Our economy should work for us.
You wouldn't know it by looking at your bank account, but our GDP growth rate was 2.8% in the third quarter of 2013. That's much higher than the long-term rate of 2%, but average Americans won't see any benefit from better growth. The latest figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that our nation is recovering from the 2008 recession, but all of that growth is going straight into the pockets of the corporate elite. Executive salaries and bonuses have exploded in recent years, and corporate profits are higher than they've ever been. But, average wages remain stagnant, and median incomes are actually lower than they were in 2007.
The Right claims that our national debt is stifling economic growth, but that's nothing more than a talking point meant to hide the fact that corporate greed is the reason paychecks haven't gotten any higher. Growth is not the problem in our nation, and it's not the reason that Americans haven't gotten a real raise since Reagan. The real problems are income inequality, and the Right perpetuating economic myths. Over the past 32 years, the rich have convinced us that the purpose of our economy is to generate corporate profits, rather than serve the people who depend on it.
As it stands now, our economy is working great for those at the top, and it's preventing the rest of us from benefiting in any growth. All around our nation, people are starting to wake up to the fact that we need to change this. From WalMart strikers to fast-food workers to transit employees, people are speaking out against corporate greed. By standing together, Americans are realizing that we have the power to change things, and we have the power to create an economy that works for us.
Loren Bliss ~ I can't say I disagree with your assertion that Thom Hartmann "toadies" to the Administration in obvious ways. However, I can assure you that I have never witnessed him extending that tendency to stifle discussion on this blog. That being said, I agree that he does slant his show in favor of the President and I also agree that it can be quite annoying. I have always imagined that he probably does it out of a higher understanding of the issues, because of his natural optimism, and in order to cater to his sponsors. I guess it could be called the "necessary evil" that enables this blog to exist. In that light, I tolerate it. Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little.
Mr. Bliss, I see what you mean, how Thom Hartmann characterizes the ACA and its origin. As Thom describes it, you'd think the ACA was a robust, honest effort of Obama's to "curb" the evils of for-profit healthcare "insurance". Yeah right. I too am at odds with that interpretation.
Months before Obama was first elected, while he was still running for office, the Hightower Lowdown had an article describing in detail the amount of money the health insurance industry had poured into his campaign. This caught my attention at the time. I vividly recall not having a good feeling about it.
I want you to understand, Mr. Bliss, that I am no Obama fan. Yes I voted for him twice, but not with any real enthusiasm; only because I felt trapped into voting the lesser evil, in this rigged two-party system we have. I've had many serious issues with Obama and do not trust him as our president. I do not share Thom's apparent faith in Obama's motives behind the ACA.
To illustrate my point, I'll never forget this video clip we watched on Democracy Now, during the heat of that 2009 healthcare debate. It showed Obama's speech where he attempted to justify establishing ACA instead of universal single-payer. Here was our "yes-we-can" president preaching all this jive shit like "We can't tear it down and start over from scratch!" and blah-blah-blah... as if expanding Medicare to cover everybody, cradle to grave, was somehow equivalent to reinventing the wheel. President Obama must have known full well that expanding an already existing tax-supported system would hardly be "starting from scratch"! (Or however he worded it at the time.)
But what really stands out in my memory of this interlude was Obama's body language, which in this case I observed in his facial expression throughout that speech. It's a certain slack-jawed look people get when they're jiving you. It can be quite subtle. Yet to me it is so obvious, as it was in this instance. As I watched the president giving that speech I remember thinking, "You bastard!" Of course, after that Lowdown article, I wasn't exactly shocked. But it sure was a disgusting thing to watch. "Yes we can" had morphed into "No we can't", and it was nothing but horse shit. It certainly failed to convince me that this president was on our side, that he really believed people's health should trump the interests of private profit in his policy decisions. Looking at this man's face right then, I saw right through the facade. What I saw was the face of a bullshitter (or "betrayer", as you'd prefer it said).
I'll never forget the facial expression of another black man, younger and darker than the president, sitting in the audience's front row just a few feet from where Obama stood. Throughout that lame-ass speech, he looked so bewildered. Oh if only I'd been there with a camera! It was priceless. Looked like he could hardly believe the bull crap spewing out of Obama's mouth. I'd say the odds are, this young man voted for him too.
To me, it was disappointing but hardly an ah-ha moment, observing all this. Given Obama's track record, I'd have been more surprised had the president showed some spine and stood up to the insurance "industry" in our behalf. No such luck. So here we are stuck with the ACA instead of single payer, due (at least in part) to the fact that our "yes-we-can" president was already bought'n paid for by the health insurance industry... before he was even elected!
I get that, Lauren. Barak the betrayer.
I agree, Mr. Hartmann cuts Obama more slack than you or I, in his judgment of him as well as the ACA. Still, I think it's taking quite a leap to then conclude from this that Thom is a "toadie" for Obama. Here is where our points of view diverge. I can't judge Thom H. so harshly for this oversight as you do. And far as the question of "royalist" versus "capitalist" is concerned, it's a non-issue, simply a matter of terminology. They both mean the same thing, referencing the elite robber barrons. Roosevelt used the term "Royalist" and not to his discredit. He must have been doing something right because the corporate fascists planned a coup against him... which, fortunately for our parents and grandparents, never came to fruition. Anyway that, and not the American Revolution, is what the term "royalist" brings to mind, for me at least.
As for Thom's article, most of it rings true; again, at least for me it does. Under that emboldened heading "Fox News Gets In The Game", Thom does an excellent job identifying, describing and analyzing those relentlessly insidious word games, played by corporate fascists to a gullible audience of low-information media consumers to get them up in arms against the public option. Made me crazy, just those glimpses we got on Democracy Now back then. Anyway under the aforementioned heading, Thom highlights how craftily designed the corporate media's messages were; how they took bits & pieces of reality - like death panels, which are real, and that labyrinth of bureaucracy, just as real, that everyone fears and hates - and in their propaganda, turned it around to sound as though healthcare reformists somehow invented these evil rotten tactics; the very abuses the public suffers from now, a direct consequence of the monopoly these parasites have on our healthcare system! Even with no basis in logic, such lies are not a hard sell on those fed a steady diet of craftily designed corporate drivel. Thom does a beautiful job pointing out tactics used by the corporate fascist noise machine to distract & placate the public, handily misleading an audience largely comprised of a citizenry so ignorant, so utterly brainwashed, one need only replace the word "public" with the word "government" to get them to reject something they could otherwise have supported. I saw it with my own eyes and knew what these master manipulators were up to. It was exactly as Thom describes it. I vividly recall how crazy-making it was, witnessing all that.
There's one other thing I would change, other than Thom's general take on the ACA. I wish he would avoid referring to people as "consumers" in the context of healthcare. That's the language of corporatists who want us all getting used to viewing healthcare as a business, rather than as a public service, a necessity that belongs in the commons. As Thom himself points out, in that same article, there's much power of influence to be had just in one's choice of words.
As to the reality about the ACA, we can at least take heart that some people get it. For example, the very first post to appear in the blog following Thom's article, which reads as follows: "Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but hadn't Obama already made a backdoor behind-the-scenes deal with the health insurance industry not to include a public option, all the while leaving Nancy Pelosi swinging in the wind when she declared a public option to be an essential part of the health care bill?" Uh-huh.
Sorry to have gone at such length. I get carried away at times. With you it's easy, as it is with anyone who makes me think. Been fun swapping notes with you. - Aliceinwonderland
Alice...No need to apologize for "such length" when it's as thought-provoking as your posts invariably are.
Your point about Mr. Hartmann's explorations of the psycholinguistic manipulation used against ACA is a good one. But because those disclosures appear in the context of a far greater Big Lie -- specifically the concealment of how Obama betrayed supporters of the public option -- they merely identify Mr. Hartmann's piece as the very best, most skillful sort of propaganda, which acquires its potency by including large elements of truth. While I knew Mr. Hartmann was certainly more favorable toward the president than I am -- I often refer to the presidential shape-shift as a transition "from Obama the Orator to Barack the Betrayer" -- I was frankly shocked by the ACA article. It was only after I read it a second time (to make certain I had not somehow misunderstood) that it occurred to me to describe it as "toadying."
Nevertheless, however one chooses to describe its flagrant untruthfulness, I think its greater significance is as the opening gun of the 2014 congressional election campaign. What it tells us is how that campaign will be waged -- with a combination of brazen lies and total avoidance of the real issue, which is specifically how capitalism, unfettered by the death of the Soviet Union and the co-optation of China, no longer makes any effort to conceal its Ayn Rand savagery. The result -- the total subjugation of the USian people (methodically worsening poverty combined with the equally methodical destruction of the socioeconomic safety net and the imposition of a fascist police state Heinrich Himmler would envy) -- has so terrified and enraged the electorate, they are sure to do what they did in 2010: vote for the Republicans merely in the hope the new devil might be a little better than the old devil. Had the Democrats not turned "change we can believe in" into the biggest Big Lie in USian political history -- had they kept even one of Obama the Orator's three main promises (single payer/public option health insurance; passage of the Employee Free Choice Act; restoration of our constitutional rights) -- 2010 would have been a Democratic landslide instead of a Republican blitzkrieg.
The only way the Democrats could win the 2014 campaign is by proposing resurrection of the New Deal, but their corporate masters will not allow that, so their only alternative is to hide their infinity of betrayals beneath a smokescreen of lies -- precisely the methodology implicit in Mr. Hartmann's ACA piece. Meanwhile the Republicans present themselves as the party of the wrecking ball -- "vote the bastards out." When there is no other alternative, when the only certainty is that life will get infinitely worse no matter who is elected -- the Samson option of pulling down the temple (even on one's own head) becomes profoundly appealing, witness 2010.
Having lived for a long while in rural Washington state, I know the Samson-option logic all too well: "Ain't a nickel's worth of difference between the two parties anymore, which means we're gonna get fucked whoever wins. So we might as well vote Republican. At least they'll let us keep our guns."
To understand such sentiments, one needs to recognize that firearms in the rural U.S. -- where law-enforcement response times can run up to an hour, where the presence of bears and cougars place humans below the top of the food chain, and where one 40-cent .30-'06 round can kill the deer, elk or moose that will keep a family in meat for up to an entire year -- are still vital survival tools. In other words, especially given the Democratic Party's repeated attempts to impose forcible civilian disarmament, the seemingly self-defeating votes of the rural working class for the Republican candidates are in fact votes to retain the ultimate means of survival -- something urban Democrats and other such progressives repeatedly fail to comprehend.
In this context, the only other option is the creation of a truly viable third party -- a socialist party with (A)-a platform that recognizes the concerns of the urban proletariat and the rural peasantry* are all equally valid and (B)-the ability to explain itself with the eloquent simplicity sufficient to mobilize the most maliciously dumbed-down population in human history. But of course the Ruling Class, with its total-surveillance secret-police apparatus, will never allow such a party to come into being. Thus the very best we voters can do is vote for one of the existing third parties merely as an act of protest, recognizing as we vote that if the party had any real potential for success, the Ruling Class would order its destruction forthwith.
Disclosure: I too voted for Obama twice and with the same lesser-of-two-evils rationale. But I now realize the Democratic Party is truly beyond redemption -- that it can never be liberated from its Wall Street captivity. Hence in future presidential elections I will either vote for a third party candidate -- probably Socialist Workers -- or write in "none of the above."
By the way, Alice: "Mr. Bliss" was my father; I'm just plain Loren. That said, thank you for your part in the most energizing Internet discussion I've had in many years; like you, I am delighted when responses require real thinking. Thanks again!
*With the death of family farms and the displacement of tens of thousands of full-time agricultural workers by machinery, there is in fact a new USian peasantry that survives on subsistence agriculture, hunting, fishing, odd jobs, food stamps, etc. I have no idea how large it is, but I can attest to its reality. Whatever the numbers involved, the new peasantry adds to the existing USian peasantry of migrant agricultural workers and First Nations peoples.
Loren, the feeling's mutual. As to your name, Loren it is, from now on.
Namaste. - AIW
Aliceinwonderland and Loren Bliss ~ I don't know if either of you will ever read this; but, I was just overwhelmed with the urge to check back to see if there was anything else happening on this thread; and, I'm so glad I did. Let me just say that between the two of you--post #54 and #55 to be exact--that I believe I've just read the two most helpful, insightful, and informative posts I have ever read on this blog. I must say I agree with every word. Well said! Thank you both. I hope you don't mind if I borrow from those posts in the future. It is so much food for thought; and, quite frankly, has left me quite speechless...
Marc - Aw... gosh dang it, you've literally made me cry! That said, it does seem as though we bring out the best as well as the worst in each other on this blog. - AIW
Thom Hartmann is certainly capable of turning against Barrack Obama and I've seen him do it more than a few times although he always seems to forgive him and come back to a friendly position toward him. Perhaps he has an emotional need to believe in Obama or, more likely, he's aware that Obama and his administration's people do, in fact, listen to him and are influenced by him and his media broadcasts and webcasts and thus he tries to keep a friendly tone to his discourse
The term "royalist", I think, is appropriate for a couple of reasons. The super rich, 1%, capitalist class and their wannabes do, in fact, seem to be trying to return us to a feudal social order. They seek to privatize government and government policy making it, effectively, their own personal property and they are a nation unto themselves, they have no loyalty to America or their nation of origin. Someone of the 1% class, for example is far less likely to socialize with, befriend or marry someone of another class than someone of another natonality or ethnicity. They are returning us to a state where class hegemony is a matter of inherited privilege.
Also, it is better not to use the language of the far left when speaking about the issues. Studies have shown that if you go door to door polling for opinions asking about each item of the socialist agenda separately (national healthcre, labor power, women's equality, etc.) you wil get a very positive response but if you say the word "socialist" it's all over, they don't want any of it. The word "socialist" is so demonized that most people are socialists without realizing it. So keep it mainstream in your verbeage and you'll reach more people.
That's why Thom's program is more worthwhile than some more academically pure media organs. Thom's show actually reaches the blue collar worker and thus is useful for movement building. The academically pure lefty media projects talk some wild lefty shit sometimes or real academic shit and the blue collar worker is put off by that or just doesn't decipher it and then some Bill O'Reilly type who talks their language comes along and they join the Republican Party.
Quote Mark Saulys:Thom Hartmann is certainly capable of turning against Barrack Obama and I've seen him do it more than a few times although he always seems to forgive him and come back to a friendly position toward him. Perhaps he has an emotional need to believe in Obama or, more likely, he's aware that Obama and his administration's people do, in fact, listen to him and are influenced by him and his media broadcasts and webcasts and thus he tries to keep a friendly tone to his discourse
Mark Saulys ~ I think you nailed that one. Bravo! Not only does that describe Thom to a tee it also accurately describes many of us including myself. After all, say what you want about President Obama, he is the only game in town. As such you certainly don't want to completely alienate your only "hope." I understand that Loren would cast all kinds of doubt on that source of hope. I can't say I blame him. His three campaign promises that he reminds us that Obama the Orator promised tend to cut me to the soul everytime I think of them--especially his promise to protect, defend, and restore the Constitution. Let's face it, he didn't just promise that to all of us, he swore an oath to God to do that. Lying to man is one thing, shucking and jiving the Creator is quite another. Yet, I must remind myself--as I'm sure Thom and many others do--that the man still has three years to make good on that promise. Surly I should hold my tongue until he seals his own fate in that matter. As they say, it isn't over until it is over. I'm sure that is the way Thom the optimist sees it. It certainly is the way I see it. If Barack the Betrayer choses to break that contract, so help him God.
As far as the term "Capitalist" versus "Royalist" is concerned I'd like to think of one as an extreme version of the other. Thom has on more than one occasion admitted to being a "Capitalist" himself. I do believe that he believes "Capitalism" and the "free market" to be very benign systems of sustenance. Certainly it is with men like Thom Hartmann running the show. I tend to look at "Capitalism" like a Cancer. When it is kept in check it is something that you can spend a lifetime living with in a relatively symbiotic relationship without any problems. It is when Cancer gets out of check that it becomes destructive to the entire organism and has to be eradicated. It is this out of check Capitalism that I believe deserves the title Royalism. For it is an out of check Capitalist who presumes to be greater than the whole; and, as such, proceeds along a path without regard to the well being of the whole; and, like a malignant Cancer, becomes completely oblivious to the fact that without the health of the whole organism, the entire body--including the Cancer--dies. Therefore, when Capitalism reaches the level of Royalism it should be looked at like a malignant Cancer; and, treated as such.
Mark & Marc, you both make excellent pointa about various factors that could be influencing Thom's public demeanor, as well as his handling & interpreting of the issues. And Loren, if you haven't already, do read posts #60 and #61. To that I would add a suggestion from a previous post of Marc's, that perhaps Thom has a natural optimism which could also be influencing his view regarding President Obama.
Loren, I still think you're way too hard on Thom. While I wholeheartedly agree with your points regarding Thom's take on the ACA, I can't swallow the notion of Thom being another toadie out to mislead the public. Granted, most media personalities would fit that category! But not Thom.
To be honest, guys, I will confess here and now, I have an emotional need to believe in someone like Thom as I percieve him: a public figure devoted to a purpose much larger and greater than himself, whose main motivation isn't financial gain and/or ego gratification. I think I've made a good choice here. Thom Hartmann's contributions to the betterment of the world and humanity are already substantial. And I have learned a lot from him. His blog has enabled us to connect and learn from one another as well.
Viewing Thom's role, relative to the media landscape in general, I see a light in the darkness. There aren't too many of those, especially now. What few there are deserve our encouragement and support, whatever form that takes. In these troubled times they are a desperately needed lifeline, to some semblance of sanity as well as to reality. We shouldn't take them for granted. - Aliceinwonderland
Mark S -- Where did you go to school? That is a wonderful school. I cannot believe that most of the sheeple went to a school like yours.
global -- The derivative (margin or whatever) is of more concern than the value..
Quote Aliceinwonderland: To be honest, guys, I will confess here and now, I have an emotional need to believe in someone like Thom as I percieve him: a public figure devoted to a purpose much larger and greater than himself, whose main motivation isn't financial gain and/or ego gratification. I think I've made a good choice here. Thom Hartmann's contributions to the betterment of the world and humanity are already substantial. And I have learned a lot from him. His blog has enabled us to connect and learn from one another as well.
Aliceinwonderland and Loren Bliss ~ I couldn't agree more with Alice on this one; although, I feel no emotional need to believe in anyone other than myself. Therefore, perhaps my opinion might be somewhat more objective. Thom is known to be an exceptional philanthropist in the extreme. If his work with autistic children, starving Africans, his meetings with the Pope and the Dali Lama mean nothing to you, I suggest you read any of his plethora of prolific sociological, historic, scientific and philosophical books he's written for the cause. Surly prolific writings on our current socioeconomic and political paradigm resonates with the venerable Loren Bliss. I'm sure that he above all people must realize and appreciate the fact that profit alone does not motivate or inspire the type of vast contributions to society that Thom Hartmann, or Loren himself, have made in their lifetime. Certainly it does nothing to motivate the vast charitable contributions that Thom has and continues to make. Toadyism is the result of selfish and monetary motivations and ambitions that override philanthropic ones. As a noted humanitarian yourself Loren you should realize that more than anyone else. If you are indeed capable of seriously thinking that Thom Hartmann is a toady for anyone, then I might suggest that you don't know him very well. To know him well is to know better. With all due respect Loren you should be able to see that, because, as the saying goes, it takes one to know one.
Global -- Isn't Wikipedia the worst resource on earth? Thom speaks of his tour of the Heritage Foundation and that every computer screen (around 25 in a work area) had the wikipedia page displayed. I assume the workers at the foundation were modifying Wikipedia as fast as they could to make the 1% proclamations seem reasonable. Is this not the site where they had Paul Revere riding for the British after Sarah P said it?
Dan -- For me this is one of your best blogs.
AIW -- Thom is on Free Speech TV and for a while the only source for Thom in LA
chuckle8 ~ Thank you. I have immensely enjoyed it. If you're only on #33 you have a long way to go. There are great contributions by everyone on this blog. You ain't heard nothin yet. Enjoy!
Marc, let me clarify this "emotional need" mentioned in my previous post. A hunger for realness, for substance, is all it is. Gettin' harder to come by. - AIW
Aliceinwonderland ~ A longing for realness and substance is something that we both share; and, I doubt we are alone. I'm not sure if I would call that an "emotional need" or a "basic need." Nevertheless, point well taken.
Marc- Sorry about the poor choice of words. "Emotional" is too personal. But I do believe a truthful, honest media is a basic need- for a functional democracy. - AIW
I have not heard Thom call himself a capitalist although he has a very narrow definition for "capitalist", i.e., someone who makes ALL their income from investments - or, as I would describe it, from other people's labor. I've heard him on more than a few occasions call himself a socialist - although he qualifies that a bit by calling himself a "democratic socialist" which to him means someone who believes in capitalism highly regulated and controlled by democratic government. I'm going to post a blog article on this site on the historical nuances of the implementation of Marxism and socialism. It might help us to come to agreement on the definitions of some terms and so make discussion simpler.
I assumed this thread was dead, but I returned here on impulse whilst waiting for my printer to print an 8X10 color photograph. All I can say is "wow!"
Not much I can add save to repeat what I said before, which is that Mr. Hartmann's use of the term "royalist" obscures that our problem is capitalism, which is not only killing us but our planet as well.
What I did not say is what the post-New-Deal history of the United States proves beyond any possibility of refutation -- that capitalism cannot be reformed or successfully regulated. This is because capitalism is precisely as I describe it -- infinite greed elevated to maximum virtue -- which means it is the conscious rejection of every humanitarian principle our species has ever articulated. This in turn means that capitalism is the closest approximation to absolute evil our species has yet produced. Indeed it is directly analogous to cancer, which means it must be surgically removed from the human body-politic before it destroys not only humanity but wipes out the entire planet on which humanity has evolved.
If others do not yet agree, I have no problem with our differences, merely because I am firmly convinced time and history will eventually prove me right.
There's also a bit of historical irony in Mr. Hartmann's choice of "royalist" as a pejorative. In Britain, it was the crown -- not the nobility -- that emerged as the protector of the common people against feudal privilege. This is why, at the time of the American Revoilution, there was such a huge schism in the colonial population. Many colonials, my own paternal ancestors among them, believed the rebels' primary purpose was to give the business and slave-plantation aristocracies the same unlimited power the feudal nobility had possessed before the British royal families' strategically savvy support of the commoners gradually brought about the emergence of a strong central government and, ultimately, a comparatively democratic parliamentary system. (Though it's something of an aside, it was the fact the British people were never disarmed -- note for example the militia of archers with which Britian won at Crecy and Agincourt -- that compelled the crown to turn to the people for support in the struggles with the feudal nobility, which gave Britian the roots of parliamentary democracy just as the disarmed state of the common people enabled the emergence of royal tyranny everywhere else in Europe.) In any case, I find the imprecision of using "royalist" rather than calling evil by its proper name -- capitalism -- serves no one but the One Percent, whose intent is to ensure not just our confusion and disunity, but to impose the Orwellian manipulation of vocabulary (and ultimately of psycholinguistic reality), intended to deny us the intellectual tools by which we might otherwise reason ourselves out of the resultant impasse.
Mr. Hartmann is both a leader and a journalist, and one of the obligations shared by journalism and leadership is to clarify rather than obfuscate. Alas, in the ACA piece he does the latter. Were he an everyday citizen, I would surely not criticize him so vehemently, and I probably would not criticize him at all.
That said, this is undoubtedly the longest, most elaborate Internet thread in which I have yet participated, and it is unquestionably the most civilized as well. Many many thanks to all, (And yes, I will check back again to see if it continues to grow. Even if it does not, a link to it will go up on my blog next week, which I resumed yesterday with a post that is more about humanitarian potential than political factionalism.)
Again, my gratitude. This is truly Internet discussion at its best.
Loren Bliss ~ I can see you'd prefer to think of capitalism as a malignant entity at any stage of existence. I can see how history would certainly support that contention. Our national history is nothing more than a series of cycles where the fatal flaws of capitalism allows its malignant symptoms to blow out of control like an overinflated balloon that eventually needs to be radically restrained, regulated and deflated in order to avoid economic catastrophe and potential revolution. The recovery brings about relative prosperity for another generation until the cancer once again comes out of remission and the scenario repeats itself. Each time the beast is subdued the people involved come away feeling that their problems are behind them forever and swiftly forget about it--having not learned nor achieved anything.
Aside from being very exploitative of the working class the capitalist system has proven itself to be very resilient and prosperous on the world scene. Communism, on the other hand--a system that might be perceived as being more favorable and worker friendly--has tumbled and succumb to capitalism in both Russia and China in less than a century. You have stated...
Quote Loren Bliss:In any case, I find the imprecision of using "royalist" rather than calling evil by its proper name -- capitalism -- serves no one but the One Percent, whose intent is to ensure not just our confusion and disunity, but to impose the Orwellian manipulation of vocabulary (and ultimately of psycholinguistic reality), intended to deny us the intellectual tools by which we might otherwise reason ourselves out of the resultant impasse.
Quite frankly I'm curious as to what might be your thinking on "how we might otherwise reason ourselves out of the resultant impasse?" To me communism appears to have failed. Socialism is a bad word that most people that hate it can't even spell it let alone define or explain why they hate it. A recent guest on Thom's show, the highly acclaimed economist and author Ravi Batra, stated that he believed that our current system may evolve into one where business and "the means of production" become worker owned co-ops in the future. He explained that this was the case historically over and over again in other societies and inevitably leads to a golden age. The system is made up of workers who own tangible interest in the means of production. The wages in this system match production and production matches demand. This perpetual harmony benefits everyone; and, as Mr. Batra calls it, is the ideal economy. He didn't give very many details as to how and when such a system shift might occur or what the movement would be called; however, it certainly sounds like a great idea on paper; and, certainly should be explored. According to Mr. Batra the system would begin with workers moving in and taking control of the "means of production" that the failed upperclass will abandon. Seems like too simple of a scenario to me; but, Mr. Batra insists that such a scenario has already played out elsewhere and is a cyclical evolution in human history. He practically guaranteed it taking place in our near future. I am very optimistic and cynical at the same time about the idea. I'm wondering if you've heard about Mr. Batra's prediction and if you agree with it?
Mr. Batra insists that because our current system emphasizes production far beyond all levels of demand, it is debt dependent; and, as such, it is unsustainable; and therefore, is doomed to collapse. Quite frankly, I can't argue with that.
Marc says "Socialism is a bad word that most people that hate it can't even spell it let alone define or explain why they hate it." From where I sit, Marc, "socialism" is a great word and an even better concept. It's all about the commons, something we don't have nearly enough of in this society. Most of our fellow bloggers here seem to get that the oligarchs are hellbent on stealing (er...privatizing) what little of the commons there is. But what's really, really bad is ignorance, exemplified by those who can't accurately define what socialism is let alone spell the word, yet have this hostile knee-jerk reaction to it anyway. When the mainstream media is nothing but a noise machine, designed to brainwash and dumb down the public, that's what we get. Instead of an informed electorate, we have a nation of numbskulls. - Aliceinwonderland
DAnneMarc...Have been hobbling about in proverbial circles doing various chores all day and now am too scatterbrained to properly respond. Alas I have another day of the same sort of unpleasantness tomorrow, but (presumably) will be back here tomorrow evening to address both the language problem (which is one of the major contributors to the Moron Nation syndrome), and the issues you legitimately raise about socialism. My apology for the delay.
Loren, I'm sure your response will be well worth the wait, once you find the time. But on another note, I've been meaning to tell you how blown away I am by the photo you took in western Washington. It's that grove of trees with fallen leaves blanketing the ground. Absolutely gorgeous.
It seems we have more than a little in common. I have some background in photography. As a teenager, I loved photography; it was one of my favorite passtimes. I was obsessed with taking close-up portraits of butterflies. The results were good enough to rival almost any photos I've seen published in magazines or butterfly books. To this day I can't hear that old Beatles album, Sergeant Pepper, without getting flashbacks from the summer of '67. I spent that whole summer chasing butterflies up & down the rural hillsides of my East Oakland neighborhood, with a 35mm camera and an assortment of close-up attachments! (Some of the happiest days of my life.) It's a good thing I did, because a year later all that natural beauty was gone, along with my beloved butterflies. The local authorities viewed the tall dry grass as a fire hazard and killed it off with chemicals. After that, rural Oakland was rural no more. (SIGH) It broke my heart.
I've also had a thing for graffiti. This is one of many subjects my mother and I used to argue about. She always viewed graffiti as a disgusting form of vandalism. But I saw it differently. To me, the better-quality graffiti stands as evidence of raw artistic genius, blossoming from the ranks of an underclass in America that refuses to be silenced or invisible.
There's a collage I made while in high school, that I'm still very proud of; so much so, I've got a color xerox of it hanging on our wall. It's comprised of two magazine ads pasted together. In your mind's eye, picture a young blond woman at a party dancing, with paint on her face (vintage 1960s!). There's a cartoon bubble coming out of her mouth that says "Simple", in response to some question posed in the ad which I'd excluded from the collage. Above that colorful image, in the upper left corner of the page, is pasted a black & white photo of a starving waif in some third world country with a caption that reads: "How can you say 'no' to a needy orphan?" Simple.
That pretty much sums up my view of capitalism, along with the ugly caste system it maintains all over the world. From my point of view, that's way more disgusting than any graffiti. - Aliceinwonderland
Loren Bliss ~ No problem. Please take your time, sir. My schedule till Friday is quite full too and I realize these topics can be somewhat thought provoking. So please take as long as you like. I've bookmarked this thread and will periodically check back. Please forgive me if you respond before I return. Rest assured I am looking forward to your assessment--especially of the work of Dr. Batra. Be patient and I too will respond in kind. Till then, take care.
Aliceinwonderland ~ Thanks for that assessment of Capitalism and Socialism. I must admit that we do share the same valuation of the Commons. Thanks again! Your summation of Capitalism graphically is also quite remarkable.
Quote Aliceinwonderland:I've also had a thing for graffiti. This is one of many subjects my mother and I used to argue about. She always viewed graffiti as a disgusting form of vandalism. But I saw it differently. To me, the better-quality graffiti stands as evidence of raw artistic genius, blossoming from the ranks of an underclass in America that refuses to be silenced or invisible.
In recent years Oakland has exploded in wonderful officially sanctioned graffiti works of art. In fact, if you google "Graffiti in O..." the first thing that pops up is "Images for Graffiti in Oakland."
Stangely, this database doesn't even show some of my favorate works. I believe on the corner of 84th and MacArthur is a beautiful piece dedicated to some youth who were gunned down for no reason in the vicinity. Two blocks north on the side of Jim's liquor store is another beautiful mural dedicated to the teachers at Castlemont High. Near the lake on the side of a concrete garbage can is a piece that blends into that garbage can making it look like a person. In the estuary by the airport is a large concrete rock that is painted to look like a slice of watermelon. Under the freeway in the temescal area on the pillars of the freeway are two giraffes towering over the people at the bus stop. On Foothill and 23rd are a series of works. One is on the side of a building by a bus stop depicting native Americans in traditional clothing performing a dance amongst people of all races in the backgrounds. On the wall of the small grocery store across the street is a picture of Native American Warrior silhouettes done by the children at the head start center down the street with slogans written in them about how to funnel the warrior spirit in positive ways. Oakland is city that is very underrated for its cultural beauty and diversity. It is also very underrated for the creative and artistic treasure of its inhabitants.
Someone like you or Loren would have a field day trying to capture all the beauty that is Oakland. Long have I contemplated a photographic project of either a compilation of graffiti in Oakland, or a compilation of venues of worship. Oakland is also known for all the churches that exist on almost on every corner in the low income neighborhoods. Some are very simple and you might miss them easily. Some are converted theatres, liquor stores, grocery stores, and houses, yet all retain that essential spiritual vitality that is present in all aspects of Oakland. Both ideas would make impressive and provocative coffee table books.
Note: These google images don't do justice to the reality of Oakland, CA.
AIW, Loren, Dan (I am now at #56 and reading)- When I read your comments about the ACA, you remind me of Ted Kennedy in the 60's. He probably agreed with everything you said and did until his death. He fougt hard and kept an earlier vesion of the ACA from becoming law. However, he was strong supporter of Obama's ACA. I think he realized the power of the 1% and decided we have to take whatever whacks we can at them. I think if Barack had not appeared as a betrayer to you nothing would have come to fruition.
Loren -- I was mistaken I was reading your #55 not #56 which is Alice's short reply. I think the 2010 election results were due to people who would have voted for democrats staying home and not voting. I assume their reasoning for staying home was along the lines you describe; that is, there is not much difference between the parties. As a matter of "fact", I remember Thom describing on election day of 2010 how much the democrats acted like republicans. I say look at the vote on card check (Employee Free Choice Act). If there had been one more democratic senator, card check would have passed. The two parties are very different.
"Chuckle", I concur with all the above.
First, my thanks to Alice for the compliment; though I am mostly a social-documentary photographer, I have tried for years to capture that "dark and dreadful loveliness" of Pacific Northwest autumn light, and it seems I have finally done so. Thanks again; were there some way to do it, I would love to discuss photography in much greater depth, as I also taught the subject as a part-time instructor at a couple of colleges.
Next, apropos language, anyone troubled by the politically motivated distortion of English should read an essay by George Orwell entitled "Politics and the English Language." His piece is part of a book in my present-day library, the volume entitled George Orwell/A Collection of Essays, (Harcourt, Inc.: 1981). I had an earlier edition with a 1953 copyright -- a gift from a girlfriend when I was 19 years old -- but like everything else then in my library (and all my life's work as well), it was destroyed by a fire in 1983, the circumstances of which suggest it was almost certainly government arson. But that is another story for another time. Here from Orwell is the essay's most critical paragraph:
"(English) becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier to have foolish thoughts. The point is the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits, one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step towards political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers." (Emphasis added, with my apology for any errors that might have crept into my retyping of the text. I am not Nurd enough to figure out how copy quotes into this particular website, and after innumerable failed attempts to do so, I must therefore rely on my [very marginal] stenographic skills.) In any case the essay is available on-line at http://georgeorwellnovels.com/essays/politics-and-the-english-language/
While I have seemingly always been aware of the problem Orwell decries -- I remember my father bristling at Madison Avenue's post-war twisting of "savings" into a synonym for "spending" and the deliberate confusion of the terms "house" and "home" so the latter became something one buys from a real-estate huckster -- for me the most atrocious warping of meaning and wanton destruction of our collective ability to talk politics was the decision to make red the color of Ayn Rand fascism. Hence "red states," "red-state voters," etc. ad nauseam, which makes it impossible for someone of my generation to discuss, for example, the "Red Scare" without having to first explain that the allegedly scary Reds were not fascists but were in fact their political, socioeconomic and humanitarian opposites. By the time the prerequisite lesson in semantics is concluded, the abbreviated attention span imposed on us by Moron Nation and all its processes of moronation guarantees the listeners' minds are all focused elsewhere, typically on the monkey-house antics of Britney Spears, Brad Pitt or someone else in the Hollywood zoo. As a result, where once I could proudly and defiantly describe myself as "a real Red," now if I use that term at all with anyone younger than probably 65, it is assumed I am labeling myself an unreconstructed Nazi. And that of course is only one glaring example. Another, equally glaring, is "demilitarized zone," which means its antithesis. And the terms applied to the abortion fight are egregiously deceptive. The misogynists grabbed "pro-life," when in fact their hatred of women proves them to be the opposite, while defenders of female freedom and therefore ultimately of human freedom were stuck with "pro choice," which sounds like nothing more than the egotistical condition of a consumer in a seductive marketplace. Obviously I could go on at much greater length, but the point is that Mr. Hartmann's use of "royalist" as a synonym for "capitalist" falls into the same category, especially in the context of protecting the most deliberately (and therefore maliciously) dishonest president in U.S. history.
As to the alleged "failures" of socialism, this too is partly the fault of deliberate moronation into the abysmal, irremediable and therefore worst-on-the-planet ignorance that now characterizes the USian homeland. By just such deliberately induced confusion as is vindictively created by the labeling of rabid fascists and JesuNazis as "red," the meaning of "socialist" is lost to public consciousness, probably forever. This is not the least because the meaning of the associated descriptive adjectives, for example "humanitarian," has been reduced to meaninglessness in the miasma of self-obsessed moral imbecility that has become the USian national mindset.
But there are also other factors at work, notably the historical circumstances of the two great nations in which socialism briefly bloomed into seemingly successful revolutions. These are of course Imperial Russia and Koumintang or post-Quin Dynasty China, neither of which ever in their individual histories had known a single day of anything remotely resembling democracy. Thus what might aptly be described as the deadly undertow of Russian history -- the legacy of its geopolitical circumstances (i.e., its position and therefore function in the ancient and ongoing conflict between African, Asian and European cultures) -- combined with the tsunami of personal greed deliberately evoked by post-World-War-II capitalist mass media to destroy what was undoubtedly our species' last chance to evolve the economic democracy that is the vital prerequisite to any sort of humanitarian society. In many respects, China's circumstances were eerily similar: a vast population that had never known anything beyind slavery, an unspeakably cruel imperial government (in comparison to which, Tsardom was kindness personified), and a failing empire that had been picked to bones by European and USian colonialism. The Taoist/Confucian tradition of enlightened leadership -- "thus the ruler...furthers and regulates the gifts of heaven and earth, and so aids the people" (I Ching, 11th Hexagram, T'ai / Peace) -- was murdered by the British in the Opium Wars, much as the spirit of the USian Counterculture was slain a century later by government-fostered drug addiction, so that by the time of Mao Ze Dong, revolution in China meant little more than a change in the band of thieves that eternally preys upon the people. The utter co-optation of the Chinese revolution by its leadership -- opportunistic whores who fatten their own pockets by shamelessly collaborating with Wall Street -- tells us that socialism in China never had even the chance it had in the Soviet Union. Ultimately Leon Trotsky was prophetically correct when he argued that without global revolution (and therefore global Marxism), a revolution in one or two nations would inevitably be overthrown by capitalism.
(There is of course an alternative analysis of China's behavior -- that its present rulers have taken the works of Sun Tzu to heart and are turning the great strengths of capitalism into its greatest weaknesses in preparation for some future and undoubtedly militaristic demonstration The East Is (truly) Red (and never was anything else). But that strikes me as nothing more than wishful thinking, the political equivalent of the Christian yearning for the Second Coming or the pagan yearning for the restoration of the apex of human civilization symbolized by Glorious Knossos -- the capital of the thousand-year protocommunist matriarchy that seems to have traded, mostly peacefully, with all the peoples of the world.)
Had Communism been tried in the United States -- and during the 1930s it very nearly was, as the real purpose of the New Deal was stopping the incipient revolution and the civil war that surely would have followed it -- the U.S. Constitution would have enabled socialism to be tested fairly: that is, amongst a people already conditioned to democratic processes. Indeed it is arguable the U.S. Constitution is the best constitution ever written in terms of how it might guide and facilitate Communist governance. Though I cannot prove it, I believe this is the very reason the USian Ruling Class was (and remains) so abjectly terrified of anything that even approaches socialism -- or more specifically the humanitarianism that is the core socialist purpose: from each in accordance with ability, to each in accordance with need. Under the U.S. Constitution, it would undoubtedly have worked -- or at least have had humanity's best chance to do so.
Apropos the cooperative movement, its eventual defeat is assured merely by the fact it is still capitalism, which to say it is still infinite greed elevated to (or rationalized as) maximum virtue. Moreover, the co-op movement can function only in a capitalist society, which itself seals its doom. The minute it becomes a genuine threat to the Ruling Class, it will be suppressed. The challenge that faces us -- the gauntlet flung at our feet by Mother Nature in retaliation for five thousand years of patriarchal atrocities -- is not just to learn to live with less, but to learn to live together without stealing from one another. To teach that lesson to people whose greed and selfishness and bigotry is genuinely psychopathic -- and that truly is the dominant present-day human mindset -- will require the application of considerable force. And though it flies in the face of all my libertarian instincts, it seems to me it is only Marxism -- or more likely some as-yet unwritten hybrid of Marxism and ecofeminism -- that is capable of offering the requisite guidance and discipline necessary to subdue a world population gone mad with trinket materialism and ecocidal criminality.
Loren -- Your use of the English language is so worthy that I am almost afraid to say anything. I think it is interesting how Frank Lunz was scared of the 1%, 99% terminology of OWS. Could it be that percentage description is harder to distort?
Do you find any hope in the democratic socialism of the northern European nations?
Please, chuckle8 (or anyone else), don't be intimidated by my verbal skills. They are nothing more than a lucky accident of genetics and birth. They are also something of an illusion as I am a dyslexic -- admittedly a so-called "compensated" dyslexic -- but a dyslexic nevertheless, with all the gut-wrenching penchant for (and absolute terror of) errors that make me look like an imbecile, which is the dominant characteristic of my disability. That said, thank you for the compliment.
Apropos northern European democratic socialism, though for many years I believed it held great potential, I no longer see any hope there at all. When one cleaves through all the bullshit propaganda, one is faced with the horrible truth the United States has become the de facto Fourth Reich -- exactly as the legions of Nazi war criminals welcomed, embraced and absorbed here after World War II intended to make of it. Now it is the USian Empire, and its sole purpose is ever more obviously world conquest, whether by Ayn Rand economics, Nazi-style military action or some combination of both. (See for example http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/120209105955-marines-afghanistan... note also the semiotic statement made by the USian military and police helmets with their distinctly Nazi/Darth Vader overtones.)
Meanwhile Europe is being overwhelmed economically, to the extent the empire is forcing Ayn Rand austerity on the entire continent. As the failure of resistance movements in Greece and Turkey have already proven, there is no hope any European nation will be able to muster successful resistance to the WTO and the World Bank, which are the Empire's economic-conquest agencies. Thus Europe is already effectively reduced to an USian colony. Within a decade, two at the most, economic conditions in (formerly civilized) Europe will therefore be as overtly savage as they already are in USia today. Once again Leon Trotsky is proven correct in his assertion that capitalism is so innately predatory, socialism of any sort is doomed without becomeing genuinely global.
Loren B -- Just for clarification would you agree with the following statement. The northern European democratic socialist states are good for now. When the international corporatists find out the existence of these socialist states are cutting into their bottom line, those states will be doomed.
Another ray of hope, is Iceland giving the finger to the banks.
Quote Loren Bliss:And though it flies in the face of all my libertarian instincts, it seems to me it is only Marxism -- or more likely some as-yet unwritten hybrid of Marxism and ecofeminism -- that is capable of offering the requisite guidance and discipline necessary to subdue a world population gone mad with trinket materialism and ecocidal criminality.
Loren Bliss ~ Thank you for that thoroughly pensive response. I found it quite provocative--especially the conclusion above. Unfortunately, I am not very familiar with Marx; but, now am very curious. Thank you for the direction and optimistic outlook for the future. I know that is not usually your perspective.
Also, thanks for the analysis of the "hidden persuaders" in language. I have noticed this technique myself; but, other then joking about it I never realized that Mr. Orwell expounded on it in a scholarly way. It makes perfect sense that these mis-labels would be strategically and intentionally created. I can't wait to read that link you've provided. Fundamental Christians who act like Zealous Satanists, Radicals who preach peace and Conservative who want to waste every natural resource on the planet, Insurgents who fight to liberate and Peacekeepers who invade and occupy with military force are just a few of the double talk language tools that have profoundly irritated me over the years. Thom wrote a book about that type of doublespeak called, "Cracking the Code." Of course, like you suggest, we will never get anywhere by just cracking the code we need to abolish the terms altogether; or,perhaps make up some useful ones of our own. Even accurate use of the appropriate terms would be a drastic improvement. I don't see how that can happen with a mass media controlled by Corporate, "Capitalist" interests. Surely, the least we can do is to use the right words ourselves as much as possible and avoid falling into this pit of linguistic entrapments.
I don't know if you caught the interview on the show with Dr. Ravi Batra. However, if you are interested, here is a link to the transcript of that March interview along with the full interview on YouTube if you would prefer to hear it.
YouTube Dr. Ravi Batra Interview 4 parts
Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HspdYjEvs_8
Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9q_7zgh6tk
Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKhStwvSywE
Part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDWw1wGDlYU
I want to thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with me. I think you might be on to something with this "hybrid of Marxism" suggestion. However, that hybrid will have to take into account many factors and one of them is the economy. Most notably I am concerned with fostering an economy that is fairly stable, balanced and resilient to the type of extreme cycles that Dr. Batra refers to. If this is possible with a mutant Marxist/Constitutional Democracy I am quite intrigued. I think Dr. Batra brings a lot to the table in that understanding. Any help or suggestions you might have are appreciated; however, you have already helped far more than anyone else I know. I more than understand If you would prefer to give it a break. After all, I certainly don't want to be a pest.
I wish I could be a little more interesting tonight; but, I am quite tired after a very busy day. Thanks to you I have much homework to do and probably won't get to it till this weekend. Take your time with the Dr. Batra interview if you are interested; and, if you wish, feel free to comment on it on another blog in the future. With the economy floundering as it is, I'm sure that topic will creep up again in short order. Thanks again for a most engaging exchange I've had in a while. And many thanks for the leads you've provided. DAM
Dam -- Thanks for the links to Ravi. I wish Thom would listen to him more closely, especially when Ravi warns about a decreasing deficit (yes that is decreasing not increasing). I have not had time to listen to the links yet, but I remember Ravi talking about whenever deficits become small the market crashes (always).
Two very quick replies:
To chuckle8: yes I agree with your #86, but for reasons already expounded fear the days of European democratic socialism are numbered.
To DAnneMarc: the greatest contributions of Marx and Engels are their assertions of the historical truth of class struggle and Marx's analysis of late-stage capitalism, which is genuinely prophetic. The former enables us to make sense of what is being done to us, and the latter (now proven by events), shows us how the nature of capitalism -- infinite greed elevated to maximum virtue (my words not Marx's) -- inevitably leads to imperialism (says Marx) and thence to fascism (says I).
Best Internet source on Marxism (and on socialism in general and anarchism too) is https://www.marxists.org/, which was courageously posted to the web by the Soviet Union in its dying days, a breathtakingly splendid act of defiance that always reminds me of (and damnit I can't even write this next without getting tears in my eyes) the last radio transmissions from Fortress Brest before it was taken by the Nazis.
Loren Bliss ~ Thanks for that link and rest assured I will get to it and the other ones this week end. You have simply been a fortune of wisdom. I can't thank you enough.
chuckle8 ~ You are most welcome. However, concerning the budget deficit--you are probably aware that Dr. Batra was referring to the deficit as a bandaid on a unreconcilable circumstance. Much like putting one's finger in the dyke. It results in the semblance of business as usual; but, all it really represents is a temporary solution before catastrophic failure. Essentially, this economy has to get a lot worse before it ever gets better. First the deficit must be reduced. (That is a foregone conclusion because perpetual debt; or, a perpetual budget deficit, is neither possible or desirable.) When the deficit tanks so will the economy. Massive layoffs, and devaluation of currency. It is out of that chaos that Dr. Batra believes that the ideal economy will emerge. An economy where the people running it have a vested interest in the long term goals of society. An economy where wages, production, and demand are all synchronized. Please correct me if I am wrong; but, that is the gist of what I got out of the interview. Perhaps if I were a Economics major--or had actually have read closely any of the Doctors books--I could expound on those observations more knowledgeably. However, from what I got, that is the whole enchilada in a nutshell. (Not a very appetising menu item--I know.) Dr. Batra--like any good teacher--did an excellent job of breaking down the fundamentals of the economy of the world in the principal language of the great Adam Smith, so that anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Economics 101 could understand. For that reason, I place great value on this interview with Dr. Batra.
Wow! I just discovered Thom Hartmann yesterday (Geez! was it only yesterday?) and have been reading the blogs and comments backwards. Until I got to this. THIS!
This is THE most interesting thread I have ever encountered on the internet. Thanks to all of you: Alice, Marc, Mark, DAM, chuck, Palindrom., and especially to you, Loren. Loren, you are the first person to really echo the accelerating despair I've been feeling since 9/11, watching the constitution get shredded, the ever-increasing wretched rise of anti-intellectualism, yes-we-can turn into drones-R-US, AGW denialism, on and on. Yet your thinking goes so much further and your writing so excellent - that goes for all of you, not just Loren - that like, chuck, I am tempted not to say anything.
Quote Loren Bliss:To teach that lesson to people whose greed and selfishness and bigotry is genuinely psychopathic -- and that truly is the dominant present-day human mindset -- will require the application of considerable force. And though it flies in the face of all my libertarian instincts, it seems to me it is only Marxism -- or more likely some as-yet unwritten hybrid of Marxism and ecofeminism -- that is capable of offering the requisite guidance and discipline necessary to subdue a world population gone mad with trinket materialism and ecocidal criminality.
it would seem that you are more optimistic than I. I see no escape from capitalism's cancer that would leave the knowledge we as a species have accumulated intact. Best case scenario: dark ages; worst case scenario: the cockroaches inherit the planet and evolution continues from there. But specifically, from whence might this "considerable force" arise? With the technology already available to make big brother a reality today, it looks like checkmate to me and it's all over but the gnashing-of-teeth and the tears.
Stick around then, Dan! Join the parade. It's bullshit-bustin' time. - AIW
I've already joined, thanks. BTW, do you know where to find the Hartmann piece chuck mentioned (#66) re the Heritage minions hunched over wiki? If that isn't an Orwellian nightmare come to life, I don't what is.
Dan -- I will try to feret out Ravi's words that support my favorite saying "Increase the deficit to reduce the debt". For now, things of note are deficit means to invest in our infrastructure to create an economic machine to devour our debt. Debt does not mean that $17 trillion of public debt. The debt that economists are concerned about is the debt to GDP ratio. The economic machine increases the denominator (GDP) more rapidly than it increases the numerator (debt). Elizabeth Warren has a quote in Time magazine that says what I am saying. She says "to stop investing is like cutting off your feet to save money on shoes." I do not disagree to wake up the "tea partiers" to this dynamic will probably require the crashing of our economy.
The thing I remember Dr. Batra saying was that when the deficit becomes small the stock market crashes. I need to spend some time researching or just searching.
chuck: It wasn't the Ravi reference that grabbed my attention; it was:
Thom speaks of his tour of the Heritage Foundation and that every computer screen (around 25 in a work area) had the wikipedia page displayed. I assume the workers at the foundation were modifying Wikipedia as fast as they could ...
Can you get me the source on that? I wish to start referring to the Heritage folks as the Ministry of Truth.
DanH44 -- Since he said on his show, I do not know how to get the reference. Maybe just calling in .
Hello, Alice. Problem resolved, for which see DAnneMarc's #48 and my #49, complete with apology to Mr. Hartmann.
However, apropos Mr. Hartmann's toadying for Barack the Betrayer, see this: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/272-39/20347-focus-the-right-win...
It is in fact the quintessence of toadying. It completely falsifies where and how the Affordable Care Act was written -- during Obama's secret meetings with health insurance executives, the contents of the law as dictated by the executives themselves. Note too Mr. Hartmann's decidedly curious refusal to use the term "capitalist," which -- perhaps at a Salon editor's insistance -- he replaced with the inappropriate and perplexing term "royalist," as if he were railing against British sympathizers during the American Revolution.
Indeed this piece of untruth and disinformation is the most outrageous piece of revisionist history I have ever seen disseminated by the USian Left. It is the very sort of Big Lie propaganda for which the Right is properly notorious. But now I guess the Democrats are so desperate about the probability they will lose the 2014 elections, they and their supporters will go to any imaginable length to cover up the infinity of Obamaniod betrayals that is prompting the angry Moron Nation voters to turn to the Teabaggers and their Christofascist allies as a last-chance-for-whatever (suicidal) alternative.
Google the title, and you will find the angry protests against the piece are many and growing far beyond the original harsh and fully justified criticism on the RSN thread.