENEFIT from the tax break for the wealthy.

Report this
Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, July 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Can’t wait for the next article Scheer writes about 9/11 and again only mentions the ‘offical’ lie, I mean story, of the hegemony.

Scheer is still Shill #1 on here waiting for his Huffington moment… chaching $$$$

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette,
I tip my hat to thee.
I will add this….
The ‘Replicants’, whom I have described a bit more broadly as the ‘Republican Neo Con Free Marketeers’, claim it is necessary to have unlimited profit potential in order to motivate the winners to work hard in order to grow the economy.  Well, I must say bullshit.  This encourages the ultra greedy to use whatever slimy tactics they desire to get more gold. 

A progressive tax rate allows everybody to respect the wealthy, because the people know the wealthy are acknowledging in a real way that their success is dependent on the strength of society.  Tax policy can do much.  But, I would add also that the underlying motivations for various portions of the tax code must be conveyed very clearly to the public, for obvious reasons.  This is an interesting task I think.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 9, 2011 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

Lafayette, your last two posts are exceptionally informative,
particularly for one such as myself who has had only the scantest
education in the power of economics and politics.  My tripartite
self is learning though.  From my reading the daily news, and
watching news programs, your conclusions appear to fit the
actuality that can be perceived even by the lay public.  There are
several from these forums who understand the edict of learning
from history, and who understand your thesis that in order to make
a better country we have to change the system.  I was much impressed
with your two posts July 8 10:19pm and July 9 12:19am.  I will need
more time to integrate what you said into my understanding but I did
gather your injunction that the people need to see the we instead of
the me perspective (the collective and the individualist basis for beliefs)
before any effective change can occur. 

There are many who see that history repeats itself (especially historians), but where has anyone in history learned how not to
repeat it?  It seems a common human frailty to have a deficiency
in the ability to learn from empirical or even heuristic observation.
Given this congenital insufficiency to learn by past mistakes, it would
seem that those who do see a way through the labyrinth of ignorance
are summoned to act.  How do you propose a realistic way be created
to activate your two orders for change, forbidding corporate donations
to election campaign sans the getting out to vote criteria, and finding
politicans with courage (as pre-testing is required)?  Not that I don’t
fully agree with you, as these are completely logical steps toward
reforming for the good of the people. We need more than description,
which is what historians do and why we don’t learn from history. 

I look forward to reading more of your observations and possible
remedies.  I know there are those ready to the fore to act if possible
actions are articulated in terms that are perceptibly achievable.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, July 9, 2011 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

AND ANOTHER HISTORICAL FACT

Consider again the historical time-line of Marginal Income Taxation in America, here.

What happens EACH TIME we have lowered drastically marginal income taxes? Here’s what:
*Look at the period from 1920 to 1930 when they were brought from 75% to 25%. What happened in 1929 and brought the Great Depression that lasted another decade ... ? It took a World War 2 to pull us out of the Deep Economic Doodoo.
*Look at the period of 1980 to 2009, when they were brought down - yet again - from 70% to 30%. Who was PotUS in 1980?

Time and time again the Replicants get a bee in their bonnet that High Taxation is Ruining America! Time and time again the consequence of marginal income tax reduction actually ruins the American economy.

A RIDDLE

Moreover, what is about taxation in the US that Americans dislike taxes so passionately? My answer: It is the individualist nature (read selfish) by which we believe that all achievement is entirely personal. Thus, well-being is mistakenly measured socially as a monetary value. In a Collectivist Nation, achievement is measured in terms of the well-being of society as a whole.

Ours is one of the lowest tax burdens of any developed nation (See here). And as a corollary, we have some of the most warped Income Equality in that same classification (see here).

And in terms of Social Safety Nets, ours has the largest holes in that net.

MY POINT

Until Americans understand the difference between the two beliefs (Collective & Individualist) and until we reform our expectational perspective from “Me” to “Us”, then the cyclical boom ‘n bust economy will make the wealth of a select few and the common misery of many.

POST SCRIPTUM

History does repeat itself - but always in different ways. (George Santayana’s aphorism: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.)

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, July 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm Link to this comment

FUNDAMENTAL HISTORICAL TRENDS

JB: Do you think the American Voter can, given the decades of various cultural conditioning’s, be ‘depolarized’, or united behind a serious effort to set things straight?  There is a lot of brand loyalty to overcome.

I take a longer-term look at the social forces that apply to a country’s development.

For instance, I believe that Reagan’s election to the Oval Office was a watershed mark in our history. We may joke about Trickle Down economics (and, indeed, it is a joke since it has no foundation in economic theory), but he did lower drastically Marginal Income Taxation from the 70% level to the 30% (the effective level is actually in the low 20%). See that particular magic trick in this info-graphic here.

He also reduced significantly Capital Gains taxes, though they had already been coming down regularly. Lead-head reduced them further in 2001, barely a year in office.

What impact have these Tax Revenue reductions had on America. I submit that they have been sizable:
* First in terms of mentality. It unleashed Corporate Greed - both in highly speculative (Toxic Waste) Financial Transaction and also enormous Corporate Bonuses. (Though the real business wealth-wand is Stock Options, which are no cost to the company.) And,
* Has drastically exploded America’s National Debt because Tax Revenues no longer adequately cover Expenditures. (Like a 1 trillion dollar war over in the sandbox.)

The Republicans were out to “starve the beast” (of government expenditure) and “lower the tax-take” (on personal income). They have largely succeeded.

The pits were reached with the advent of the Great Recession (of 2009) triggered by the Credit Mechanism Seizure (in 2008), itself produced by the Toxic Waste of subprime loans over the previous years (going back to 2007, see here). Due to regulatory oversight, relaxed by the Replicants.

This historical trend began with Ronald Reagan and came to an end in the Great Recession of 2009. I figure the Replicants - despite the TeaBaggers - haven’t got much good-faith left with which to bilk the American Public.

Next year will tell. The mid-terms elections were a fluke.

And, as regards the frenzy in this blog of “who paid what to whom”, it is symptomatic of Americans “having had enough”. Pointing the finger a Barack Obama is useless - you just do not get to be PotUS in the US, where it costs a cool quarter of a billion dollars to run a campaign, without corporate donations.

Donald Duck could have run for the presidency, the money-number would not have changed.

MY POINT

The fault is systemic. Change the system. In order to change the system, change the political class in LaLaLand on the Potomac.

In order to change the Political Class in our Country this is necessary:
1) A new code of Electoral Ethics that must forbid corporate donations to any election campaign other than “getting out the vote” (managed by a politically neutral bipartisan commission).
2) A Progressive Agenda that would require politicians with the courage to vote very difficult legislation that reforms radically our system of taxation.

Both the above would set the ground for an economic recovery based upon Much Higher Tax Revenues spent on Infrastructural Renewal of the country - which jobs are necessary to get the economy rolling again.

Report this
Psychobabbler's avatar

By Psychobabbler, July 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

I was just watching Entertainment Tonight. It turns out that people have lost their confidence in copper. They must be making silver bullets now like my cheapest crappy beer! YEEEEEEE HAAAAAWWWWW.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, July 8, 2011 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

This is a joke, right? The banks love Obama, especially JP Morgan. You all know Jamie Dimon is going to be the next Treasury Secretary, right?

Answer me a question. Why was JPM even allowed to bid on oil the was released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, let alone? Shouldn’t that have been limited to refiners? Is Blythe Masters hiding a refinery up her snatch?

As was previously disclosed, as part of the SPR’s auctioning off of 30 million barrels of light sweet crude, bids for a total of 30.64 million barrels of oil at an average bid of $107.20/barrell were submitted by various parties. The only thing unknown was the identity of the parties, which however has now been all cleared up following the release of the complete bid list from the DOE. Probably the most notable (if not completely expected) discovery is that JPM, that FDIC-insured depositor bank, has requested 1.5 million barrels at a price of $105.33 for a total of $158 million. We wonder just what JPM plans on doing with this crude, which as predicted, will be transported by vessel, and offloaded at such time as JPM sees fit, probably well after the product is trading at a substantial premium to the purchase price. Other potential buyers include Valero, Vitol, Shell, Conoco, Plains and various other E&P companies. Ironically, JPM wants more crude than Sunoco and Tesoro: so next time one tries to gas up their car, we suggest looking for the JP Morgan gas station. But by far the most important news is that 80% of the bid are based on a vessel-based distribution, meaning it will be weeks if not months before the SPR disposed crude finally makes it into circulation, if at all, and has an actual supply-side benefit. Complete bid list is attached.

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/bidders-30-million-barrels-strategic-petroleum-reserve-disclosed-jp-morgan-requests-158-mill

Report this
tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, July 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

A taste of current WH officials who support Goldman’s globalist agenda…

OBAMA, BARACK.
Goldman Sachs employees (and they were not the floor cleaners) contributed $994,795 to Obama’s presidential bid, almost four times the amount they gave to his Republican opponent, according to OpenSecrets. Over Obama’s entire career, Goldman has been his second biggest contributor, according to OpenSecrets, giving him more than $1,051,000. Goldman not only wanted Obama to win, they paid lots of money to insure that their man would occupy the White House.

BIDEN, JOE.
Goldman has been a major campaign contributor to Biden and according to OpenSecrets, Biden in 2007 alone took almost $25,000 from the Robert Rubin related Citigroup (Rubin was its head as well as being a former head of Goldman). And guess who was the keynote speaker at the Hamilton Project 2010 kickoff event a few days ago (April 20th, 2010)?

ALTMAN, ROGER.
Interestingly, the man who introduced Joe Biden at the Hamilton Project’s relaunch (described above) was none other than Roger Altman, who is connected to the Hamilton Project. Altman is a co-author, along with Robert Rubin, of the Hamilton Project’s “From Recession to Recovery to Renewal: An Economic Strategy to Achieve Broadly Shared Growth.”

BRAINARD, LAEL.
Brainard is the United States Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in the administration of President Barack Obama. She is an associate and protege of Mr. Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin. She has written numerous articles and bookson the joys of outsourcing work overseas.

BUFFETT, WARREN.
Speaking of big fish, Warren doesn’t need to work for the US government or for Goldman. But he’s invested billions in Goldman expecting even greater returns. Obama has also admitted in the debates to “pal’in around” with the Sage of Omaha and Buffett is one of Obama’s fundraisers and economic advisers.

CLINTON, HILLARY.
Although Barack Obama was the overwhelming favorite of Goldman Sachs to be president in 2008, for he could serve as their Trojan Horse, they were smart enough to hedge their bets, so to speak and back Hillary too. According to the Washington Examiner, Goldman Sachs in 2008 alone gave:($415,595.63 inflation adjusted), which was itself almost three times as much as Bush received as well. And of course, it was Hillary’s hubby Bill Clinton who chose ex-Goldman chief Robert Rubin to serve in his White House. Bill, Hillary and Bob Rubin are Washington, D.C. kissing cousins.

Report this
tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, July 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Robert, please try to catch up… And this article was downright dishonest.

1. You are confusing multi-national corporations, which we have no say over, with American corporations, which the globalists are trying to put out of business. Everyone else gets it, why can’t you?

2. Obama is a globalist. Never was anything else. Oh, and a Goldman-Sachs agent.

The best way to understand how deeply Obama is involved with the globalist, big bank agenda, and Goldman, is to read about his involvement and support for the Hamilton Project. Their objectives are:

1) entitlements must be cut, including Social Security;
2) more jobs must be outsourced overseas;
3) more NAFTA-type agreements must be drafted and entered into;
4) strict budgetary policies must be applied to entitlements and especially health care “reform” (whereas the defense department is skirted).

One only has to look at the Hamilton Project, at Obama’s speech to that group in April, 2006, and the numerous articles and books that they have peddled to see that their outlook is overwhelmingly corporatist and pro-big business. It is, then, anti-progressive not liberal and certainly not progressive.

Here is an informative story by Firedoglake, on Obama’s connections

(http://my.firedoglake.com/fflambeau/2010/04/27/a-list-of-goldman-sachs-people-in-the-obama-government-names-attached-to-the-giant-squids-tentacles/)

Report this
tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, July 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

I’m having a hard time posting with weird errors, just testing this time.

Report this
politicky's avatar

By politicky, July 8, 2011 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Republicans:
1. Defund and infiltrate regulatory agencies with corporate tools
2. Complain that big gubmint don’t work
3. Rinse and repeat

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 8, 2011 at 4:48 am Link to this comment

Layfayette,  Please render additional comment/opinion?  Thank You.

“......PotUS is being used as a lightning rod for all the ills…..at the root of most of our evils is the American Voter—who time and time again refuses to understand the intricacies of politics”

Assembling coherent and consistent political support is the goal in this era of noise.  Not only the noise you mention in the blogosphere, but hundreds of cable chanells of pure crap, radio and print dominated by the accepted left or right views. 

Do you think the American Voter can, given the decades of various cultural conditioning’s, be ‘depolarized’, or united behind a serious effort to set things straight?  There is a lot of brand loyalty to overcome.  I mean that in a broad sense.  naturally the R & D brands, but many, many other ‘identity groups’.  Even if we go through hell, will people wake up as to the importance of common purpose?  The common good?

Can new core constituencies be awakened and assembled by today’s new ‘viral’ phenomenon?

Report this
LocalHero's avatar

By LocalHero, July 8, 2011 at 2:16 am Link to this comment

“Free trade, piracy, war - an inseparable three!” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, July 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment

MCRN: The point is that there is an attempt to silence and squelch voices of dissent on the “progressive” blog spaces.

Depends upon what you have to say and how you say it.

It is difficult enough to separate the chaff from the wheat on any forum. There is a lot of “woe is we” victimization, particularly from the Looney Left. (The Rabid Right does not post here, fortunately, and they do the same.)

But if one is scurrilous in their posting, there’s a line to be drawn. Americans have very week anti-defamation laws ... so they have, on blogs, little understanding of the fact that “freedom of speech is NOT the right to say just anything”.

It is getting Very Tiresome to see how the PotUS is being used as a lightning rod for all the ills the Looney Left can conceive. Because at the root of most of our evils is the American Voter—who time and time again refuses to understand the intricacies of politics, but remain Very Prepared to rail against some supposed injustice.

Public forums are supposed to help understand the intricacies of politics, not add to the complexity and misunderstanding. Unfortunately, many are far from achieving that result.

It seems, often, blog-posters don’t want the facts. They just wanna bitch-in-a-blog. Their purpose is personal catharsis, when what they need is a psych.

The truth is neither entirely on the Right nor entirely on the Left, but usually somewhere in between.

Report this

By Michael Cavlan RN, July 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment

Napolean

Cheers to you.
Man, do the Dem/Obama/Palin/Repub apologists get real old, real quick.

But they are still allowed to have stories on the prog/conservative blog sites.

Koch Brothers on one side and George Soros and Goldman Sachs on the other

Divide and Conquor

Report this
Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, July 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

Cheers Michael wink

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

Exactly archivesDave, that is the spirit!  Yes, who are the
puppetmasters?  Cant really battle ghosts and as long as they
are kept as faceless abstractions such as Goldman Sach, the
Federal Rserve, IMF, etc, we are kept at baying at the moon, and
kept at bay in firing wounding missiles of logic.

Sheer might be preaching to the choir but the choir needs better
articulation.  Nothing wrong in that. I disagree that the far religious
and libertarian right is the dominant political philosophy.  You are
listening to the MSM too much.  Listen to the heartbeat of ordinary
Americans.  You are right, though, the middle class is being destroyed
and it is up to us to stop it.  What are you willing to do about it? 

PRGP – is hope all we have?

anarcissie’s xyz solution is a good calisthenic!
1. The only “progress” that can be made by ordinary Americans is to
stop the Republicans in their intentional track to decimate all the
middle class social programs, so I would like to see them obstructed.
2. In order to bring about #1, I am bringing to consciousness to as
many people as I can, the Republican overt and insidious actions to
bring about the decimation of the middle class social programs.  And I
am supporting proggie projects and protest actions with personal
written protests, joining protest groups, and monetary donations all
over the country to such proggie group efforts.
3.  Thus far, the results are some success in Wisconsin, forcing Obama
to start standing up straight (though a lot more work is needed in this
department, and it might be PITW).  Glenn Beck blames his demise on
the “propaganda of the progressives movement.’ I guess that is
something.  Public workers in Ohio can also celebrate the repeal of the
anti-collective bargaining bill.  Of course there is a plethora of
successes but I’ve little time to list them.  Surely there are others who
are conscious here that can!

It has been suggested that a small fee be charged for every single Wall
Street financial transaction, a fee so small that it is hardly noticeable,
but that the sheer number of such transactions are so enormous that
these small fees add up to more than would pay off the national debt
and keep the much needed social programs!  A way to raise revenue
without raising taxes.  Isn’t it interesting?

Regulations?  Because it is one of the effective ways to curb excessive
corruption. Rather insipid to compare with celebrity worship, is that all
you can come up with?  And it is a lot more abstract because of so
much that need regulated.  What is a self-styled liberal or progressive
anyway?  Another facile statement that has no real meaning.

Could integrity become the new buzz word?

Bernie Sanders is the only politician in Washington with INTEGRITY and
political x-ray vision.

”The people have a god given right to take back their country” and
which god is it that gives such a right?  There are only about 4000 of
them.  Need to sort out to whom it is most propitious to pray to.

Felicity and anaman51, you have a comrade here.  The people will have
to be informed of their duty to stop the bloodletting by the Republicans. 
Are you doing your part?

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, July 7, 2011 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

I find Robert Sheers article a clear synopses of the Plutocrat economic circle jerk.

Whining about whining, the whoa is me routine seems a bit prissy folks.

Report this
IcanDealwithHippiesbutThisGuy?'s avatar

By IcanDealwithHippiesbutThisGuy?, July 7, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

The internet is fractured?! Huff Post just another
CNN?!!
Who needs opposition when folks can just stab each
other in the back!?
This is about the only place, next to fark.com I even
search for any type of news. Please stay grounded. 
Politics are dead folks, we all know it. There’s
absolutely no sense to gang up on one side or the
other.
I would only hope that the readily exchange of
information and ideas stays alive on TruthDig - we are
all here for information and understanding.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV6akyVep-Y
Perfect bladder pill Bwuhahahahaha

Report this

By Michael Cavlan RN, July 7, 2011 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

Napolean

I hear you Brother/Sister.

I have been banned from posting on Common Dreams, TruthOut, Op Ed News (along with the former managing co-editor Rady Ananda and 40 other regular posters) for daring to challenge the status quo.

Daily KOS is a sick, pathetic joke and Huffington Post is even worse. Huff Post also has a cyber picket line which I refuse to cross.

The point is that I have become convinced that there was a systemic and organized attempt to squelch voices of dissent in the “progressive” blog spaces in the run up to <s>elections.

The only blogs I visit now is Firedoglake and this site. Although I absolutely recognize the ability of this site to do so.

Hell they did ban me without warning and I contacted them repeatedly to be “allowed” to post. I was only “allowed” back after I included a host of other well known progressive leaders that I know (including Kevin Zeese) in the e mail request.

Who knows how many people have been silenced that we do not know about?

The point is that there is an attempt to silence and squelch voices of dissent on the “progressive” blog spaces.

To quote George Carlin, the “Real Owners of This Country” do not want us informed and empowered.

Information is power my friend. We will find a way.

The truth is like that.

Report this
Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, July 7, 2011 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

Michael Cavlan RN, I was restricted for 3 months from posting on this rag of a website for calling out Scheer the Shill and showing the dubiousness of this site’s authors and keepers of the status quo… while supposedly allowing for freedom of speech and clear discourse of differing ideas and views.

God sees, and that is good enough for me.

Report this

By Michael Cavlan RN, July 7, 2011 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

Speaking of money in politics, Goldman Sachs etc.

On Common Dreams, another poster (a young woman) and myself were having a discussion. It was about how Common Dreams seemed to allow almost ONLY Democratic Party shill articles.

We talked (in the comments section) about how the Koch Brothers were controlling the Tea Party Movement. Allowing only Republicans to speak. We then noted how Common Dreams seemed to allow only Dem apologist articles.

She asked if maybe Common Dreams had an “invisible donor” problem. I agreed.. I wondered aloud if it could be George Soros. I mentioned that George Soros and Goldman Sachs had made massive amounts of cash from the foreclosure crisis that hit this nations working people. Both had also been major CONtributors to president Obama and the Democratic Party.

At this point, with in about 30 minutes of that post, I was not allowed to post comments. All traces of the entire conversation was deleted from Common Dreams.

Her posts were never seen again as well. She was apparently banned as well. There was no warnings at all on this..

The only ones allowed stories on many “progressive” sites are those that push the Kabuki Theatre of the absurd. Of the pseudo opposition of the corporate CONtrolled, pretend opposition two party system.

Just a thought.

Speaking of CONS and such.

True story

Report this

By Light, July 7, 2011 at 9:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In 2001 I interviewed a former Seattle cop. It helped me to comprehend
exactly who our government is when he said, “All governments are
criminal networks, each with its own style.” Once an American citizen
realizes that he or she is a mere cog in the American crime family
machine, it all starts to make sense. An American citizen can choose
to trust the American crime family, to extreme or some or to no extent…
on the 0-to-10 scale, where zero is Trust Factor Zero and ten is True
Believer. Regarding the American government, I am below 2. It helped
when at last I came to understand that our beloved capitalism is a
looting operation: Wall Street, the US Treasury, banking and credit.
I’m not saying that America is rotten to the core, I’m saying that
America is rotten at the top. There is no one at the top but the
corrupted soul, the criminal mind. History: read it and weep.

Report this
Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, July 7, 2011 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

To find out what so many ignore or are ignorant of, go here:

http://SmartPeopleSmartMoney.com

Otherwise, you may actually believe greed and selfishness does NOT motivate the hired hands who say they represent you, who say they work for you and who say they made those bad calls for you.

Report this
racetoinfinity's avatar

By racetoinfinity, July 7, 2011 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

Great column with great killer ending paragraph!

Report this

By TAO Walker, July 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

The essential nature of anything is discernible in its actual effects on our Whole
Living Arrangement.  Actual motives and purposes are discernible in actual
methods and behavior.  There is no “truth-in-advertising” whatsoever. 
 
In its actual effects on Earth’s Living Arrangement, “civilization” presents here as
a disease process.  In their methods and behavior, the wannabe “ruling class”
(and their “self”-serving sycophants) reveal their intention (and their “HOPE!”) to
be among the last ‘ones’ still afloat in what they know full-well is an irreversibly
shrinking and unstoppably sinking eCONomy.  Keeping the muddled masses
blissfully ignorant of that Natural Fact, to prevent a catastrophic ‘run’ on what’s
left of the damned (and doomed) thing, by panicked hordes of ‘commoners,’
meanwhile pushing as many as possible ‘overboard’ without arousing too much
ACTIVE suspicion, is perhaps the main focus of all their efforts here in these
latter Days.

“Redwood Guy,” along with several participants here, is certainly moving in The
Good Direction, however, in their response to this ‘dynamic’....toward Genuine
Living Human Community, the Natural Organic Form of Humanity (just as the
Flock is that of Free Wild Geese, the Pack of Wolf, the Herd of Buffalo, the Hive
of HoneyBee, the School of Salmon, and so-on)....Natural Persons ORGANized
to fulfill our given Organic Function in Her Living Arrangement as a component
in Her immune system.  The Medicine to heal us ALL of the effects of the
“civilization” disease is active and ‘working.’  That among The Medicine’s own
effects is the complete dis-integration of the thing’s ‘operating-system’ (the
eCONomy), is only natural….as is the abject and paralyzing terror this break-up
arouses in those who don’t remember, yet, that they do know how to SWIM!

So it begins to look like Robert Scheer here, along with ‘others’ who keep trying
to divert precious attention away-from the actual macro-and-micro-biological
CHANGES being rung by Earth Herownself (as She shakes-off the wannabe
parasitical, and would-be terminal, process of the tormenting retro-viral
‘entity’) back into, instead, the DEAD END maze of make-believe CONceit that
IS the virtual world-o’-hurt, are all falling for the oldest CON in The
Book….“Sleep with ME, Baby, and I will make you a god.”  They appear to be
throwing in their ‘lot’ with the disseminators of disinformation who mean to
save their “self” at whatever cost to everything and everybody ‘else.’  The up-
to-now-undead Thing, though, is….well, dead!

Long Live Life Herownself!

HokaHey!

Report this

By gerard, July 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

omygodnotagain:  In answer to your question—They are thoroughly discredited (by a violent media) as “flower children” and “pot-heads.”  Anything to avoid consideration ot alternative ideas or anything less than manic flexing of militant muscle.  Otherwise how would the MIC keep their wars going?

What is going to be required this time to turn things around is a lot of hard-headed organization and planning—practical, requiring a maximum of both self- and social- awareness, and a hard-headed restraint of knee-jerk reactions.

I notice in a recent article that the Palestinians are getting criticism for not being more aggressive, for relying too much on “western” notions of nonviolence.  This tiny abused population should go up against the Israeli Defense Forces with violence and get slaughtered?  Give me a break!  The only thing that will work for them is complete and utter self-composure and—most important of all—maintaining the “moral high ground” and demanding and increasing the support of all the rest of the world to send in sustenance and encouragement and to STOP feeding the Israel government the supplies that enable it to oppress its victims. Plus within Israel in every way possible to intervene by strengthening those institutions that oppose their government’s policies and actions. How much support do we send Yesh G’vul, for example, compared to the tons of weaponry from the U.S.?  We have a lot of work to do that we are not doing.  Talk is cheap.

Report this
IcanDealwithHippiesbutThisGuy?'s avatar

By IcanDealwithHippiesbutThisGuy?, July 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

Violence would just breed more of it - never a good thing. Plenty of redneck fantasies would come true down here in hell I mean Louisiana.

I guess all this reaches a point of if you are going to be a happy serf or an angry serf? Blame yourself or them - or both? Obviously cutting off the head of the issue is not working, so we must go for the root I suppose. The corporations. Which is almost impossible here because of all the oil and gas money blowing around - which is just being wasted at Casinos, gas pumps, ivory towers, keeping up with the Jones’ etc etc. This keeps the money in cycle with their friends and business partners, and away from any other avenues. Oil = everything to modern America. Especially here.
RedWoodGuy has a pretty good plan - it is truly the inevitability of our society to remold to each other again. A strong community taking care of one another - with the nobles and their dirt-farmers in the suburbs.

1.  I would like to see true progress and freedom.

2.  In order to bring about progress and freedom, I am abstaining from utilizing my abilities to corporate monopolies advantages and simply asking people questions, moreorless making them think a little.

3.  Thus far, the results are ostracization.

Report this

By Textynn, July 6, 2011 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

yet, while we know every word of this article is true our so called elected representatives will vote to take a chunk of SS and Medicare and schools, etc. that Americans depend on and paid for and reward tax cuts and loop holes and Nafta to the uber masters. 

It is Americans that are the most productive society in the world and look how we are being treated. We are told we are entitlement babies while we work for meager wages and struggle and die without health care no better off then cave men.

MY point being, no matter how obviously sick and sociopathic our leaders are, nothing changes.  What is right and just is no longer an argument.  Our leaders have no shame. People talk of blood shed of millions and the sociopath looks straight into the camera and says, “SO”.  There is no reasoning with a sociopath. There is nothing that will bring mercy or shame.

The question is, What does a society do when it is controlled by sociopaths?  What are we going to do?  We need a plan and it is not going to be fulfilled by a controlled election that may or may not even actually be real in any true sense.

Obama belongs to the same Goldman Sachs that is embracing the tea scum.  A party that was bought and paid for and shoved out on stage like a corporate commodity like Britney Spears.

The are giving our police forces tanks and machine guns. They know they are abusing us.  We are like the people in the Mayan culture who will be lined up for execution as part of a norm.  Will we just line up at the alter as we are told?  Our elderly are already being lined up and before them the medically disenfranchised.

These are tragic times and our society is no less brutal than the Mayan. No, that is who we are now and it is getting ready to get worse. Hence the tanks and machine guns.

Report this

By omygodnotagain, July 6, 2011 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

Aren’t there any rich people who have a social conscience. What happened to the granola crowd who made big bucks, the Ben and Jerry types. Are they still smoking spliffs watching Old Cheek and Chong movies. Where are the guys who made out in Silicon Valley, the Steve Wosniaks, where are the Love Generation that was going to change the world.

Report this

By Laurence Tribe, July 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I find it interesting,Scheer,that when taking on Big Government you seldom if ever mention the real movers and shakers: the Federal Reserve bankers that control our economy and therefore represent a silent power and authority never held responsible for the mess this nation is in. Obviously, our politicians permit a private corporation to own our currency (since December, 1913) and are either powerless to control The Fed or are in bed with it and the other world bankers.

Report this

By Hajja Romi, July 6, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As global warming proceeds unchecked, and our oceans die, life on this planet will
become more and more unpleasant.  Depleted uranium and decreasing global food
supplies will cause the deaths of millions.  The rich will seek to escape the fates of
the rest of humanity, suffering as nuclear power plants degrade and spew
radiation into an already polluted environment.
The poor will die off, and eventually the rich will the the only survivors on a
polluted, radioactive planet.  How unpleasant life will be for them!  Perhaps it will
be their just desserts!  They may seek to escape by funding travel to other planets,
but I think that it will take too long to find a place suitable for large numbers of
the rich to escape this crowded Earth, and they will suffer by watching life die off
here on Earth, ending with their own extinction.

Report this

By gerard, July 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

Anarchissie:  A good way to check up.

I would like to see ways used to solve problemx without the use of violence. I think war is a rapidly self-defeating institution, dying of its own accord. Something better needs to take its place.

I’m too old to be physically active as I would like, so I write on TD and other places (occasionally published) about what non-violent action is, why it is necessary, how it has been effective. and what are its fundamental principles and processes.

Results:  Those who have heard of it before appreciate hearing more.  Those who are committed to violence as a way of life either ignore it or scorn it.  A few people have added something—constructive criticism or creative encouragement—to whatever is initiated.  Is it “successful”?  I have no idea, but I have a moderate amount of evidence, and faith based on that evidence, that nonviolent strategies and tactics are much more widely known and many more people are actively engaged in nonviolent resistance than a year ago.I plan to continue, partly because I cannot do otherwise, due to physical limitations.

Report this

By litlpeep, July 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

In another article, “The Way Away From a Second Term,” Frank Rich is quoted liberally now painting Obama as a victim of Obama’s own hapless presidential image maintenance, which is accurate, except for the hapless part.

“Obama regulators [have] managed to delay even the minor controls that the Dodd-Frank law requires for the still wildly out-of-control $600 trillion derivatives market.”

Obama is plenty hapless.  But in his relations with Wall Street, Obama is in his zone, ‘successfully’ doing Wall Street’s bidding “with all deliberate speed.”  This is not mere image.  It is substance.  It is the substance of how Obama presidency is Obama’s victim, and the nation’s economy is also his victim.

Thank you, Mr. Sheer, for this excellent article.

Report this
flaco's avatar

By flaco, July 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

@ RedwoodGuy

You are on the right track. Other wise we would have to go out there and violently reprimand the crooks.

Report this
anaman51's avatar

By anaman51, July 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Felicity, you are painfully correct. The only thing that bothers me more than the willingness of the conservatives to cut the throats of the helpless poor is the willingness of the ordinary American to let them. Personal disaster doesn’t seem to matter unless it’s happening to you, and as everyone knows, bad things only happen to others. Ask any young, healthy American how they feel about caring for the elderly and disabled, and they’ll tell you with a straight face that it has nothing to do with them. They actually believe they’ll never get old or sick, or hurt. They have no empathy for the unfortunate, and sincerely believe they’ll never become one—-then real life arrives. I have to wonder how a conservative voter feels when it happens to them, and they discover for themselves that they just qualified to be forgotten, and will be thrown away just like all the rest of the “useless eaters.”

Report this
anaman51's avatar

By anaman51, July 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

They would fancy themselves as America’s royalty, as the rightful inheritors of great good fortune. The wealthy in America have been lionized by the media for as long as the media have existed; we see them portrayed as the heroes in our television shows and movies. They are always immaculately dressed, sparkling clean, ensconsed in fabulous surroundings and driving an expensive foreign car. They never seem to go to the bathroom, or get too drunk, or get stood up by their date, or have a bad hair day. We are told they are the perfect Americans, with honor and decency foremost in their thinking. They spend the hour of programming saving lesser beings from terrible fates, and they are shown as our heroes.

It’s all a huge lie, of course. The profoundly wealthy could not care less about the rest of us, unless it’s as a source of income. One more thing—-they have every intention of maintaining this ugly, greedy status quo for as long as they are able, ignoring the suffering of their fellow human beings as best they can as they live out their days in graceful luxury, unable to hear the cries of the sick and hungry outside their protective walls. Free Market Greed is killing America as fast as it can, using good old money as the motivating force. The working poor are up to their necks in debt they can’t pay, and are physically killing themselves in the effort. The wealthy don’t care—-there will always be an endless supply of animated meat to work in their factories, as long as the boot of the almighty rich remains on the neck of the poor working man. I can only hope that one day the working man seizes the reins of power and brings the ugly wealthy Americans crashing to the earth. It can only happen when the workers realize how much power they have, and that the numbers are on their side.

Report this
Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, July 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

prisnersdilema: The people have a god given right to take back their country, and seek retribution against,  those traitors and their paid agents and all those greedy pigs that have sold out
their country. </b>

Good sentiment, but I would alter a few words above:

<i>The people have a DUTY to take back their country, and seek JUSTICE FROM those traitors and their paid agents and all those greedy pigs that have sold out their country.

That’s how Pre-Incorporated Americans would have said it, I think.

And for the record, God didn’t give anyone that right. The “old” law of the land did. You all remember the old law don’t you - a human constructed mechanism for rendering justice, now replaced by Robert’s Rules of Order.

Report this
prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, July 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

Once upon a time a long time ago, our government was founded by some men and
some women, who bellieved that freedom was worth sacrifice, and that all of us had
unaliienable rights to life, liberty, and above all else freedom.

Then along came some greedy,pigs who perverted that dream, for their own personal
gain. They were able to bribe, the government, and found traitorous politicians, who
were willing to sell out their countrymen.

Now they have set up a plutocratic regime that routinely murders it’s own citizens,
poisons children, and has built itself a thrown of lies.

The people have a god given right to take back their country, and seek retribution
against,  those traitors and their paid agents and all those greedy pigs that have sold out
their country.

Report this

By Jim Pharo, July 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

I don’t understand why no one makes the connection between the ocean of un-
and under-invested wealth and the too-low corporate tax rate.  A salutary effect
of a suitably high level of taxation on corporations and wealthy individuals is to
provide incentive to plow those excess revenues into something less distasteful
than taxes—say, new plants, riskier ventures, etc.

We suffer from a widespread and systematic aversion to risk, and a too-low tax
rate doesn’t help…

Report this

By felicity, July 6, 2011 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Bernie Sanders pretty well wrapped up today’s
Republican platform - balance the budget on the backs
of the sick, the elderly and children. 

The average American woman, 65 and older, has an
income of $14,000/year.  Were the Ryan vouchered
health-care plan to go into effect, it’s been
concluded that her ‘voucher’ would not cover the
medical care she will need in any given year. 
Turning to the health-insurance consortia, no longer
having medicare, her cost for health insurance would
probably run about $1,000/month.

What does trying to stay alive on $2,000/year say to
the average, elderly American woman but die, bitch.

Report this
John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 6, 2011 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

kulu comments: “....... try to get candidates nominated and voted into the Senate or Congress who can be trusted not to take the bribes so freely .....Pour all efforts into a few such candidates.”

I’ve proposed before that a non-profit might develop a legally binding contract which controls the fund-raising and other habits of ‘their’ politicians.  With such a contract published for all the public to see, it might be become the new norm for politicians.  Perhaps it would begin to raise the bar for integrity. 

My preference would be to also include verbiage that limits salaries/benefits and total annual income from any source, including family members, to no more than the average of the geographical region they represent.  Similarly, I would limit all medical and pension benefits for life to exactly that which the general population is entitled: social security and medicare.  No more than that.  In this way, their focus is on improving the general case.  Penalize the hell out of any and all ‘nest feathering’ that comes at any conflict of interest or expense to the general good.

The basic approach could be taken for a political party, if said party was serious about improving the general integrity of it’s candidates.

Report this

By Michael Cavlan RN, July 6, 2011 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

The biggest campaign contributor to president Obama was….........

GOLDMAN SACHS
Could someone tell Robert Scheer and the other liberals that.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 6, 2011 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

Correspondingly, why do so many self-styled liberals and progressives believe that the answer to every problem and deficiency of our society lies in government and bureaucratic regulation of the existing system?  It seems analogous to worship of celebrities and the rich, except it’s a little bit more abstract.

Report this

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Zuade Kaufman, Publisher   Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook