I have blogged and blogged on this subject and have been puzzled and disheartened at the lack of response. What is wrong with you, what is wrong with the general public, what is wrong with the 99 per centers? Is it stupidity as suggested in another of Elliot's recent blogs? Look, this is the single most pressing, most urgent problem facing the nation. Unless this grave and growing disparity in wealth can be corrected you can just forget the rest.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/03/21/186175/commentary-concentration-of-wealth.html#emlnl=Daily_News_Update

Commentary: Concentration of wealth with the 1% is too profound to ignore

“These days (Hedrick) Smith is out with “Who Stole the American Dream?” — an account that describes the dismantling of the middle class. Smith trots out a set of numbers that quickly cut to the chase:

• Since 2008, corporate profits have risen 20.1 percent a year. Meanwhile, average family incomes rose just 1.4 percent annually.

• In 2011, the top 1 percent captured not just 100 percent of the nation’s growth, but 114 percent. That means the other 99 percent actually lost ground.

So people in the middle are stuck like dead skunks in the middle of the road. Citigroup, an organization not prone to hyperbole, declared that the inequality of income in this nation is the greatest since 16th century Spain.

Comments

holymoly's picture
holymoly 6 years 47 weeks ago
#1

Alberto,

George Carlin sums it up so nicely in 3 minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

telliottmbamsc's picture
telliottmbamsc 6 years 47 weeks ago
#2

Hey AL don't be directing any snark my way!

At least I'm out here making noise!

Zenzoe 6 years 47 weeks ago
#3

Alberto, perhaps you haven't noticed the many Message Board conversations on the subject, including mine: http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2013/03/best-video-yet-shows-wealth-in... (I didn't realize it had gone on so long without me, so I'll have to return.)

I notice you don't join us much "up there" in Messageboardland. Why is that?

Holymoly, I love George too, and that clip was one of his best. Totally refreshing. I miss him so much. "It's called the 'American Dream' 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it."

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 47 weeks ago
#4
Quote holymoly:

George Carlin sums it up so nicely in 3 minutes.

Thanks, holymoly, that clip is beautiful. One little quibble - i've thought that the plutocrats have deliberately used Social Security to deflect attention from their thievery. If most of the people are so incensed - so up in arms - about a bogus problem it takes pressure and attention off the 1%. It's a hoax, a red herring, and just about the entire nation has fallen for it. Just remember, for example, how much time Bernie Sanders and Thom have wasted on Social Security when they might have focused on much graver, far more urgent problems.

Elliot, I thought I'd given you a nice plug.

Zenzoe, I prefer this forum,even with its flaws. I can't keep up with both..

A question for all:

Did any of you vote for an incumbernt? Did any of you vote for a Republican? Either is (was) a vote for Wall Street and the rich.

This is the third or fourth time I've posted the following but I think it's worth still another repeat. Since the first of my posts on this subject one or two more countries have opted for a wealth tax:

I’m convinced that perpetual war (perpetual killing) is the only thing keeping the U.S. economy afloat, an economy from which only the rich and powerful profit. Revolution may be the last hope but these days revolution appears impossible. A national work stoppage - nobody, but nobody working with everyone in the streets - would be enough to do it but where is the leader capable and willing to take charge?

The OWS movement should have had one objective, ONLY ONE, a permanent, not temporary, wealth tax coupled with an end to unjustifiable inheritance of millions and billions by one or two who have done absolutely nothing to earn it. These two measures would put an end to the worst of the obscene and growing inequity.

Articles from The New Statesman and The Independent:

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/employment/2012/08/what-can-iceland-teach-us-about-wealth-tax

Furthermore, in an effort to raise income without affecting consumption, the government implemented an emergency wealth tax rate for the period of 2010-2013. As of January 2011, one year after introduction, the tax rate is 1.5 per cent of net capital for single individuals with more than ISK 75,000,000 (£390,000) or 100,000,000 (£519,000) for married couples. By taxing the top 2.2 per cent of the population, the Icelandic government was able to raise 0.3 per cent of GDP in revenue every year.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-politics-to-be-sure-but-a-wealth-tax-merits-a-look-8092586.html

Leading article: Politics to be sure, but a wealth tax merits a look

In their liability to tax, it seems, the rich are still different from the rest of us

Thursday 30 August 2012 That there was a doubtless tactical dimension to the Deputy Prime Minister's proposal does not mean, however, that the idea deserves to be dismissed as no more than cynical politicking. It can reflect political calculation and still have merit. And the concept of a temporary wealth tax is worth more than a cursory glance, not least because it will test whether there is finally an appetite in Government for tackling a long-standing conundrum. If, as it appears, raising income tax above a certain level results in no more – or maybe less – revenue for the Treasury, because the wealthy can move their income around in a way that others cannot, how can any government extract more money from those most able to afford it? Wealth has always been adept at seeking out the most profitable and secure home; increasing income tax, it can be argued, simply increases the incentive for the highest earners to shop around.

DdC's picture
DdC 6 years 47 weeks ago
#5

George Carlin should get a statue or memorial or something. Hell they named an airport after Rayguns and he gutted the control tower.

As for Fascism and that clearly is what it is. We've been living under it for over 2000 years since the Romans invented it. Just because the internet gives us access to truthful information letting us discover it is fascism. Doesn't mean we have to freak out over it.

The Ganjawar is a microcosm of events going down in today's middle class world. Now the "normal" people are seeing what we have been living with over 40 years since Nixon's big lie. The only way to deal with this beast is to starve it, by purchasing local products and organic food and hemp. Removing cannabis as a bogus schedule#1 narcotic will by pass Wall St and the Walmartians with renewable resources and poison free products. Until then the MSM will gossip and lie and trolls will divert attention and the dumbing down of Americans will continue. Censored school books, or the "programmed" media keeps most content to avoid reality. Most politicians today go into it for the bennies and kickback and hopes of future lobby jobs.

The incentives have changed for Americans from solving our problems to "treating" them with for profit solutions, sometimes shelving problems that could be solved to let profits continue as with fossil fools shelving solar panels or timber for paper and wood and crude oil plastic or cardboard crap and frankenfoods. Also keeping us dumbed down via lack of nutrition. Not the case with hempseed and oil, but then its illegal to grow here.

So kill your TV and eat healthy and most of the drama unfolding won't reach your home. Most of the drama is made for TV and to drive fear into the hearts of the people. To justify their for profit wars and prohibitions and stupid health care stism. Profits have replaced necessity as the mother of invention. Treatments have replaced cures and prevention for the same reasons. Fascism is all around us. Nothing to fear. Fascism in and of itself is not the real problem, its the violence and caging and sickness, but that is due to profiteers greed more than fascism itself. Every home, school and workplace employs fascism. No one lets their kids vote on bedtime, or homework or pay raises. Its dictated by a designated dictator, be-it your parents, teachers or bossman. Legalizing cannabis will take away a major tool of the elite and give we the people a staple that built this country.

High on Hemp

I was going to reply to Call Your Congressmen or Women . . . Fascists, but it works here too...

The Patriot Ax was written by Bill Clinton. Protested out of implementation by none other than John Ashcroft. It was Junior who enacted it after 911. Paul Wellstone was doused with Monsanto pesticides sprayed on Colombian farm kids as he was evaluating the US presence there. Clintons decision to ask Congress for allocations, that they granted. Covering up security for Al Gores Occidental Oil wells. Paul never made it to testify. John Lennon was shot right before Reagan was selected. Enron bought up CA power stations and took them off line causing brown outs, price gouging electricity and an end to Gray Davis and a way to bring in Aunuld. Same tactic Rockefeller used to rid the world of electric trollies replacing them with his fossil fooled buses. So yes fascism is real and it is here. But just because the internet gives us info to prove it. Doesn't mean it will end. Its a way of life.

Paul Wellstone

40 Years of Drug War Failure Represented in a Single Chart

Nixon's Treason
Nixon lied to schedule Ganja #1
While Nixon Campaigned, FBI Watched John Lennon
R.I.P. John Lennon
Nixon's Drug War - Re-Inventing Jim Crow,
Targeting The Counter Culture

The Enron, Bush, Baker, Rockefeller connection

PATRIOT Ax Targeted Drug Offenders
Bush Cabal Hides Patriot II Police State in HR2417

They want to ██████ the Internet

The inbedwith dis-infotainment: Gaza

Freedom of the Press Foundation

Long before I got involved with the cannabis and hemp movement Rockefeller and Hearst inculcated their crude oil and Dupont's fiber onto the scene eliminating cannabis competition with the Marihuana Tax Act. Even before that Rockefeller and Hearst created the booze prohibition to eliminate farmers growing their own tractor fuel, distilling it from crop remnants. Large donations expanding their propaganda wing The Womans Christian Temperance league. Although as Lincoln said temperance is not prohibition. The Temperance League wanted to stop kids in bars and domestic violence from drunks and stop public intoxication. No one was arrested for illegal drinking as the feds have no jurisdiction over individuals growing their own reasonable amount of stash. When Hearst had his revelation that prohibition the great noble experiment was a failure. He shifted directions with his headlines now condemning prohibition and the end came 10 years after it started. Enough time to implement Rockefellers crude oil gasoline stations and to this day outlaw farmers from distilling their own ethanol. Rudolph Diesel invented his engine to run on peanut oil. Veggies vs OPEC, carbs vs hydrocarbons. Renewable nature vs non renewable synthetics.

Why Do You Think They Call it DOPE?
* Cannabis Hemp: The Invisible Prohibition Revealed
* The Elkhorn Manifesto
* Marijuana and Hemp: The Untold Story
* The Nation of Apathetic Puppets By John Pilger
* Maintaining Dysfunction

Al Capone and Watergate were red herrings
to divert the countries attention from the
Fascist acts of eliminating competition.
Booze/Ethanol or Ganja//Hemp.

Jack Herer’s “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”

Then you could go back to the East India Bay Company actually putting up most of the funds for the revolutionary war. Not a charitable event. They didn't want to pay England taxes on surplus grown in the states. Otherwise we'd be speaking cockney. So fascism has been here since the Romans invented it. The Roman Christians were probably the first official fascist bunch to this day they reside in Rome. One problem is due to censorship in school books and the corporate media we were taught that all this middle class was from hard work and morals. We were hoodwinked into buying crap food that makes us sick. Pollution that makes us sick. Even medicine that makes us sick and it all requires more white powders. While outlawing a plant that might take from their profits. Fossil fools and the Banksters backing them are who run the country. But like any staple, eliminating it might bring harm to those dependent on it. Especially without an infrastructure to change too. Biodiesel or Biomass and carbohydrate plastic over hydrocarbons are good ideas and healthier choices.

Hemplastic
or Fossil Fools Crud

Help Stop the Monsanto Protection Act
Cloning's ok, just don't smoke a doobie...

As it stands we are addicted to the fossil fools and killing the fascists won't improve our situation. By legalizing cannabis, Ganja and Hemp we can start to wean ourselves from these toxic environments of the status quo. Without cannabis there is no viable replacement so all the hollering in the world won't stop apathetic citizens from continuing with what works and is cheap for them. Even if they find out its by fascists and potentially harmful to their kids. Its like asking a someone to blow whistles when they know it will cost them their jobs. Integrity doesn't feed the children or pay the mortgage. Homeless deter whistle-blowers for the same reason. Same reason people crawl into denialism, to avoid reality. And these are the prohibitionists afraid I might get high? They're living Libertopia Island.

No, thats just what they'll be expecting us to do...

Profit is behind prohibitions and fascism. IGFarben gave 30% of his profits to Hitler but made a fortune on the war. Drug Czars get rich on pisstasting and rehabilitation asylums the same as Koch gets $30-$50k tax dollars to cage someone. Paying back 35% in taxes making politicians happy. So the incentive is making it better to incarcerate than hanging out or even working minimum wages. Being busted is simply a means to an end. Killing the middle class by gutting tax to peoples services leaves tax for more mindless wars. Actually police actions both foreign and abroad interfering in civil wars and tribal disputes just to take a side and sell more weapons, grunt hours and keep it from us. When Junior proclaimed "Mission Accomplished" he then gave haliburden a no bid contract along with Condi's chevron and his daddy's Dear Dyncorps. At that instant he ended a congressionally sanctioned non profit "war" and made it a for profit "police action". Same as Vietnam, Kosovo and Korea most Vets know are wars by any true definition. Just business. Nothing personal except to the persons. Not the brick, drywall and mortar corporation persons. That is who the Neoconfederacy worship.

Ganja 4 PTSD & Depression
Granny Storm Crow's MMJ List
Ancient Temple Hashish Incense! Did Jesus Inhale?
Theoriology is Theoriology
Blasphemy and The Tree of Life
World's Oldest Marijuana Stash
Atheists Nudge out Nativity

Same with Americans like Henry Ford and Rockefeller. Ford produced a car made from soy and hemp and ran on ethanol. Ready for the market when booze prohibition eliminated ethanol and hemp prohibition eliminated or heavily deterred growing his car. Nixon actually outlawed hemp growing in 1972, lumping it into the controlling substances Ax.. So today we wonder and ask unanswered questions why fascists democrats and republicans argue and hiss at each other, but for the most part work for the same neocons and their fascism. Koch's are the latest but not unique, original or relevant outside of illiterate corners, now buying up media to sway opinions as Monsanto did with prop 37. But I ask, if you're dumb enough to listen to Monsanto, don't you deserve their crap? Who are we trying to protect, doorknobs? Aren't there higher priorities than the same corporations starving the same billions of people decade after decade. Dems whine and GOPerverts deny and the beat goes on. Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain. La de da de de, la de da de da.

Corporate Welfare Rats
Strong corporate profits amid weak economy? Outsourcing!

They're the rug-rats of the conglomerate creators. Spoiled, mean, greedy and arrogant. The rich of the Me Generation? "What did you expect? "Welcome, sonny"? "Make yourself at home"? "Marry my daughter"? The rich of the Me Generation believe we are just simple farmers. The people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." ~ Mostly Blazing Saddles. (1974) They really are above the law and the ones with the nukes side with them. The beast ain't going down with a few punches and even mass protests fall on brick, drywall and mortar's ears. Again removing cannabis as a controlled substance will localize profits and create a renewable infrastructure town by town. By passing the Walmartians and Pentagon. Starving the beast back to a manageable tool. For mankind, not just Madison Ave and K St.

ALEC, the Koch Brothers Led CABAL
NRA History of Mandatory Minimums

I might add that fascism is an extension of capitalism and the opposite distribution system of communism, also an extension of capitalism. Both sides want control of the capital. Where as humans require basic sustenance as guaranteed by the Constitution. Food, shelter, clothing, health care and transportation or a way of obtaining the sustenance. Money is one way the fascists want to keep. Growing food is another. The fascist want everything going to them and no tax to we the people. That is the greed factor the children of the yuppies seek. Tax to corporations fighting wars or prohibitions and crime or sickness is good. Norquest doesn't hate taxes, just tax going to the peoples needs or safety nets. Like the Ganjawar, the prohibitionists act like they're in the airplane movie. Logic and Common sense do not apply.

Where are all of the Taxbaggers and Norquest?
Billions in Tax funds spent each year, nothing said. State rights over ruled by the Feds, nothing said. Now the US has to bow down to UN laws? Taking profits from businesses wanting to grow Hemp. The Neocons seem a tad cornfused on their own philosophy...

So don't be discouraged with the thought of living under fascism. You always have, just didn't know it. Every family, school and work place runs on fascism. No kid votes on bedtime or homework assignments or pay raises. Its by a dictator. Your parents, teacher or boss. Our power lies in our consumptions. Organic locally grown and as stated Hemp would eliminate many fascist profits on Wall St. by the Walmartians. Ganja would circumvent Wall St big pharma and booze infrastructures made of steel and concrete. Same with the highways and vehicles, all could be made with renewable resources instead of the nonrenewable poisons we presently use. Cheer up, its 4:20 somewhere on the planet.

4/20 2013: Worldwide Marijuana Rally List Mar 16 2013

About Ashcroft

Ganjawar Puppets Cave... again
Canada's Supremes Cower Under DEAth Threats

Clinton Asks Supreme Court To Overturn MMJ Ruling
Clinton Quiet About Own Radical Ties

Here is some history, imho Clinton teamed with elder Bush in Berkeley in the early 70's, getting info from Hilary and her law firm defending militant antiwar groups. With his foot in the CIA door he went to oxford narking out groups. Then the youngest governor of Arkansas, coincidentally the place and same time Bush was having cocaine dropped by Bobby Sands to create Iran Contra and fund the nistas. 30,000 dead and the largest punishment doled out for the fascists was a $50 fine for General Secord. Ollie got a job with fox, Negroponte got a cabinet position. Bush successfully went around Congress when they rejected his request to fund the contras. Bush has been CIA since he started Dyncorps in the 50's along with a few other wealthy vets. As with the selection 2000 and the Koch's, the end justify the means and lies are only a means, nothing personal. They lie, cheat and steal to perpetuate profits. If they don't get elected they don't remove regulations curtailing profits. Not too complicated. Just confusing, on purpose.

Tell Congress: We Need Jobs, Not Cuts
Ending D.E.A.th & Pillage Incrementally
Follow CA or Bust'

Chevron’s SF Bay oil refinery fire v Hemp
Poor Community Still Sickened by Chevron Refinery Fire
Chevron’s Dirty Legacy Felt from Brazil to the Bay Area
Navy Ship Crashes Into Oil Tanker
Chevron subpoenas non-profit for defending the Rainforest

...and the beat goes on. and the beat goes on.
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain.
La de da de de, la de da de da.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 47 weeks ago
#6

We've got to read, read, read and then read some more if we expect to keep up with the times. Anyone of reasonable intelligence who has access to the Internet has no viable excuse for ignorance these days. Here are two articles on wealth tax, one from a leftward leaner, the other from a conservative. Do take time out to read them. Or you could click on this search address for a good many opinions and articles, both pro and con:

http://www.google.com.mx/search?hl=es&as_q=wealth+tax&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&as_qdr=m&as_sitesearch=&as_occt=any&safe=images&as_filetype=&as_rights=

Here are the two essays:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/19/opinion/to-reduce-inequality-tax-wealth-not-income.html

To Reduce Inequality, Tax Wealth, Not Income

By DANIEL ALTMAN

Published: November 18, 2012

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203462304577139232881346686.html

The Conservative Case for a Wealth Tax

January 9, 2012

By RONALD MCKINNON

“A modest levy on the overall wealth of the very rich would allow lower incentive-distorting income tax rates for them and everyone else.

Another advantage of a modest wealth tax, in contrast to high marginal income-tax rates, is that it would hit old wealth along with new wealth. Wealthy people living off their inheritances who are not affected much by the income tax would be hit relatively harder by a wealth tax, whereas "strivers" with higher wage and salary income would be hit less hard. This is especially true if marginal income-tax rates could be reduced because of revenue generated from a new wealth tax.”

Zenzoe 6 years 47 weeks ago
#7

Just wondering... I take it from your post that you're frustrated and desperate for solutions to the problems you find most important. When others don't respond, or when others focus on other things, you feel alone in your concerns, and that pisses you off. Maybe, though I'm only guessing, you feel like a lone voice in the wilderness, if you'll pardon the cliché.

Here's a toast to finding allies and making a difference in the world.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 47 weeks ago
#8
Quote Zenzoe:

...pisses you off. Maybe, though I'm only guessing, you feel like a lone voice in the wilderness, if you'll pardon the cliché.

Here's a toast to finding allies and making a difference in the world.

I'm not exactly desperate and pissed off, Zenzoe - more bewildered and frustrated as so many thoughtful and concerned people have always been and are now. I'm fully aware of the absurdity, the hopelessness of trying to educate those who obstinately refuse to learn. The rational thing would be to just forget it and concentrate on selfish pursuits. However, not being always rational:

This Bertrand Russell address dates from 1922, ninety years ago, but age has only served to make its ideas even more relevant today. You can read its few pages in a short time, but the ideas contained in those few pages could profitably be studied and pondered throughout a lifetime. I’ve copied and pasted a few paragraphs but only to get you interested enough to read the entire essay. Take the time, read all of it - free of charge - right here:

http://archive.org/stream/freethoughtoffic00russuoft/freethoughtoffic00russuoft_djvu.txt

FREE THOUGHT AND OFFICIAL PROPAGANDA

DELIVERED AT SOUTH PLACE INSTITUTE ON MARCH 24, 1922 BY The Hon. BERTRAND RUSSELL, M.A., F.R.S.

Perhaps someday the teachers and students of the ordinary school and college subjects may learn something from those little isolated institutions where men and women try to prepare themselves for the creative arts. The young painter or sculptor or member of a group of young poets is often queerly ignorant and one-sided. But he lives in another world from that of the big conventional sixth-form boy at Harrow or St. Paul's, or the hockey-playing athlete of a girls' High School, because he has felt the pain and the exhilaration reached through pain by which alone new truth and new beauty are born into the world.

-----

In science, where alone something approximating to genuine knowledge is to be found, men's attitude is tentative and full of doubt. In religion and politics, on the contrary, though there is as yet nothing approaching scientific knowledge, everybody considers it de rigueur to have a dogmatic opinion, to be backed up by inflicting starvation, prison, and war, and to be carefully guarded from argumentative competition with any different opinion. If only men could be brought into a tentatively agnostic frame of mind about these matters, nine-tenths of the evils of the modern world would be cured. War would become impossible, because each side would realize that both sides must be in the wrong. Persecution would cease. Education would aim at expanding the mind, not at narrowing it. Men would be chosen for jobs on account of fitness to do the work, not because they flattered the irrational dogmas of those in power. Thus rational doubt alone, if it could be generated, would suffice to introduce the millennium.

-----

Apparently it has not occurred to any one that a '* good American," like a "good German" or a "good Japanese," must be, pro tanto, a bad human being. A "good American" is a man or woman imbued with the belief that America is the finest country on earth, and ought always to be enthusiastically supported in any quarrel. It is just possible that these propositions are true ; if so, a rational man will have no quarrel with them. But if they are true, they ought to be taught everywhere, not only in America. It is a suspicious circumstance that such propositions are never believed outside the particular country which they glorify. Meanwhile the whole machinery of the State, in all the different countries, is turned on to making defenceless children believe absurd propositions the effect of which is to make them willing to die in defence of sinister interests under the impression that they are fighting for truth and right. This is only one of countless ways in which education is designed, not to give true knowledge, but to make the people pliable to the will of their masters. Without an elaborate system of deceit in the elementary schools it would be impossible to preserve the camouflage of democracy.

-----

I believe there are still some people who think that a democratic State is scarcely distinguishable from the people. This, however, is a delusion. The State is a collection of officials, different for different purposes, drawing comfortable incomes so long as the status quo is preserved. The only alteration they are likely to desire in the status quo is an increase of bureaucracy and of the power of bureaucrats. It is, therefore, natural that they should take advantage of such opportunities as war excitement to acquire inquisitorial powers over their employees, involving the right to inflict starvation upon any subordinate who opposes them.

-----

Education should have two objects: first, to give definite knowledge—reading and writing, languages and mathematics, and so on ; secondly, to create those mental habits which will enable people to acquire knowledge and form sound judgments for themselves. The first of these we may call information, the second intelligence. The utility of information is admitted practically as well as theoretically ; without a literate population a modern State is impossible. But the utility of intelligence is admitted only theoretically, not practically ; it is not desired that ordinary people should think for themselves, because it is felt that people who think for themselves are awkward to manage and cause administrative difficulties. Only the guardians, in Plato's language, are to think ; the rest are to obey, or to follow leaders like a herd of sheep.

-----

Propaganda, conducted by the means which advertisers have found successful, is now one of the recognized methods of government in all advanced countries, and is especially the method by which democratic opinion is created.

-----

One of the chief obstacles to intelligence is credulity, and credulity could be enormously diminished by instruction as to the prevalent forms of mendacity. Credulity is a greater evil in the present day than it ever was before, because, owing to the growth of education, it is much easier than it used to be to spread misinformation, and, owing to democracy, the spread of disinformation is more important than in former times to the holders of power. Hence the increase in the circulation of newspapers.

Zenzoe 6 years 47 weeks ago
#9
Quote Alberto Ceras 2:
Quote Zenzoe:

...pisses you off. Maybe, though I'm only guessing, you feel like a lone voice in the wilderness, if you'll pardon the cliché.

Here's a toast to finding allies and making a difference in the world.

I'm not exactly desperate and pissed off, Zenzoe - more bewildered and frustrated as so many thoughtful and concerned people have always been and are now.

I'm fully aware of the absurdity, the hopelessness of trying to educate those who obstinately refuse to learn.

At least I got the frustrated part right. ;-) I always did like the word bewildered.

Well, I didn't mean to imply you were being absurd in "trying to educate," or that it's hopeless to try. And I can't advise a better plan than the one you've chosen. All I can do is tell you what I hear in your words and how they affect me, individually.

When I hear a reference to "those who obstinately refuse to learn," I can't help wondering who refuses to learn, and who does so obstinately, in your realm, in your experience. I also wonder what evidence you have of such behavior. I don't know about others here, but I'm learning all the time. I suspect that's true of most people who participate here. I'm not convinced that the mere fact of silence proves disinterest. For all you know, people may read what you post, learn something, then go on to something else. All sorts of different reasons could exist for their silence, other than obstinancy or dumb-assness.

I'm also wondering what would have to happen for you to feel you're having an educative effect on others? And, is that even your goal? You seem to bemoan the fact that others may have a different focus from yours. That too seems to speak to a need you have, but I can't say what that would be, since you haven't mentioned it. It could be that you wish to be an authority; or, you could have a benign dream of making a difference; or, you might need to feel more important than you do in real life; or maybe not—maybe you simply know things you want to pass along to others for entirely unselfish reasons. I do not know.

In my case, I believe a broad, liberal education serves us best. What follows comes from Wikipedia —not your favorite source, I know— but I think it does pretty well on this subject:

The American Association for the Advancement of Science describes a liberal education in this way: "Ideally, a liberal education produces persons who are open-minded and free from provincialism, dogma, preconception, and ideology; conscious of their opinions and judgments; reflective of their actions; and aware of their place in the social and natural worlds."[4] Liberally educated people are skeptical of their own traditions; they are trained to think for themselves rather than defer to authority.[5]

It also cultivates "active citizenship" through off-campus community service, internships, research, and study abroad.[6] Some faculty see this movement towards "civic engagement" as more pedagogically powerful than traditional classroom teaching, but opponents argue that the education occurring within an academic institution must be purely intellectual and scholarly.[7]

A liberal education combines an education in the classics, English literature, the humanities, and moral virtues.[8] The term liberal education in the modern sense should not be confused with liberal arts education; the latter refers to certain subjects of study, while the former is a way of learning itself and may be pursued through any subject. Indeed, a liberal arts education does not necessarily include a liberal education, and a liberal arts program may even be as specialized as a vocational program.[9]

I only bring up liberal education as something that has to come first, before we can focus on specific cures for what ails us. Thus, I don't see a problem with others' seeking their own information broadly. Obviously, I don't require that you agree. It's just something to consider.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 47 weeks ago
#10

Zenzoe, thanks for the comment. Did you read Russell's essay? What are your thoughts on it? There's much more to it than the few excerpts that I posted.

I use Wikipedia often and contribute to it from time to time. It's a fine source for anyone seeking specific facts or needing references. I read Russell and other profound thinkers for entirely different reasons - intellectual stimulation mostly. Wisdom is in short supply, information almost unlimited.

Liberal education is largely a solitary adventure. One person, a book. Who was it said: "Tell me what you read, I'll tell you who you are."?

Maybe it should be "Tell me what and how much you read..." or this:

“"Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are" is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread.” Francois Muriac

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 6 years 47 weeks ago
#11

Alberto, I think it's pretty much agreed upon that wealth inequality is the number one economic problem and a main driver of our other problems as well. What government do to reduce wealth inequality would be my number one question for Obama or any President. Tragically, government as it exists now in the U.S., only serves to exacerbate wealth inequalities, even though there is so much it could do to reduce the problem.

Zenzoe 6 years 47 weeks ago
#12

Alberto, I hope Natural Lefty's response eases the "puzzled and disheartened" feeling you expressed at the top, as well as alleviate the impression that everyone who doesn't respond to your posts is a "dumb ass."

As for me, I have no need to help you with such things, just as I feel no need to prove my education, intelligence and knowledge to you. When I commented here, after many months of distance, I did so with good intentions. We'll have to try again some other time. Tah tah for now...

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 47 weeks ago
#13

Yes, NaturalLefty, unless people take action, unless they have the will to reduce the gross economic inequality all the noblest intentions of the founders count for nothing - curious relics only. I wish I knew how to incite the public to action - to act in its, and the world's, collective best interest. Good people have tried, are trying, but from my perch as interested observer it looks absolutely hopeless. The most tragic, heartrending aspect of this unbridled concentration of wealth and power is the suffering and destruction that the U.S. has inflicted, and continues to inflict, on other peoples and other nations as it persues its dark aim of world domination. If the U.S. confined this suffering and destruction within its own borders it would be a different matter.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 6 years 47 weeks ago
#14

http://www.whiteoutpress.com/articles/q12013/un-demands-us-leaders-be-charged-with-war-crimes-over-torture/

This might offer us some hope that the Great U.S. Killing machine may finally start to be held at bay.

I have read and discussed your good advice about reducing income inequality in other threads, Alberto. I think you have a good feel for this topic and I am in general agreement. As I mentioned, although we might not always be discussing this topic, reducing wealth disparities is pretty basic to the planet's and humanity's future. I believe that we need a system in which such wealth disparities as currently exist, are not possible, more of a resource based economy with regulations which prevent major disparities in wealth.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 47 weeks ago
#15

NaturalLefty, I hope - along with you and no doubt many others - that the U.N. will in fact take action to bring Bush and his henchmen to trial. The U.S. isn't a member of the U.N.'s ICC and does not recognize its authority. The ICC itself seems most effective - only effective? - in trying despots from small African nations. The last sentence of the article you cite pretty much says it all for me: "But without the cooperation of the current governments of the two nations (UK and US), UN human rights investigators will have a difficult time producing the evidence needed to do so."

The U.S. will not cooperate, not in our lifetimes at any rate. Obama, in fact, should also be brought before the tribunal for his drone policies and for Guantanamo. Allowing Bush and his officials to be tried would open the door for future trials - set a precedent - and the U.S. won't permit it.

This Wikipedia article gives an excellent run-down on the U.S.’s relationship and attitude toward the UN’s International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute:

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

For further information on the ICC you might read this as well:

http://www.globalization101.org/the-international-criminal-court-icc/

It’s especially interesting to me to note the seven countries that voted against the Rome Statute (in July 1998 when Saddam Hussein and Gadhafi were still in power):

"A few countries, most notably the US, voted against the Rome Statute and have not supported the creation of the ICC (the others being China, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Qatar, and Israel). "

Here's a clip from another Bernard Russell lecture and book: "Political Ideals" published in 1917:

"Any fresh survey of men's political actions shows that, in those who have enough energy to be politically effective, love of power is a stronger motive than economic self-interest. Love of power actuates the great millionaires, who have far more money than they can spend, but continue to amass wealth merely in order to control more and more of the world's finance.[2] Love of power is obviously the ruling motive of many politicians. It is also the chief cause of wars, which are admittedly almost always a bad speculation from the mere point of view of wealth. For this reason, a new economic system which merely attacks economic motives and does not interfere with the concentration of power is not likely to effect any very great improvement in the world. This is one of the chief reasons for regarding state socialism with suspicion. "

[2] Cf. J. A. Hobson, "The Evolution of Modern Capitalism."

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 6 years 47 weeks ago
#16

I am afraid that such hubris is the result of being "the world's only superpower." The U.S. has been headed down a slippery slope morally for a long time, and economically, so the superpower status and the ability to be immune from blowback can't go on forever, but I don't know how much longer.

I have to say, reading Zenzoe's last response, that I get the same sense about you -- that you tend to blame people for inaction, laziness or whatever, when in fact, we have a multitude of agendas, problems, and of course, life's demands which keep us busy. I don't think it's because people on this site don't care that we don't unify better. I think it has to do with our disparate lives and emphases.

We can't all read the same books that you do or come to the same conclusions that you do, but that doesn't mean that we aren't progressives. We manifest it in different ways, as I am sure you can appreciate. This site is a good place for progressives of different backgrounds, to share with and educate each other. This is part of what might be considered adult liberal education. I also agree with Zenzoe that a liberal education (which conservatives abhor because they know it leads to more liberalism) is key to having a sane, rational, civll, progressive society. Even a liberal education affects us all in different ways, though.

Robindell's picture
Robindell 6 years 47 weeks ago
#17

Just because conservatives are wrong does not automatically mean that liberals, and certain government programs, are totally right.

This site lets conservatives come one with comments that sometimes don't fit here.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 46 weeks ago
#18

For what others are saying about income inequality in the U.S. here's a sampling:

http://billmoyers.com/2013/03/06/income-inequality-goes-viral/

Income Inequality Goes Viral

March 6, 2013

by John Light

Over the weekend, a YouTube video breaking down income inequality in America went viral. As a reader of BillMoyers.com, you may have been aware that the disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.

The gap is a lot larger than many informed Americans realize.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

PLUTOCRACY NOW

It's the Inequality, Stupid

Eleven charts that explain what's wrong with America.

—By Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot

March/April 2011 Issue

http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/08/news/economy/global_income_inequality/index.htm

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- It's no surprise that top earners in America make a heck of a lot more than middle- and lower-income Joes.

But the disparity is greater here than in most developed nations.

The U.S. has a higher level of income inequality than Europe, as well as Canada, Australia and South Korea, according to data gathered by the World Bank.

And, while many nations have seen income inequality rise within their borders, the United States has experienced a more rapid increase in recent decades, widening the wealth gap even more.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/23/10-countries-with-worst-income-inequality_n_865869.html#s278244&title=1_Chile

1. Chile

2. Mexico

3. Turkey

4. United States

5. Israel

6. Portugal

7. United Kingdom

8. Italy

9. Australia

10. New Zealand

Now only number 4 on the list but hold on, the United States is working its way up. Soon USans will be able to boast of being number one in something once again, having lost top spot in just about everything else: Yeeeaaahhh!!!!! We're number one!

Well, it is the number one killing machine. Almost forgot.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 6 years 46 weeks ago
#19

Alberto, speaking of dumbass Americans, have you seen the recent video about the study which showed what Americans think the ideal income inequality should be, what they think it actually is, and what it actually is? It's mind boggling in that the actual income equality is far, far greater than the respondents thought it was. The film is not very long, either. But to give the benefit of the doubt, it is hard to see how the average American could have been aware of just how huge the actual wealth disparities are.

TChamp3121's picture
TChamp3121 6 years 46 weeks ago
#20
Quote Alberto Ceras 2:

I have blogged and blogged on this subject and have been puzzled and disheartened at the lack of response. What is wrong with you, what is wrong with the general public, what is wrong with the 99 per centers? Is it stupidity as suggested in another of Elliot's recent blogs? Look, this is the single most pressing, most urgent problem facing the nation. Unless this grave and growing disparity in wealth can be corrected you can just forget the rest.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/03/21/186175/commentary-concentration-of-wealth.html#emlnl=Daily_News_Update

Commentary: Concentration of wealth with the 1% is too profound to ignore

“These days (Hedrick) Smith is out with “Who Stole the American Dream?” — an account that describes the dismantling of the middle class. Smith trots out a set of numbers that quickly cut to the chase:

• Since 2008, corporate profits have risen 20.1 percent a year. Meanwhile, average family incomes rose just 1.4 percent annually.

• In 2011, the top 1 percent captured not just 100 percent of the nation’s growth, but 114 percent. That means the other 99 percent actually lost ground.

So people in the middle are stuck like dead skunks in the middle of the road. Citigroup, an organization not prone to hyperbole, declared that the inequality of income in this nation is the greatest since 16th century Spain.

I agree. But, a forceful re-distribution from the government is not the answer. We want a socitey that rewards entrepaneurs, and risk takers. The government's role is only to prevent monopolies, and market dominance. There needs to be room for upcoming entrapanuers...such that they are not squashed by the big boys! That's the the governments/peoples role!

Remember...the government IS the people! And, all people want to be able to have their dreams realized! We need an environment that rewards the littley guy/gal risk taker! THIS, is the main thing that America has going for it above ALL other nations in the world today...Innovation. Freedom is the necessary component to breed this phenominon. We MUST not squelch it!

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 46 weeks ago
#21
Quote TChamp3121:

I agree. But, a forceful re-distribution from the government is not the answer. We want a socitey that rewards entrepaneurs, and risk takers. The government's role is only to prevent monopolies, and market dominance. There needs to be room for upcoming entrapanuers...such that they are not squashed by the big boys! That's the the governments/peoples role!

Remember...the government IS the people! And, all people want to be able to have their dreams realized! We need an environment that rewards the littley guy/gal risk taker! THIS, is the main thing that America has going for it above ALL other nations in the world today...Innovation. Freedom is the necessary component to breed this phenominon. We MUST not squelch it!

You are a dreamer, TChamp3121. The U.S. government is NOT the people. It is the government of the rich and powerful.

I don't know what "entrapaneurs" is, nor "phenominon." I had you in mind, TChamp.

Even economists have begun to realize that the great discrepancies in wealth and income can only lead to disaster. Here’s another:

Inequality is Killing Capitalism

If governments, with their already-high level of indebtedness, believe that they cannot borrow any more from the public, they should borrow from their central banks and spend the extra money themselves on public works and infrastructure projects. This is the only way to get the big economies of the West moving again.

But, beyond this, we cannot carry on with a system that allows so much of the national income and wealth to pile up in so few hands. Concerted redistribution of wealth and income has frequently been essential to the long-term survival of capitalism. We are about to learn that lesson again.

Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-need-for-redistribution-of-wealth-and-income-in-order-to-save-capitalism-from-its-current-crisis-by-robert-skidelsky#YIHSpxoKU0IrhdCc.99

And in another article:

Put another way, what matters for life satisfaction is the growth not of mean income but of median income – the income of the typical person. Consider a population of ten people (say, a factory) in which the managing director earns $150,000 a year and the other nine, all workers, earn $10,000 each. The mean average of their incomes is $25,000, but 90% earn $10,000. With this kind of income distribution, it would be surprising if growth increased the typical person’s sense of well-being.

That is not an idle example. In rich societies over the last three decades, mean incomes have been rising steadily, but typical incomes have been stagnating or even falling. In other words, a minority – a very small minority in countries like the United States and Britain – has captured most of the gains of growth. In such cases, it is not more growth that we want, but more equality.

Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/economic-equality-and-life-satisfaction-by-robert-skidelsky#C6jpZAVFOJGc2DUC.99

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