The Useful Idiots of the Corporate Elite

There are a whole lot of useful idiots in America. Yesterday, a caller called into my radio show, and echoed Congressman Paul Ryan’s recent comments, blaming the black community for poverty in America. He threw out a Fox So-Called News phony statistic, arguing that “73 percent of African-American women in this country ages 17-35 have children without a man in the house, and the majority of this group of people live in the cities.”

First of all, that is completely false. According to the most recent government statistics, 72 percent of black babies are born to unmarried mothers today. But that is completely different from saying that “73 percent of African-American women in this country have children without a man in the house.” It's a perfect demonstration of the old saying, often attributed to Mark Twain, that, "Figures don't lie, but liars can figure."

In fact, the birth rate for unmarried black women in America has been falling for almost 40 years. And most of the evidence points to changes in unmarried birth rates among both black and white women in America that started in the 1970s, coinciding with the legalization of abortion and the beginning of widespread use of oral contraceptives, and largely unaffected over the years by changes in welfare programs.

So, why is it that Conservatives like yesterday’s caller, Fox So-Called News' useful idiots, and Congressman Paul Ryan are obsessed with the notion that blacks and the black community are responsible for poverty in America? Like so much that's wrong with America today, it all started with Reagan.

Reagan is famous for his speeches and one-liners about “welfare queens,” but as author Ian Haney Lopez pointed out in an interview on Moyers and Company, it all began with his earliest welfare stump speech in 1980. Reagan would speak to (white) Americans, and say something along the lines of, “I understand how frustrating it is for you when you’re standing in line at a grocery store waiting to buy hamburger, and there’s some young fellow ahead you waiting to by a T-Bone with food stamps.”

But, as Lopez points out, the first time Reagan gave that stump speech, “young fellow” was replaced with “young buck,” a racially-coded term for a young black man. Basically, Reagan was telling white Americans that they were being taken advantage of by blacks on food stamps, and that it was made possible by the government taking their money through taxes and then giving it to undeserving black people.

So, in response to the outrage that he drummed up, Reagan suggested his infamous tax cuts, dropping the top rate that billionaires pay from 74% down to 28%. After all, he told middle-class voters - who got a very small income tax cut - why should you pay taxes to a government that’s just turning around and giving that money to undeserving black people who are using it to eat fancy steak dinners?

This is very similar to the recent outrage over at Fox about people on food stamps buying crab and lobster, something that's possible but so rare that it has no effect on the overall tax we all pay for food stamps. Lopez goes on to say that, for the past 50 years, Republicans have been telling white Americans that the biggest threat in their lives are minorities, and that minorities have taken over government and are eating up all the money.

Just last week, Congressman Paul Ryan went on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America program, and said that, “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.” In other words, Ryan is saying that lazy black men are responsible for poverty in America.

For some 50 years now, Republicans have been using race-baiting tactics and dog-whistle politics like this to convince Americans that the black community is behind poverty in America, but that’s just not the case. After all, you can see many of the same trends in the largely white Appalachia region of the U.S. as you do in minority-heavy inner cities. In Appalachia, white Americans are struggling with poverty, and having children out-of-wedlock, just like their black inner-city counterparts.

And according to the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends project, in 2012, the median net worth of a white household was $91,405, while the median net worth of a black household was $6,446. So a black child starts out at a very different place than a white child, both economically and socially. But Conservatives still argue that blacks are behind poverty in America. The social and cultural problems that we see in black communities across America, and in white communities in Appalachia, are responses to poverty, not the causes of it.

It’s time for Americans, and lawmakers in Washington, to wake up, and start talking about the real causes of poverty in America, which include massive inequality produced by our tax code, joblessness produced by our trade policies, and ongoing discrimination by a largely white economic and political power structure. Only then will every American have an equal shot at the American Dream, regardless of their race.


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

We know that the real ruination of the US economy are the Corporate Welfare Queens. Old Ronnie Raygun was going off the deep end and highly influenced by his controllers. He had a disease. I wonder what is Obama's excuse? Oh yeah, whenever Obama gets out of line...his controllers flash a photo of JFK in his Limo in Dallas!

ckrob's picture
ckrob 9 years 10 weeks ago

Paul Krugman essayed a similar point in the NYT yesterday. The cause and effect problem just wouldn't go away! Especially if you've benefitted and conclude you're more successful because you're just better than the unsuccessful.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

"Corporate Welfare Queens"... You've got that right, PD! And while the Rich Man's Party quacks about minorities taking over our government and "eating up all the money", the oligarchs they represent are busy eating your lunch. And breakfast and dinner. Quack! Quack! (Burp!). - AIW

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote Palindromedary:

No, it's not! But if you want to keep on believing that then that's your decision. It's funny though how people who believe in these mystical or superstitious things try so hard to convince other people that their beliefs are if by convincing helps to make more valid one's own beliefs.

The Intelligent Design and Creationist crowds have felt the need to resort to latching on to scientific terms, misusing them, making untrue "ergos" (this therefore that) in the hope of suckering in the scientifically challenged.

Yes, you can find a few specious articles that tend to be hinting that "reincarnation" may have something going for it when looking at DNA. But the traits that offspring inherit are physical characteristics like hair color, facial similarities, familial (genetically inherited) diseases, etc. Even certain rudimentary defense mechanisms may be passed. But most things have to be learned. How many children or even young animals are aware of the danger of a cobra or any other dangerous situations? They have to learn about the danger either through direct experience or through parental guidance.

The more complex things like memories, psychological identities, etc are not passed on. At least there are no supporting scientific studies that prove that the more complex things get passed on in any meaningful way that would indicate anything like the "reincarnation" idea that some people believe past lives..past memories of past individuals. And it is even more unproven that distantly related or totally unrelated people of the past have been "reincarnated". There is a lot of hocus-pocus, mystical, flim-flam about the idea of "reincarnation".

The genetic coding directs the body's manufacture of various proteins that affects cell replication and determines the function of the body. Certain genetic traits, the coding of protein creation that determines all manner of physical and even brain functions (no evidence of past life memories) are passed to one's offspring. But there is just no scientific evidence that indicates that the complex thoughts and beliefs and memories of past lives are passed on to offspring.

Many of the sensationalized stories of people who have claimed to have been "reincarnated" have not been proven to be true. And they have managed to fool a lot of people. It sure doesn't stop a lot of people from buying into those ideas. It's just another way, aside from believing in a religious myth of an afterlife in heaven or hell, of pretending they will continue to exist after death. People are just too afraid to believe in the finality of death.

I don't wanna start a whole 'nother thing here but reincarnation is a supernatural fact. One denies the supernatural at the peril of one's own factual rectitude. Atheists, it's been my experience can be as pietistically obsessed with their beliefs as any religious fanatic. My friend who recently acquired agnosticism after graduating bible college calls them the "evangelical atheists". They are welcome to their beliefs but they must also be careful not to slide into religious intolerance towards those whose beliefs on those matters differ from theirs - just as with the strongly religious.

Anyway, reincarnation, the near death experience and some other phenomena have been studied with scientific method and are - to greatly understate the case - not easily dismissed.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

I, of course, believe reincarnation to be a fact, it is not in the scientific sense an established fact but I am convinced and I am scientifically critical, no less than anyone here, and was an atheist or agnostic until I encountered the scientifically studied supernatural. I don't put anything on "faith", I have to be shown.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago

Tyranny 101 ~ First you rob the people, then you disempower them, then you sow discord and get them to blame each other for it. Tyrants always use scapegoats to distract the masses. They always chose them amongst the weakest groups who can't defend themselves. And they always hypocritically project their own worse characteristics on the persecuted.

The way I see it with austerity kicking in gear and the masses being sucked dry of any sustenance, this sowing discord agenda is only going to get put on steroids. It is up to us to be aware of this strategy because it can come from anywhere--including Thom's show. I remember stating that the Zimmerman trial spectacle was such an effort to put people at each other's throats. So is the FOX news channel. Beware my friends--the master deceivers have been unleashed and have us tuned in to their propaganda so that our consciousness is at their mercy. We must resist and maintain control of our own thoughts. Anytime you see the trivial sensationalized, hatred idolized, violence glorified, victims being blamed for their own problems, or weak people blaming other weak people for their weakness, look out--you can be sure that it is the deception of the masters of Tyranny 101.

There are only a very few people out there to blame for austerity and we know who they are. The are the only true enemy of We the People.

jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 9 years 10 weeks ago


SARAH PALIN & MICHELLE BACHMANN were right about government death panels.

THEY are the republican state legislatures & governors rejecting state medicaid expansion.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

More "happy talk", Mark? Well, I was going to leave my "happy talk" remarks back a few blogs ago where the original subject matter had already run out of steam but since Mark has seen fit to post my past remarks in this fairly nascent post..I guess I have to continue the discussion.
Supernatural? fact? together? lol! That's a good one! ;-} Are ghosts, demons, magic, ...etc....facts? It is a fact that people believe in them but not that they exist ... except in the minds of people who believe in them. They are no more valid as "facts" than the Easter Bunny or Santa more valid than the old Egyptian or Greek or Mesopotamian or Persian gods or Hindu gods (and I know I've missed a few). These things all come from the imagination and has no real place in science except to study the poor suckers who believed in such nonsense. Yes, it is a fact that people believe in nonfactual things.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

jkh6148: They are also the Health Insurance companies. They have their own death panels!

FractionallyUnnerved's picture
FractionallyUnnerved 9 years 10 weeks ago

Good evening all. just off topic Palin, sonar that bats and dolphins evolved, could humans evolve telepathic power the speed of which would travel faster than light ?into a parallel universe in the future(Steven Hawking).This would be in history called the time of prophecy!Mark any one ,your thought's ?We the people are over due for a

Palin your first comment this evening is right on the mark.

as far as the race hurdle for the democracy of the World Obama's a stepping stone to say the least right or and wrong in office. a Landmark in History has occurred do to a lot less American idiots alive

Democracy Evolves Peace

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote Mark Saulys:... "evangelical atheists". They are welcome to their beliefs but they must also be careful not to slide into religious intolerance towards those whose beliefs on those matters differ from theirs...

After thousands of years of religious intolerance by persecutors keeping people with differing views scared to speak out lest they be murdered...burned at the stake...I find no problem in daring to submit my own views on these subjects. There is just no way we atheists, today, can even come close to the religious intolerance practiced by those who today's superstitious believers revere as saints in many cases. They still believe in the same nonsense that the witch burners believed in and if they had their way...many would still be doing the same things. So I have no problems speaking my piece now. I think we atheists owe those fallen martyrs who were done in by nonsense worshipers of the past and present. It is not surprising, though, that those believers of nonsense will try to accuse others of being "religious intolerant" when it it they who are being intolerant of anything that challenges their nonsense. Reincarnation is nonsense!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote Palindromedary:Many of the sensationalized stories of people who have claimed to have been "reincarnated" have not been proven to be true. And they have managed to fool a lot of people. It sure doesn't stop a lot of people from buying into those ideas. It's just another way, aside from believing in a religious myth of an afterlife in heaven or hell, of pretending they will continue to exist after death. People are just too afraid to believe in the finality of death.

Palindromedary ~ "People are just too afraid to believe in the finality of death." Really? It could be just as easily be stated that some people are just too afraid to believe in anything after death. Mark is right, reincarnation is a fact. Of course your entire life experiences are not reincarnated with you. They are lost forever at death. The idea that you could remember past life's is something that would be difficult to impossible to prove; and, personally I don't buy it. For all practical purposes when you die YOU DIE. To me, the fact of reincarnation is like rebooting a computer--a fresh start. What better after all? Who wants to remember a past life anyway? Just think of all the things you wish you could forget. Reincarnation is your big chance;regardless of whether you or I are right.

FractionallyUnnerved's picture
FractionallyUnnerved 9 years 10 weeks ago

Dreams are real! consciousness will this exist after death could this be some purpose for the stars and planets to host the body that evolves intelligence of being (spirit ) ?to take base mater and through eons greater and greater sentient ability is karmically earned in this meritocracy of life through the passage of time,

Why do we exist to evolve as a sentient cohesive to link up eventually with other forms of beings(Larks) in the stars. not to peck the Minds Eye out of this topic!

Frac out lol

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote FractionallyUnnerved:Palin your first comment this evening is right on the mark.

I have read about ideas of the study of telepathy..and laboratory experiments that have been done. Thing is that they have to use very sensitive equipment in order just to pick up signals even just a few centimeters from the brain that emits them. But, it's a giant leap from that to the ability to send telepathic thoughts any distance to another person. And even if people put their heads together separated by only a few centimeters, I highly doubt that it would person would not be able to send telepathic information to another even in that situation.

Telepathy is just another largely imaginary, unproved by facts, idea that is used by some to exploit other's gullibility. Telepathy, x-ray vision, super-human strength (as in Super Man), being able to fly without some external device or propulsion are all just creations of the imagination. These things are fun to think about, or watch on the TV or in the movies...but there really are no scientific facts that support them.

The sonar in bats or dolphins emits sound waves that give them the ability to sense nearby objects...hardly anything more than that. It would be a giant leap to make anything more of it than that ...or to draw from that any conclusion that it lends credibility to humans being able to communicate with one another through telepathy.

One could argue that the brain is an electrochemical organism and that the electrical charges between the synapses could radiate out into space. But those signals would be so feeble that it takes very expensive and delicate instruments placed only centimeters from the brain in order to detect them. And then, after detecting them how to interpret them? We've come a long way from having to actually put probes into the brain...although they still have to do that as well. I'm afraid that some people are just way more attached to magical thinking than to science.

Quote FractionallyUnnerved:We the people are over due for a

Well, we've had lots of prophets who have managed to convince an awful lot of people to believe in him/her (sorry AIW and DAM). And in some cases it has resulted in millions of deaths fighting over them. I hope the next one will come in an alien craft...UFO...and make "itself" known to every single person on the planet...and not through some specially selected "spokesman" convenient, aye? We certainly don't need another Jesus or Mohammed or Buddha, or Claude Vorilhons latching on to people's minds and lives.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

FractionallyUnnerved: Dreams are real in the sense that people have real dreams..but I am certainly glad that some of my dreams aren't real but wake up other times pretty disappointed that the dream I just had wasn't real. ;-}

Wow, FractionallyUnnerved, you must have really liked that Lark and the Elephant fable. Those other associated fables are pretty fun to read too! I even have them written in Arabic as well as English so that I can practice the Arabic language. The Tales of Kalila and Dimna is in both English and in Arabic both colorfully illustrated by Dr. Mohammed Hassan Omar.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 9 years 10 weeks ago

I must have missed something in Hartmann's blog today. Where did the part about religion and the deep discussions I have read today start? I have found the smartest and best way to express my thoughts about anyone's religion is to say nothing at all. I truly believe a person’s personal beliefs should be honored and accepted by those reading or hearing about them, unless as in the radical Muslim beliefs, that we have to kill or eliminate the infidels for God, that cannot be accepted. In my humble point of view, God is love, not hate in all the religions I am familiar with. And, if you do not choose to believe in a God, than love is a good starting point for a fulfilling life. But whatever belief system a person adheres to, it should be accepted and appreciated for the good it does for that person. Demeaning and criticizing the beliefs of others as folly and nothing more than wishes for eternal life, because they cannot accept your reality that physical death is the end of existence, should be kept to one's self. I would like to believe I will see loved ones that have passed on, but I do not expect, nor do I want anyone demeaning something that may bring me comfort. Excuse me if I am off the point of this discussion. Tolerance is the key to respecting the beliefs of others. I personally do not know what lies ahead of us once our physical bodies die, and it is hard to prove or disprove anyone's beliefs. As long as a person's belief system does not advocate violence towards people with a different belief, I say more power to you if it helps you to survive this world. No belief system should be based on hate and killing of those who do not agree with your own beliefs. K.W.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

DAnnemarc: Well, if you and Mark want to surely will believe. Although, it looks like you have doubts about the kind of reincarnation that many people believe in. As for me...I don't believe that reincarnation is a fact. It's a free country! Or, is it?

Quote DAnnemarc: Of course your entire life experiences are not reincarnated with you. They are lost forever at death. The idea that you could remember past life's is something that would be difficult to impossible to prove; and, personally I don't buy it. For all practical purposes when you die YOU DIE. To me, the fact of reincarnation is like rebooting a computer--a fresh start.

But isn't this somewhat contradictory? And do you think Mark would have the same beliefs? If you start off with a "clean slate" doesn't that mean, essentially, that you are an entirely different person and NOT reincarnated. Sure you may have inherited the traits from the genes of your parents, from their parents, etc. But that's just plain old genetics. Science doesn't dispute that, of course. But remembering a prior existence? Quite a stretch!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote ken ware:I must have missed something in Hartmann's blog today. Where did the part about religion and the deep discussions I have read today start?

It started this time when Mark Saulys posted what I said about 3 days ago. And, in response to the conversation started by Mark Saulys back then when he said "Reincarnation is, I believe, a fact." So, I said: "reincarnation is not a fact."

Then Mark went on to say: "Reincarnation is a supernatural fact." To which, in this blog I say...a what? Supernatural fact? what the hell is that? Well, I didn't really say it quite like that!

Anyway, Marc obviously wanted to bring that conversation to light in a more up to date venue....more happy he put it when Kend and I were talking about Canadian Oil History.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 9 years 10 weeks ago

One point that I believe has a great deal to do with the unemployment rate for black men, is the abundance of cheap labor from illegal aliens. I have noticed that the hiring of illegal Latino workers has caused an increase in the inability of many black citizens to find blue collar work. I live in Southern California and the increase of Latino workers into every field imaginable has put many blue collar workers of all ethnicities out of work. I have had this discussion with many of my friends and they agree it would be difficult to find any blue collar jobs that are not dominated by the explosion of THE NUMBER OF illegal Latino workers INTO OUR WORK FORCE. I realize this sounds like pitting one group against another, but you cannot overlook the reality that this is going on all over S. California and in our Nation. Whether it is construction, maintenance, truck driving, manufacturing, etc., etc., etc. I realize many of the Latino workers I see are here legally or citizens of our country. But, you cannot overlook the fact we have at LEAST 20,000,000 illegals in our country and that is a factor in the displacement of millions of Black, White and Latinos that are Americans and cannot find work in the field they have training in. I cannot believe nor accept the fact that this President has directed the Justice Dept. and I.C.E. to STOP DEPORTING ILLEGAL ALIENS FROM THE U.S.! I am sure it has nothing to do with the upcoming elections in 2014 and 2016. K.W. I know it sounds that I am anti-Latino in the comments I have expressed today. I am not anti-Latino or anti any other group of people here in the U.S., I am anti-illegal workers being in our country and taking jobs from all Americans.

I have a conservative neighbor who continually blast the food stamp distribution in America, because many are just people who do not want to work or welfare queens ripping off the system. Well, he found himself out of work and he ran out of his unemployment insurance. I suggested he apply for food stamps because he expressed he had used up all of his savings as well. He applied for and is getting $200 a month in food stamps and shazzam, all of a sudden foods stamps for the unfortunate is a good thing according to his new point of view. Funny how hunger can change a person’s opinion about the safety net programs we have.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote ken ware:I truly believe a person’s personal beliefs should be honored and accepted by those reading or hearing about them, unless as in the radical Muslim beliefs, that we have to kill or eliminate the infidels for God, that cannot be accepted.

So, you don't think the Christian, or other religions, have been radical? The Christian bible says that God told Abraham to go down upon the lands of Canaan and kill everyone, every man, woman and man-child, except young girls that they can use for wives (sex slaves, of course)! The idea was to steal their land. And Jews and Christians haven't acted very nice to their fellow man ever since, if they had divergent beliefs.

There are even some people who call themselves Christians who would bring back the witch burnings of the middle ages if they could. And just like you cannot call all who believe they are Christians violent radicals you also cannot call all Muslims violent radicals either.

But US warmongers, cheered on by radical Christians, aren't gaining any friends in the Muslim world either. I'd say slaughtering one's entire family doesn't win friends and influence fact it turns them into radical terrorists.

The problem with most namby-pamby Americans is that they have never had their homes invaded and family members murdered by a powerful military and occupying force like the Muslim countries have. They haven't had their neighborhoods torn apart under bombardment nor have they had killer drones stalking our skies indiscriminately raining down terror from the skies. They'd be radicalized too if they had to go through the same things that the Middle Eastern countries have had to go through.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

ken ware: thank you for changing the subject to the original one. Anyway, I certainly agree with you there...#20! I think that both groups of "Welfare Queens" both on a people level and on a corporate one has been greatly abused. But to reform the people one to the extent of austerity would be as cruel as my refusing to feed my cats anymore. Damn Cat Welfare Queens, anyway! Lazy bums just lay around all day and refuse to work!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote Palindromedary:If you start off with a "clean slate" doesn't that mean, essentially, that you are an entirely different person and NOT reincarnated.

Palindromedary ~ Yes and no. Yes you are an entirely different person and no you are reincarnated. To be reincarnated by definition is, "to be reborn in another body." My take on it is so. If two different bodies have the same DNA--such as clones--they share the same conscious type only; and, not memory or experience. The reason being is because they have the same type of brain. Yet for all practical purposes these will be two completely different people and live completely different lives. Imagine if you will two identical computers with the same operating system and the same program. Given the same data they will generate the same result. Now give one computer a different program. Now that computer will output different results. Likewise, give the first computer different data and it too will output different results.

My take on spirituality I'm trying to leave out of this conversation because that would take more time then I have; and, go absolutely nowhere. Besides, my belief in the spirit is something that cannot be empirically proven. I do not want to state that anything is fact that cannot be proven. Therefore I would prefer to keep it to simple science and mathematical discussion. The videos and songs I shared the other night that might have sparked this spill over discussion occurred exactly the way I described them. The video release of "Just A Little Light" proves one of three possibilities. One, the musician was murdered and told about it in prophecy by someone who inspired such faith as to dedicate the song to his own death to inspire faith in others. Two, the musician decided to commit suicide and use it and his music to inspire faith in others. Three, the song, the lyrics, the video content, the musician's death, and the date of the video release were all merely huge yet completely unrelated super coincidences with no meaning at all. You, the viewer, be the judge. I have nothing more to say about it.

Two clones do not share conscious, only a similar type of thinking process. The same can be said of anyone reincarnated the way I understand the phenomenon. To prove my point all you have to do is try to remember a past life. If you can't then you prove me right. Mathematically, in theory at least, you have lived before. In fact, it is far more likely you've lived before then you will live again--the way the world is going. That is my belief I feel comfortable sharing.

Mark Saulys appears to take that a bit deeper into the paranormal. I must confess I know nothing about the paranormal; and, therefore prefer to remain completely silent about it. I'm sure that if Mark says that there is some proof he must know what he's talking about. I would enjoy hearing about that sometime when I don't have to get up early the next day.

The overriding point of my musical references in the past blog (see link below posts # 33 and 34) was what the songs were saying to me the way I interpret them. They are saying that we cannot escape our long term fate on this earth; and, that is why we need to take care of it. Death is a cop out not an easy way out. "The voice of one child crying..." says it all. If and when you are born again Palindromedary you won't know or remember anything. You will simply be a crying, helpless baby trying once again to understand the world and why you are in it. Imagine what that would be like in a future waste land that was trashed by your ancestors. Imagine trying to figure out why they did it; and, how you are going to live a happy life in it. Remember, those songs were written by a group called "The Grateful Dead." Duh! As you sow, so you shall reap.

With that thought... I bid you all good night!

ken ware's picture
ken ware 9 years 10 weeks ago

Palin - I was going to get into what I meant in my comment, but it is late and I am too tired to start a conversation.

RepubliCult's picture
RepubliCult 9 years 10 weeks ago

Whenever a rightie starts mumbling quotes from Reagan, you know they have run out of things to say to support whatever argument they are attempting to make. (There they go again!). It also is a clear case of "Reagan Invocation Delusional Symdrome" or simply RIDS. These con artists mistakenly believe Reagan to be the conservative savior, his words kin to scripture. It's their Audacity of Grope: groping and flailing to find some reason to be relevant.

Reagan was a liar, a cheat, a con artist, just to name a few of his traits, but a great leader worthy of quoting - no way, hah! He screwed up our economy, screwed the American worker, got a lot of Americans killed, got even more innocents in countries on most continents killed, again just to name a slight few of his transgressions. The modern conservative is struggling for some semblence of relevance in the world left in ruins by Reagan and his cult of followers.

Invoking Reagan means they don't know have any other arguments left to stand on.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

Stalin, the Red Chinese in Tibet, The North Koreans are all examples of persecution of other religions when atheism becomes the official state religion.

Statements like "reincarnation is nonsense" are, I believe - and have good reason to think - uninformed and uninquiring - if not also defensively hostile.

Anyway, I didn't want to start a bunch of shit about this but I couldn't leave it go I believe - that means I believe I have good reason to think - that we're not exactly incarnated with all our memories of previous incarnations but that we have them if our physical limitations do prevent us from accessing them. The disembodied soul has all those memories and somewhat of an omniscience - if not a complete omniscience.

Anyway, that's what I believe. I don't think I need to have everybody agree with what I believe. That's what people of "faith" do because they're really arguing with themselves and need to eradicate every doubt. I could make a lot of similarly nasty statements about the beliefs of atheists if I chose to, simply because they differ from or contradict mine, but I don't want to go down that path (any more than I already did - if that's what I did).

What I really want to talk about that's off topic is this woman shilling for the meat industry today on Thom's show willfully conflating "vegetarian" with "organic" so that she could say that poor people can't afford to be vegetarian when, in fact, that's a cheaper way to eat. It's not at all necessary to eat organic to be vegetarian. That was a typical, big business, PR and marketing fraud and she was with a typical PR firm created astro turf group, some kind of society of or society against "Alarmist Culture".

Also, now that we're living in a Nevil Shute novel, if we ever do get out of this we really should sue the hell out of the fossil fuel industry and take all their money giving it to social programs like we did the tobacco people. Like the tobacco industry, the fossil fuel industry knew darn well of the harm being caused by their products. Actually, that's why RFK junior is against pollution regulations and air safety standards because that just ends up being a liscence to pollute. Without the regulations we'd be able sue them under public nuisance law.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

"Well," says Palin, "we've had lots of prophets who have managed to convince an awful lot of people to believe in him/her (sorry AIW and DAM)."

Palin, it sounds as though you've misread me. I am not a committed believer in any particular concept of reality or consciousness, in the context of mortality; I simply prefer to keep an open mind while accepting the ambiguity that comes with not knowing the answers. I think Mark Saulys makes a very important point in stating that even atheists can be dogmatic and rigid in their beliefs, as intolerant of others whose beliefs differ from their own as subscribers to any religion. I'm no theist myself, as I've stated enough times, yet I'm not convinced that death is the end of all consciousness. Even my own first-hand experiences would suggest otherwise. I don't claim to know what the meaning or significance of those experiences was, but I can't dismiss them either.

I think it's very disrespectful to tell another person that his or her beliefs are just superstitious nonsense. You are entitled to your opinion of course, PD, but some thoughts are best kept to ourselves when they have the potential of invalidating or hurting someone else. I'm well aware of the horrendous persecution atheists and agnostics have suffered at the hands of religious fanatics through millennnia, and yes that angers me too, but it does not justify you or me telling Marc or Mark- or anyone- that their beliefs are rubbish, to be equated with Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. The people I tend to dismissively tag as "Bible thumpers" are those who don't respect the rights of folks like you and me; folks who can't subscribe to their religion or any religion. Freedom from religion is just as important as freedom of religion. It all boils down to acceptance and respect.

Just speaking for myself, when I was in Australia years ago and heard the aboriginal natives there talking about the "dream time" (or something like that), it really resonated with me. It reminded me of a time when I was very, very young, before kindergarten, when I used to dream with my eyes wide open. I had visions of things that appeared quite unworldly, yet were as vivid and seemingly real as anything in my immediate surroundings. For awhile I had physical and non-physical reality so confused, I could hardly tell one from the other. I even thought butterflies were visions, until one brushed against me crossing a path I was on. I've never forgotten that moment, obscure or inconsequential as it may sound, because for me it was such an epiphany.

Could it be that when we're so young, just newcomers to this plane of existence, we're still in touch with a dimension of reality from the "other side" that we come from at birth, and return to at the moment of death? I don't know, but it's kinda fun to speculate. You can dismiss this as hogwash, PD, but I can't.

When someone like Sandlewould mentions having had a near-death experience in childhood that changed her perspective on the "bigger picture", I am loathe to dismiss that as well. I've had a few people describe their near-death experiences to me through the years, and every one was profoundly impacted by it. Without exception, these were beautiful, life-altering events that changed them forever. Left them more spiritual, less fearful, more embracing and trusting of whatever fate awaits them. No harm in that, regardless of empirical fact or lack thereof… - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote DAnnemarc:belief in the spirit is something that cannot be empirically proven
And so therefore one cannot truthfully claim that it is a scientific fact...right? Scientific fact is all about empirical evidence.
Quote wikipedia:In science, empirical evidence is required for a hypothesis to gain acceptance in the scientific community. Normally, this validation is achieved by the scientific method of hypothesis commitment, experimental design, peer review, adversarial review, reproduction of results, conference presentation and journal publication. This requires rigorous communication of hypothesis (usually expressed in mathematics), experimental constraints and controls (expressed necessarily in terms of standard experimental apparatus), and a common understanding of measurement.

But then you said:

Quote DAnnemarc:I do not want to state that anything is fact that cannot be proven. Therefore I would prefer to keep it to simple science and mathematical discussion.

So, you mean to say that you don't mind using scientific terms, like DNA, in trying to suggest that empirically unproven ideas like reincarnation is a fact....just as long as we don't have to get so deeply analytical that it might jeopardize your point?

DAM, you obviously believe that you see a bit of truth in your model of clones or in songs by the drug-inspired Grateful Dead. But, I don't see how it is relevant to scientific facts. Some people think they see God when they partake of some drugs; other people think they see demons. Some people think that it enhances their art. But, it really doesn't say anything to scientific facts. I would guess that more people who have chosen to believe superstitious things in religion or through the use of drugs see way more Gods and Demons than most Scientists or people who don't use drugs. Why do people even take seriously people who take drugs whether it be a rock band or a religious shaman?


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote Mark Saulys:...Statements like "reincarnation is nonsense" are, I believe - and have good reason to think - uninformed and uninquiring - if not also defensively hostile.

Anyway, I didn't want to start a bunch of shit about this but I couldn't leave it go....

But Mark.... "didn't want to start a bunch of shit about this..."? It was you who re-posted my remarks so as to continue in this new post...not only that but you didn't practice what you had previously "happy talk"...remember? Do I sense a bit of hypocrisy here? It's ok when you do it but not when someone else does it? It looks like to me that it is you who are acting "defensively hostile". You don't think it is fair, that after you started the whole thing about reincarnation, that I should respond as to what I think about it?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Ken, I think it is very unfortunate how you persist in vilifying Latinos as "illegals" and job-swiping "aliens". This kind of talk is dehumanizing and racist, just the kind of toxic hate mongering Marc describes earlier in this thread (Post #7; "Tyranny 101"). Many of these people were born here, or arrived here with their families as very young children. What makes Obama's mass deportations so cruel is how they break up families, traumatizing and victimizing innocent kids who are then shoved into foster care after their parents are deported; or are deported themselves, forced into situations and environments where the customs and language are as alien to them as Greek to us. What you refuse to acknowledge or even recognize is the real source of the problem. As I tried explaining before, this upsurge in immigration is a direct consequence of NAFTA, which trashed Mexico's rural farming-based economy and left these multitudes suddenly destitute. All they're trying to do is feed themselves and their families. If you want to blame someone, then blame President Clinton! It was Clinton who laid out the red carpet for this job-killing trade policy. If fucking Obama succeeds at ramming the TPP down our throats, it will only get worse. - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: What I meant was... sorry about using the his/her reference...and it was only in jest. And I know that you are not a committed've said as much before. That was not what I was referring I just said. ;-}

You know, the Republicans push and shove and bully and then if you dare to shove back a little they scream bloody murder and try to make you feel guilty for being unfair. Look where we are now!

My whole life I've had to put up with the pushers and shovers and religious bullies who made me feel like I was an outcast for not believing their superstitions. Many of my atheist friends got the same schools where we not only HAD to say the pledge of allegiance but the damn Lords Prayer as well. We were forced to go to church and expected to be respectful to those hypocritical purveyors of nonsense...all the while knowing the history of the crusades and Torquemada and the inquistions.

Then the parents, the schools, the churches, the communities. and even our government were all forcing their nonsense on us. And we still have to put up with the proselytizing symbols of nonsense on our currency, pledge of allegiance, and sometimes public affairs. Our government still conducts religious nonsense sessions in congress...prayer breakfasts, etc. And they use religious lingo in opening those Congressional sessions.

And those damn religious nitwits still ring my door bell. Every time I go to the VA clinic, which fortunately is only once a year so far, they have racks of religious literature and/or some simpleton prancing around with a bible who approaches with some religious trinket. The plethora of religious proselytizer channels on Dish Network that hogs up the channels are another bugaboo.

What if atheists went around, door to door, trying to proselytize people into atheism? What if there were many..or, even one, atheist channel? The damn Christians would be so ticked off they'd raise hell. What if all those other things I mentioned were all done by atheists trying to proselytize people? The Christians would have a fit.

I don't believe that I should have to not express what I believe about these superstitious beliefs. They sure do express what they believe about atheists. "They will burn in hell won't they?"

If people continue to proselytize other people in a public forum with their religious, superstitious garbage then I should be just as able to tell people what I believe about their garbage. And, of course, they will not be deterred in telling me what they think about my "garbage" atheism beliefs...or, rather...non-beliefs...I'm sure. But these people will never give up...they have been at it for thousands of years trying to win converts to their ridiculous superstitions. And if subtle proselytizing doesn't work, they resort to other means, and they'd still burn people to the stake as heretics if they could.

nora's picture
nora 9 years 10 weeks ago

The behavior of the rightwing bigots -- DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH yet! -- is deplorable.

These bigots know very well that black slavery as an economic system was THE BASIS of the rapid success of the early USA. (By the way, this is something for which African-Americans have never received reparation as they should. And if anyone thinks the inequities are over, consider that after World War II, a million African-Americans returning from the war theaters were not allowed to participate in the benefits provided by the G.I. Bill and so -- through machinations by the bigots -- were effectively prevented from participating in the great growth of the post-WWII middle class!) And the business sector continues to rely on the African-American minority in the USA to keep labor costs low/unemployment high -- which means more profits for business! And now, since the phony "War on Drugs" instituted by a government whose own Executive Branch agencies like the military and CIA are responsible for importing drugs (facilitated by a corrupt banking system which launders drug money) and so on -- a new FOR-PROFIT PRISON SYSTEM has also been built on the exploitation and suffering of African-Americans.

The nerve of these bigots to make statements about people of color being the cause of our nation's economic problems. Not only do these bigots stand in the way of TRUE reforms and reparations, but, obviously from incidents like the ones described in Thom's blog above, THESE BIGOTS AND PREDATORS LOVE TO KICK THEIR VICTIMS WHEN THOSE VICTIMS ARE DOWN. This is intolerable and unacceptable. This abuse and exploitation MUST END.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: Would you feel the same way about Chinese workers displacing American workers? They have to eat too! 20,000,000 illegal Mexicans displacing American workers or 200,000,000 legal Chinese workers in China displacing American workers. Hmmm! It seems like both are displacing American workers but you are right...people just want to survive...feed their families. Should we have more empathy for Mexican or more for Chinese workers or should we empathize more for out-of-work American workers who also want to feed their families?

We know that the real unpatriotic, greedy criminals are the corporations and their shareholders.

Our companies set up shop over in other poor countries to exploit their labor and, as a result, they do get paid more than they would have without those jobs. And then, of course, inflation begins because now that they are able to buy more things, the merchants raise their prices. And that is what would happen here in the US, even, when minimum wage increases...or if anyone's wages trend up...merchants raise their prices. I'm sure the price of yachts and beach mansions have gone way up since the criminal elite has amassed so much wealth in the past decades or so.

That is actually happening in China right now. It happened in Mexico as well. They have malls in Guadalajara that sells clothes that were just as expensive as in the US. The high tech corporations that moved there caused inflation. Those employed by the high tech companies could afford the higher prices but most of the population was still stuck in poverty. Some of those companies moved out of Mexico and into the Far East where labor was even cheaper. And I personally know someone that worked for the same company I had to work at down there who thought he had a rosy future...just on the way...just bought a nice house...and then the company decides to move to the Philippines and China.

Of course, we can't blame people for doing anything they can to feed their families. We can blame the greedy corporations and their stock holders and the politicians who let these unpatriotic thieving corporations get by with their crimes against the people.

I didn't read Ken's piece as racist or anti-anything except anti-illegal workers... not so much that he was against people trying to feed their families but against the politicians who let them into the country. We certainly have to draw the line somewhere... whether it be at the Mexican/American border or the American/Chinese import/export portals.

This situation happened to Britain (caused by British politicians and wealthy investors...banks) prior to World War I. They saw the opportunity to make a bundle by importing cheap goods rather than support the goods produced by the farmers and factories in Britain. I'm not saying that it caused WWI...a lot of things caused WWI..but one bit on animosity between Britain and Germany was that Germany didn't have the problems that Britain had because they regulated banking and not only protected their farming and industrial sectors but the had very good company training on the high tech equipment of their day. It led to innovations in better steel for their battleships and they also switched to oil rather that coal...which made their war ships faster, more maneuverable, and could go longer without having to pull in to dock to refuel. Stuffy old Britain stayed with inferior steel and coal powered ships. Then there was the paranoia that Britain had because of that and because of the Berlin to Baghdad railway which would carry oil from the Middle East to Germany.

We are seeing a similar path by the US...weakening itself by wealthy money people sacrificing America's ability to have a strong industrial base...having to rely on other countries..especially China..for key products...even military necessities...missile parts...electronics...etc. And we are constantly bullying other countries to give up their raw materials and cheap labor. American infrastructure is falling apart...bridges...roads...etc. I don't think we have much longer before something like another world war breaks out. The US is putting undue pressure on Russia. Fomenting revolutions. It wouldn't take much for a spark one day to set it all off.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Palin, thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I'm not being sarcastic; I really do appreciate it, because it helps me better understand where you are coming from. Kinda reminds me of something I posted days ago, when I felt compelled to explain why bullying is such a trigger for me. We've all got our triggers.

I feel your pain and anger around this whole issue regarding religion; how it relates to much of the trauma you suffered as a child. I think it is totally disgusting what those people put you through. The U.S. happens to be the most religious goddam country in the developed world. There's a helluva lot of truth in the points you make. So much of religion is about power and control; not love, or inclusiveness, or compassion or empathy. Like you, I resent it like hell that religious dogma is written into language used in the context of governance and education, where it clearly doesn't belong. I couldn't begin to guess how many times I've ranted: "Can't you idiots tell the difference between a school (or courthouse or public square) and a friggin' church?!!" Creationism trumping science in public school bloody infuriates me. I could go on and on, as you have. We are totally on the same page, about all that stuff. I hold no animosity toward you or your world view. Quite the contrary, we share much of that in common.

My main point was, we need to rise above that shit and take the high road. We do this by respecting the beliefs held dear by our friends who are not out to oppress us, change us or break our spirits. Otherwise we're no better than the religious bullies and control freaks we've grown to hate so much. Mark Saulys says it as well as anyone: "Stalin, the Red Chinese in Tibet, The North Koreans are all examples of persecution of other religions when atheism becomes the official state religion." Point being, it doesn't matter what belief system is being shoved down people's throats; even atheism can become a means of oppression this way. People often react to oppression by becoming oppressors themselves. Look at how Israelis treat the Palestinians! Like Hitler's Nazis treated the Jews, to cite an extreme example.

I'm sincerely saddened to learn of the suffering and abuse you endured while growing up. You didn't deserve that. Nobody deserves that shit. We all have the right to decide, for ourselves, what rings true for us.

Peace, my friend. Sleep well. - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

Nora: Well said! And of course, there were other peoples, too, who were treated very badly...the Chinese who also largely built the national railroad system and other things. Of course, the Chinese were very smart and very good with money. Families clung together helping each other. In fact, many of the immigrants were treated virtually as slaves in sweat shops, mines, some of the dirtiest jobs. But I don't think any were treated as inhumanely as were the blacks.

There are several groups that never were very well compensated for: the American Indians, the Chinese for Operation Golden Lily, and the Japanese American citizens for the property stolen from them and their false imprisonment during WWII. The Jews got some of their property back after WWII.

The American Indians got herded onto reservations and now have legal concessions for fishing and casinos. The Chinese, whose national wealth in gold, jewelry and art was stolen by the Japanese during WWII, never got it back. The US and Marcos recovered most of it but never gave any back to the Chinese...they sure gave some back to the Japanese war criminals, though, and kept most of it to fight the cold war with the Soviet Union.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Palin, it's late and way past my bedtime, so I'll keep this brief. I believe that everyone, except the .00001% (Billionaire Welfare Queens), has been victimized by these evil so-called trade policies. Working people and poor people are not to blame, regardless of national origin.

Read Ken's post again. It's all about "illegals", Mexicans, Latinos... with nary any mention of the real culprits: politicians who've systematically screwed them, and us, over the past three decades or more. I'm tired of people dissing these poor displaced, destitute Mexicans, robbed of their livelihoods by NAFTA. Blaming the victims just doesn't cut it for me, Palin. If we're going to "draw the line", let's draw it where it counts: for these wealthy bums who are robbing us all, while pitting us against each other over the spoils. Mexican workers are not the enemy.

Anywayyyy... good night, comrades! Sleepy tight! - AIW

Loremaster's picture
Loremaster 9 years 10 weeks ago

Why are you guys trolling??? This is not even the discussion!!!

Regardless, many have travelled to Haiti and found many things science can not prove to be True!

On topic, there is a major problem in the Black Community; to say they are Oppressed is no more vividly shown than in the Native American community, which been "allowed" to "enter" one single industry; Gambling Casino's. And there has been A demonization of that. In a way it's a bad thing that the States are United, now one group controls everything!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Loremaster, this blog is indeed an open forum for everyone who wishes to participate. But frankly, I don't appreciate newcomers barging in here, seemingly out of nowhere, to accuse us of "trolling". Before you make such an accusation, I suggest you review Mr. Hartmann's terms & conditions for participating; specifically the part that defines trolling, because that is not what's going on here.

I think it's ridiculous to flat-out deny that black people and native Americans are oppressed as minority groups, or to imply that racism is no longer an issue in this country. Yes, it's true that some native Americans have benefitted enormously from gambling casinos. But it is also true that huge numbers of these people remain stuck in reservations to this day, living in squalor, who haven't seen one thin dime of casino cash.

Now, I'm no fan of gambling or casinos! But no way am I gonna begrudge those native Americans who are benefitting from this. In light of the harm gambling has brought certain people in this society, and (arguably) to society itself, I tend to think of the gambling buiz as a form of "Montezuma's revenge". Look what colonization has done to them!

As for the topic of the day, it is not unusual for people to stray off topic, especially when there's an ongoing discussion left over from a previous thread. This happens all the time. But it does not fit the definition of trolling. - AIW

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

You should find out, Palin, about the scientific evidence for the supernatural before saying there is none.

I can assure you, as you can see - or as some might say, as you are demonstrating - that this is not a "happy talk" subject. Some of the most acrimonious debates on the member blogs of this web site have been about this subject.

But let's get back on topic - if nobody minds. Reagan gave voice to what many white people had been thinking forever and were just beginning to get over. I.e., he exploited antiquated racial animosity to divide the working class and scapegoat them for any problems in society, which is an antiquated political tactic. William Faulkner, who came from a family of slave owners, desccribed more or less explicitly the strategy of fomenting racism among the poor "white trash" to divide the poor in the Reconstruction South to keep their dominance. r

Until the '80s we were a middle class society, there was very little poverty. What poverty there was was mainly race based, i.e., was largely the result of racial discrimination. The Republican strategy of blaming African-Americans for poverty was part of their strategy of exploiting already existing racism to villify and stigmatize poverty and the poor. This eventually created a great status insecurity among white middle class and even poor Americans and caused them to want to identify with the rich and by no means with the poor. It caused them to deny their relative political economic disadvantage and their suckering by the wealthy and to imagine themselves individualistically potent, "temporarily inconvenienced billionaires". The divisive Republican strategy and the resulting mentality of class and status insecurity made near impossible any class consciousness or unity or solidarity amongst working and middle class Americans.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

Loremaster: Although you did finish up your comments with "on topic" view points...You did add to the trolling with your comment about Haiti. That's kind of like accusing, then doing what you accuse others of doing, then ducking yourself. ie: "Regardless, many have travelled to Haiti and found many things science can not prove to be True!"

Like what? Voodoo? Dead chicken rituals? Zombies? Science cannot prove or disprove ridiculous superstitious beliefs. Like, you cannot prove or disprove the existance of God, or Satan, or Demons, or Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny if people are bent on believing those things despite all the Scientific evidence that detracts from them. Superstitious beliefs are not 'falsifiable'. There is no way to convince people, who persist in these superstitious beliefs, that their beliefs are not true, ie: based in reality, no matter what scientific evidence is presented that would disprove those beliefs.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: I certainly agree with all of what you just said #38.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

By the way Nora, great post! Right on, sister. I made a similar argument on another blog months ago; one that followed an article about the Zimmerman trial. That blog was full of ignorant white trash posting dumb-ass, broad-stroke comments about blacks. For me it was a rude, sobering glimpse at the racism that prevails in America to this day, which I found very disheartening. The condescension, mean-spiritedness and crudeness of those posts horrified me; a virtual tidal wave of stupidity and ugliness. I can only argue with these nitwits for so long before a sense of futility sets in; then I've gotta bail, if only to preserve my sanity. "Stupid is as stupid does", as ole Forrest Gump used to say.

Sure made me appreciate the general caliber of participants here! Most people posting on Thom's blog have way more on the ball than the vast majority of other blogs I've seen. You, Nora, make an excellent example of this disparity. It's why I've kept coming back here. I don't tend to last long on other blogs; I burn out on them very quickly. - Alice I.W.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

Mark Saulys: "Scientific evidence for the supernatural"? Gods, Devils, demons, magic, leprechauns, ghosts, zombies, lucky rabbit's feet, broken mirrors, spilled salt, flying carpets...all manner of hocus pocus? You can believe whatever you want but I prefer to not believe in those things because there is just no good reason to do so. In my opinion, they are detrimental to good mental health. There have been a number of exorcisms that have ended up killing the subjects...and many of those were done by mothers upon their children who they believed to be possessed of the devil.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

Part of the problem is that when working class people move into the middle class they more or less naturally, without any help, tend to stop thinking of themselves as "working people". Now they are home owners, property owners, sometimes landlords, owners of income properties. Often they start small businesses, bars, restaurants, etc. and become employers. They invest in the stock market.

Pat Brown, Governor Jerry Brown's father and previous governor of California, in a book about Ronald Reagan, back when Reagan was running for governor in that state, wrote that the Democratic Party was a victim of its own success. It moved the working class out of povrty, brought the United States out of the Great Depression and built the care free, opulent society and the opulent blue collar middle class. What happens when people start making money? As my friend who made $50,000 a year as a Teamster truck driver and who invests in the stock market said, "They start buying stock and voting Republican.".

Saul Alinsky described this phenomenon as he observed it in the poor stockyards laborers he organized. Initially they were poor, beat down, kicked around, had low self esteem and little sense of entitlement or of their ability to improve their lot. They crafted a manifesto for their new organization. In it they declared that all men are brothers regardless of race, color, creed or social economic status.
Then what happened was that they won. They gained power, got a better deal and moved into a new little subdivision in Bridgeport, a neighborhood right next door to but a step or half a step above the Back of the Yards neighborhood where they started. They, all 200 or so of them, moved right next door to each other in the new subdivision of nice, new, lower middle class houses in two rows on the same block. No sooner had that happenned than they started talking about, "We don't want 'these people' or 'those kinda people' coming around or moving into the neighborhood.
A similar thing happened with the radicals of the '60s. When they were students it was easy and fun to figure out and point out what was wrong with society and what needed to be changed. Then they graduated, started making money and suddenly had a lot invested in the status quo, and so, they started humming the bourgeois tune.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

I have a Puerto Rican friend here in Chicago whose brother broke every bone in his arms in an accident and his mother had him cured, completely, by a "voo doo" - or Santerian - healer.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

I suggest you read about the work of George Gallup jr., the statistician and son of the founder of Gallup, inc., the polling and demographic research firm, studying the near death experience or the work of hypnotherapists on past life regression or the documentation of Edgar Cayce's clairevoyance or the work of anthropologists in the study of religious practices and spiritualism in technologically primitive cultures.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

And how long did that "healing" take? About as long as it would have healed normally? Or did it "miraculously" heal within seconds, or minutes, or hours, or just a few days? Was there anything "supernatural" about the "healing"? There are always unsupported claims made by people who believe in these things. And other people fall for them.

I've seen videos of a man, I believe it was related to VooDoo, who claimed he had healing powers do an operation on a person who, it was claimed, had a demon tumor in his belly.

The man used no surgical instruments but did a bunch of ritualistic nonsense before he used one hand placed upon the belly and the other hand pretending to dig deep into the belly with his fingers of the other hand. The whole penetration was hidden by the other hand. Blood seeps out from under the hands and when the man withdrew the offending demon appeared as a disgusting looking bloody mass.

The man then rubbed the area of the penetration and then wiped away the blood where it showed no opening..completely healed. It looked very surreal. But it turned out that the man had worn a false thumb containing the tumor and blood over his real thumb.

There is usually a lot of hocus pocus trickery by these people to fool gullible people...usually out of their money. And there are an endless number of "miraculous", and unsupported, undocumented, claims that people pass on to others. It just isn't science! Gotta go for now...later.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

I wasn't witness to it but it was reportedly pretty instant and such breakage doesn't heal without bones being set properly first. And the woman (Santeria is not a modern, patriarchal religion) used no surgical instruments but did a lot of "ritualistic nonsense". This would be in line with the reports of anthropologists who study and observe faith healing in technologically primitive cultures.

Of course there is never a shortage of charlatans and frauds, anywhere, to opportunize on anything, but that's irrelevant to what we're talking about.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

Don't forget it was NAFTA that exponentially increased the number of undocumented workers from Central America wiping out the small farmers at the same time American factories were moving out of Mexico and into China.

Every rich country always has large numbers of poor, undocumented workers from neighboring poor countries. They're economic refugees not thieves. After all, they're only killing themselves through the desert to get a minnimum wage job here.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Thank you, Mark. I keep pointing out the true source of the problem behind the increased migration of undocumented workers in this country, seemingly to no avail. Some people just want to blame the victims of bad trade policies rather than the politicians responsible for those policies. It really sickens me. But let's face it; it's so much easier to dump on the most powerless, vulnerable people in society who lack the means to fight back.

And why aren't these same complainers bitching about employers who persist in exploiting undocumented workers, profiting from a bad situation?! Seems to me that illegal employers are the problem more than illegal workers. Thom Hartmann has also made this point, hundreds of times. But as usual, scapegoating prevails nonstop while emotion trumps logic. Oh well... - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 9 weeks ago

On immigration again I have to side with Ken. I seriously doubt that he has any hatred for Mexicans, Blacks, Chinese, or any other minority; and, I don't mean to speak for him. It is just a fact that until we get our own house in order it is not wise to invite guests. The current policy makers do not appear to consider basic economic theory. If the labor force is increased wages go down. If wages go down, demand goes down. You can't sell without demand. You cannot increase demand without increasing wages. The only way to cure our current economic woes are by increasing wages. You have to increase jobs and decrease labor to increase wages. Yet current economic policy is to decrease jobs and increase labor. That is a double threat. The sum total of this policy will reduce wages--thus demand--and in turn destroy the economy.

Tyranny 101 ~ Get the people to attack each other. Minorities are the major victims of labor exploitation. Therefore if you want to sow discord you create the illusion that minorities are creating the problem. People who are sympathetic to minorities will attack anyone who seems to be attacking minorities. Always remember that this is exactly what our real enemies want us to do. It takes a constant effort to remember that we are all being played. When emotions flare people tend to think with their emotions and not their brains. We must be very careful of this because we are a very racially divided nation; and, as such, our enemies will use this fact to their advantage. We must think before we react. That requires a cool head and a total understanding of the con that is being pulled over our collective eyes. Our policy is the problem; not any of our brothers in labor. Let us remember that. Let us also remember that united we stand, divided we fall!

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

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Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

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From Screwed:
"The powers that be are running roughshod over the powers that OUGHT to be. Hartmann tells us what went wrong — and what you and I can do to help set American right again."
Jim Hightower, National Radio Commentator, Writer, Public Speaker, and author of the bestselling Thieves in High Places
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen
From Screwed:
"Hartmann speaks with the straight talking clarity and brilliance of a modern day Tom Paine as he exposes the intentional and systematic destruction of America’s middle class by an alliance of political con artists and outlines a program to restore it. This is Hartmann at his best. Essential reading for those interested in restoring the institution that made America the envy of the world."
David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning and When Corporations Rule the World