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Total number of comments: 1424 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:37)


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  • The New 1% isn't just the Rich, it is the Spoiled Oligarch Heirs (Krugman)
    • There are now even stratifications within the 1%, with the top 0.01% doing much better than the 1% or 0.1%.

      Will this ever devolve into formal titles of nobility? The slave South was on its way there, with rich men bankrolling militia regiments and thus honored with the title "Colonel". Not too different than how aristocracies originally appeared, such as Rome's equestrian class. All the South needed was to make command of the regiments hereditary.

      In a privatized future, what hereditary title will be created to signify the ruling families?

  • Was John Lennon Right? Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights lament Paucity of Religious Jewish Allies
    • The part about "we would create new divisions the next day" sounds like capitalist-apologist derision for wealth redistribution, based on their faith that the poor are "naturally" lazy and useless. Of course, wherever wealth disparity corresponds with race or religion, those are substituted for "poor". It obscures the real origins of class and caste inequality in ancient conquest and land ownership. It assumes that if we were suddenly living in a different culture we would end up in the same income bracket, that culture plays no role in picking winners even in free markets. There are markets for superstition, prejudice, and sadism of many kinds.

  • Fox News asks Rand Paul if Reid is right to "call Americans" "Domestic Terrorists"
    • Another possible reform would be to restore the ratio of congressmen to citizens back to what it was in 1789, 1 to 30,000. Since there are now 300,000,000 of us, there should be 10,000 representatives. Boy, that would keep the rich and the lobbyists busy. But with such tiny districts, TV ads would look like a buyout by the rich and be mistrusted. Those 30,000 citizens would have to keep watch, of course. Maybe they'd require congressmen to live locally year-round and phone their votes in.

    • Firstly, the capitalists chose America to corrupt because it is powerful, and because it has a deep racial division that the rich created and have always exploited.

      But other democracies also have:
      a. a more positive attitude towards public vs private power
      b. much higher voter turnout rates
      c. much higher % of people who are members of a political party

      Low turnout rates have been a boon to US oligarchs and the extremists they have run for office. These bastards get plenty of ad money to lie about opponents and issues that have nothing to do with their own agendas, and lots of independent (or "low-information", if you prefer) voters get taken in by the ads. In Europe, voters are highly partisan, so they know who the extremist parties are and what they stand for. Whereas right at this very moment men from far-right movements are running as Democrats this fall in a naked attempt to mislead voters.

      link to

      Not only do liberals not do this, but it doesn't happen in other democracies. This movement has open contempt for democracy and the fitness of people different than themselves to govern, so it exploits our low-turnout culture shamelessly and denounces any talk of a more class-conscious, politicized working class as Communism.

    • Besides that being a joke, you ought to know that there really was a black counterpart to the Branch Davidian crisis. In 1985, a black separatist group named MOVE was violently burned out of their Philadelphia HQ because they were an annoyance to their neighbors and an embarrassment to the black mayor.

      link to

      Where were all the anti-big government militia patriots to worship MOVE the way they do Koresh, and attack the cops the way they do the BATF?

      Different when black? Or when opposing capitalism? Maybe these militiamen even dream of the day when they can burn down all the ghettoes and expel or kill all blacks, as occurs in their bible "The Turner Diaries". No one seems to have the guts to ask them.

    • But that wasn't the Federal government. State governments have been fine tools for oligarchs, racists, secessionists, and religious extremists since the Revolution. If a particular level of government is owned by oligarchs, we have to use other levels of government to oppose it. The point of States' Rights was to make such opposition impossible, for the benefit of white supremacists.

  • Allen West: ‘Radical’ Muslims waging ‘jihad’ in U.S. — by voting and obeying election laws
    • That's actually a cogent observation. All our country's brands of right-wing bigotry are based on a narrative of a superior past when "our kind" had a monopoly on power. The ones who are honest about demanding a restored monopoly work in dark places where corporate media can be excused for ignoring them, but they lay the groundwork for extremist networks, which then create more mainstream covers that can be safely courted by the GOP, until it makes their currently-stated views socially acceptable and moved the country to the right. Then the cycle starts again.

      But really, what libertarians, neo-Confederates, theocrats and imperialists share is a love for ONLY that part of the past that was shockingly unequal. No nostalgia for the Amish, who undeniably were conservative. It's all about the values of those ancestors who just happened to be genociders and slavers and exploiters, yet they deny that those crimes were intrinsic to their success. It was all just a misunderstanding, see, we won't bring back slavery once the federal government is destroyed, sure.

  • 9 Maps that Show How The GOP is Destroying Southern States
    • Texas was once a progressive state. Before Big Oil allied with racists and theocrats, it had a history of populists and big-government liberals. When the Democrats were the all-white party, the TX Dems were divided between the pro-KKK faction and the anti-KKK faction. The South's first woman governor (twice!), Ma Ferguson, belonged to the anti-Klan faction. The villain wasn't Big Oil yet, but big landowners who used the Klan as their death squads.

  • 5 Ways Nevada Rancher Militia Resembles Pakistan's Taliban
    • There is only one way to confront the extremist movement that now encompasses the entire GOP and political Christianity, the militias, the neo-Confederates, the Kochs, and the ALEC shadow-parliament-in-waiting.

      History. Make them talk about the details of the past they want to restore, and then refute their lies around the clock.

      If they lie about how "free" the early US was, make them explain why less than 1% of Americans participated in the first presidential election. If they lie that the Civil War was about states' rights, hit them with the Fugitive Slave Act. If they claim they can bring back 18th century government without bringing back white supremacy, then make them explain Jefferson's remarks in "Notes on the Commonwealth of Virginia", that emancipated blacks would have to be ethnically cleansed from the state for his system to work.

      And all you so-called progressives who are willing to sacrifice minorities and the poor so you can help these monsters destroy the federal government, you will share their inevitable fate at the hands of their rebellious victims. Remember what JFK said about peaceful revolution. I would rather wipe out this country rather than have any of us go back to being ni**ers on Cliven Bundy's future plantation, because a better future is the only excuse it has ever had for its crimes, and this is no future at all.

    • The rancher and the corporation are ultimately both capitalist entities. And it was the capitalist property owners of America, including this rancher's ancestors, who drove the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans by the government. The solution is not to let property owners replace the government as our rulers. That is called feudalism, and it's a hundred times worse that anything you've experienced.

    • The point is, the Republican Party and Fox News are throwing their mantle of respectability over people who call for the overthrow of the elected Federal and even state government in favor of a patriarchal oligarchy which I guarantee you does not accept the right of non-whites or non-Christians to vote. The GOP is mainstreaming those politics, just as it has mainstreamed shooting black males in the street because they looked "threatening", or starving the poor because they're "takers", or eliminating all pollution and financial regulation because only the rich make anything of value. These were NOT positions of conservatives 40 years ago. This is all being done on purpose, step by step, so that there will be mass, armed support for the "restoration" of the undemocratic, elitist republic of the Founding Fathers. Just as the Taliban carry out the geostrategic aims of the Pakistani Army and its Saudi bankrollers.

  • Colbert's Send-up of O'Reilly on "Inequality" makes Bill Squawk
    • Which inequalities has O'Reilly fought against? "Reverse racism", the "War on Christmas (Christians)", "Femi-Nazis", probably, meaning whenever the victim fights back, he's there to call them the oppressor. But if it just so happens that business proprietors are overwhelmingly white men, will he count it as institutional bias if they "independently" choose to not promote or serve other kinds of human?

  • Poof! John Kerry Blames Israeli Squatting in E. Jerusalem for breakdown in Peace Talks; Bennett: It's Just Zionism
    • If American patriots claim that Christians have a special right to discriminate against anyone who offends their faith, they've already opened the door for theocracy. What makes it religious nationalism is which factions in which faiths they choose to fight for. Because there is now a far-right faction in every American denomination, and they coordinate between themselves and the GOP and the Koch/Scaife/ALEC infrastructure to overwhelm our disorganized opposition.

  • Is Rand Paul right that Cheney invaded Iraq for Halliburton Profits?
    • At least Rand is making it interesting.

      My contempt for libertarians here in Texas is beyond words. If Rand shares his father's opposition to a woman's right to an abortion, that tells me all I need to know about whose "freedom" they care about. But let's stick to the military thing. It's fair to expect ANY anti-war candidate to explain exactly how we will shut down our empire and how we will deal with the fallout, instead of pretending that it will be all roses and champagne. It's also fair to expect them to explain how the budget savings will be routed to tax cuts vs social programs, or even how the resulting layoffs will affect communities - many in Paul's "home" state. If he's willing to just walk out of NATO, I'm all for it. But maybe many on his side view NATO as exactly what it has become, a way to keep "socialistic" western Europe from becoming a full-fledged rival to America and its militarized capitalism, and they feel this is all to the good. Now at least we get a chance to find out how these folks really feel.

      His acknowledgment of war as an economic tool is important. I think he's living in a fantasy land if he really thinks that a weak government will be better able to resist corporate entreaties for profitable invasions - the US rolled over Latin America while it was at the height of its Gilded Age capitalism, with a very small govt and army, and everywhere did some corporation a favor according to Gen. Smedley Butler. It was big-govt Satan FDR who brought the troops home from that crusade. Setting the clock back to 1898, Rand, does not stop it from ticking when you've left it plugged into Big Money. What we should now hope for is a very ugly intra-Right debate over the role of the Empire in helping American capitalism. Can the Paulites get away with arguing that having bases in 130 countries has never given US companies leverage in dealing with their governments? That American corporations stripped of that leverage would have thrived overseas these last 60 years? That without our Cold War commitments, the oppressed workers of the world would not have chased Paul's ilk, the Jeffrey Sachs and Milton Friedmans who have used laissez-faire austerity to crush them, back to a severely shrunken Wall Street?

      Since all this is going to happen anyway, we might as well have the debate now.

    • As a followup to my previous post, note that my definition does not require a big bureaucratic govt in principle. That's a part of the usual definition of fascism that I think was planted by the US Right to shield themselves. Under Hitler, corporate execs had vast power within their factory gates, but were regulated in their actions in the market. This is not inconsistent with feudalism. "Corporatism" was actually a Catholic-right concept of dividing worker society between its different economic functions, smashing class unity, while of course these "vertical syndicates" were united at the top by marriage and inter-investment. Franco's Spain sought to carry this out. Also consider Himmler's fantasy to divide France into feudal fiefdoms ruled by SS nobles.

      If we view fascism as an attempt to revive feudalism, we can explain the "fascist" aspects of many 3rd World societies. They're not fascist, they're still feudalist. But the act of reviving feudalism requires violating much of the context of the original. Japan's fascists were definitely nostalgic populists, but the society they created in the '30s in no way resembles pre-Tokugawa Japan. The samurai myth they popularized did not reflect the values of actual medieval Japanese peasants. Karen Armstrong argued that religious fundamentalist movements are essentially "modern" in the way they try to bring back the past via calculation, mobilization, etc. Same thing here. It ends up as fake as Colonial Williamsburg.

    • A lot of folks have trouble defining fascism, due to it being an easy way to win name-calling contests. Too many look at the result, which in a country rent by anti-Communist hysteria indeed came to resemble what Mr. Stewart described. But that's pretending that no one was sincere, that the fascist founders and early supporters had no genuine beliefs. Besides, most non-Communist countries have had pervasive control of government by rich families, yet we can't say fascism existed before 1918.

      What makes fascism distinct is its origins in anti-Communist populism, starting with the Catholic falangist movements after WW1. What Catholic and German fascism had in common was nostalgia for feudalism, maybe some belief that the alienation of Anglo-style industrial capitalism could be moderated by having the capitalists behave like the noble families of old, and that they in turn should stand with the "patriots", usually poor war veterans, in eliminating alien influences. So cities, bankers, Jews, Reds, gays, and class identity are targeted. Google the "Dupont plot" to see a very contrived attempt by rich men to carry out this process in the USA.

    • I kind of disagree. Conservatives in our nation had no problem with wars to steal Indian land, or wars to punish Latin American debtors. The South is the stronghold of American conservatism and yet has supported all our wars since the war on Mexico.

      What conservatives used to have a problem about was wars so big that they would require expansion of central government power, mobilization of the working class, high inflation via labor shortages, etc. They want to whip countries that can't fight back, have some parades, and then go back to the oligarchic small-town repression they're comfortable with. The big wars where the US was on the "left" side, the Civil War and WW2, caused broad and radical changes in society, generally towards an expectation of more equality. This problem was solved by making war permanent, and then enlisting business as weapons suppliers and poor rural whites as a sort of Praetorian class that dominates the military. Now war has become welfare for white folks, and pointing that out is very risky in GOP primaries.

    • There are other kinds of resources. Thatcher didn't need the Falklands for oil, her own North Sea fields were coming on line (and unfairly making her look good). But she had to unite the country using a war so she could get away with her rape of the working class at home. That rape created billions for British capitalists. That's a resource. Even a few points of approval rating is a resource. If nothing else elected politicians do can garner approval of both the rich and the poor, then they would be crazy not to use wars to stay in office.

    • But Mr. Shank, Cheney was one of the founders of PNAC, so of course it supported his interests as an oil exec. PNAC was practically a marriage of Cheney's oligarch class with AIPAC Zionist demagogues, and the invasion was always the intended offspring. This is important because before 2001, oil execs wanted to keep the Arabs happy, not oil-less Israel. Cheney and his henchmen created a new paradigm to protect both oil and Israel so that the GOP elites could unite.

  • Can We Safeguard Our Democracy After Supreme Court Decision?
    • We're up against the most terrifying question underlying capitalist democracy: does rational free will really exist, or are we just meat machines that can always be manipulated by the best experts that money can buy? If the latter, then do we simply surrender democracy, or do we have to radically change our society to stave off those brainwashing minions?

      I'm beginning to think that representative democracy was always doomed by the unrepresentativeness of money. There are other paradigms of democracy, like community consensus, juries, and even mass civil disobedience. And God knows there are other paradigms of property rights.

  • Dear America: Climate Change is threatening Water, Plants, Animals & doesn't care what Party you belong To
    • I think the answer to this, and Cole's figures showing concern growing over certain environmental issues, is that people only care about the issues they conceive as affecting them, personally, soon. It means they think they can reap the benefits of crimes against others, while evading any costs. If that's not possible, they don't want to believe it exists.

    • What you should be asking is, how many humans could the Earth support with even minor disruptions to our economy? The reason there were less than 1 billion humans before 1600 is not that they didn't have time to reproduce, but that they simply could not extract the resources to support more. All growth since the start of the Industrial Age was driven by fossil fuels and a complex corporate economy that turned them into sellable goods. A burst financial bubble in 1929 led to the deaths of millions and a near-victory for totalitarianism.
      So how LITTLE would it take to screw up global markets such that 100,000,000 more people would starve than currently? And what military, and possibly nuclear, follow-on effects would result?

  • Obamacare Enrolls 7.1 Million: But Will the haters ever stop hating?
    • The thought experiment to "prove" why the Right hates health care for the poor so much is to consider how it would react if it came from another source. If it were provided by some right-wing authority that could throw the poor off if they misbehaved - like a Christian Right-financed superfund, I bet the Right might like it. But if, say, a giant corporation like Wal-Mart were mysteriously to offer free medical to all employees, thus forcing all other exploiters of low-wage labor to follow suit, somehow they would torture out an argument that this is wrong and evil, and start a boycott. Same as the way they opposed affirmative action by the government by saying it interfered with private business - but later attacked those few corporations that attempted their own private affirmative action programs.

      What matters is inequality - the sense that "those people" are inferior and OUGHT to be suffering in every possible way, via the market or any level of government that can be brought to bear, for their failure to act like "real" Americans. Because it's not worth it to be an American when you have to share the benefits with subhuman animals. Even a white person who can't afford insurance without church charity MIGHT feel that it's worth that warm glow of superiority when he can see entire minority communities with no health care and no rich mega-churches able to throw crumbs.

      Take this experiment to its logical conclusion: if right-wing whites know they will be outvoted by minorities in the future, they might vote in a law that takes away their own right to vote! As long as that law takes away the votes of more minorities than whites, so that they will continue to see faces and bigotries like their own fill up the statehouses and Congress. These right-wingers keep talking about going back to the Founding Fathers. The poor couldn't vote under the Founding Fathers, due to property requirements which the FF had no problem with. I wonder how many whites would vote to restore property requirements even if it meant losing their own right to vote, because we all know how few minority citizens are rich?

    • Did you not read the article, sir? If Obamacare collapses, the Right wins, and nothing replaces it at all. How do you think they will react to single-payer? I can imagine "patriots" resorting to bombings and shootings - as they eventually will anyway if they are not guaranteed an artificial electoral majority. Why are so many "liberals" so dense about how vicious their enemies really are?

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  • High as a Kite on Carbon Dioxide: Fracking Delirium in the American 1%
    • Just because it's horribly expensive doesn't prove that the Cove Point facility can export gas on a significant scale - significant enough to alter the politics of 300 million Europeans, which is what is being implied by Washington.

  • The Tea Party Just Turned Five — Is it Winning its War on Workers and Minorities?
    • This interviewee has nailed one of the critical points: they don't think people different than themselves are real Americans. Their code phrase, whether neo-confederate, Christofascist or libertarian: "America is a Republic, not a Democracy." In other words, they really, seriously mean to take away the vote from everyone who couldn't vote under the laws of 1789. Meaning 1% of the population will have the vote.
      Now how does this tie to their relationship to the capitalist oligarchy? It has to do with the fact that they can't openly admit they are white supremacists - but almost all the billionaires are white. To give away our racially "contaminated" democracy to the billionaires is to "restore" the republic of an all-white 1% electorate. Or at least that's what the rich are trying to manipulate them into doing.
      But to do that, the rich must feed the old ideology of nullification and secession. And we must ask, when were our oligarchs best off? Not when secession happened in 1860, but in 1876, when the liberal North was so sick of civil war that it gave in and let the South violate the constitution under Jim Crow, kicking off that greed orgy known as the Gilded Age. The rich want the threat of the Tea Party to get the rest of us to cower and stay away from the voting booth, just as the KKK went from race warriors to enforcers for the plantation owners. Actual secession would be a disaster.

  • Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail
    • What America needs is a debate over discrete positions as to how far we are willing to go in the world: what regions, what issues, what costs. Instead, the public lives in a fantasy that we intervene only in the causes the media tells them are just and relevant - and then later we regret that we didn't attack completely different people instead. For instance, we played up the human rights issue in Kosovo, instead of laying out the much more hardnosed case that thugs like Milosevic were using promises of ethnic cleansing to get elected because they knew the US & other wealthy countries would always take in the victims - and we can't Goddamn afford to do that forever, so it's cheaper to make an example of Milosevic and put a stop to similar plans in other countries. Which we did. But meanwhile, Clinton decided that he couldn't do anything about Rwanda, so it was simply ignored by the media until too late. See, I think Clinton was right to draw that line, but the public needs to understand why lines have to be drawn. Instead we get all weepy about the aftermath and then promise to intervene everywhere. Which is madness.

    • But Zbigniew Brzezinski did tell an interviewer that he warned Carter that sending the CIA to help the early anti-Marxist rebels would provoke a Soviet invasion. The Soviets viewed it as their sphere of influence, and we violated it. Are spheres of influence legitimate, Prof. Cole, and who has the right to define them? I mean, if we caught the Russians arming Mexican drug cartels...

    • The answer, Mike, is the supposition of democracy. You can't sell "your" people to a foreign government, and you can't order them to leave. Otherwise, we could deal with this stupidity the way Bismarck used to, getting all his fellow aristocrats to meet at a resort and divide up the disputed lands on their cocktail napkins. It worked until people became too passionate about who governed them.

    • It is also hard to send gas by ship profitably. You need to build special ships and facilities, and chill the gas into a liquid. It's dirt-cheap to burn it where your pipelines already reach, and use that to manufacture goods for export, or electricity for electric cars.

  • What today's GOP gets Wrong about Leadership: Obama & Eisenhower, Russian & Israeli Recklessness
    • But what good does this do to a bankrupt American empire propped up by infinite Saudi (Syrian terrorist-backer) and Chinese and Japanese (two countries possibly headed to future war) loans? We've solved no real problems, and we caused the Russia problem by humiliating them and causing mass starvation there with our '90s combo of NATO expansion and neoliberal/austerity economics. We still don't understand that we cause these problems, so we feel justified in spending another trillion bucks on killer robots to beat everyone else down.

  • The Crimean Crisis and the Middle East: Will Syria & Iran be the Winners?
    • The American Right, in all its falsely-independent factional movements, has labored ceaselessly for 40 years to bring back the 19th century in every way, shape and form possible; from striking blacks off voting rolls in the South, to the comeback of prison slave labor, to the dogma that nothing the rich do can be judged by the citizens. But in foreign policy, what does going back to 1899 mean?

      It means a world of brutal monarchs and sold-out politicians, divided into drearily-similar capitalist Great Power camps fighting over resources and cash flow as their global free market keeps crashing from its own inequities.

      And you know what happened next.

    • That's fine, but you must convince your fellow voters to not freak out at America's helplessness and vote in some maniac who promises to get the empire back by all means necessary.

  • US Scam: Give the Rich Money & and they might Make us Slightly Less Poor (David "The Wire" Simon)
    • It's been going on even longer than that. Originally it took the form of newly-GOP Southern states dangling their union-busting "culture" to lure Yankee capitalists to abandon the Rust Belt. Ironically the infrastructure projects showered on the South by LBJ made the move feasible. Once the power of unions were broken, there was no one to stand in the way of the Reaganoids, and the road was clear to move the jobs entirely out of the US.

  • Fox News: Christie Scandal Coverage pretext to Ignore Gates Revelations
    • The difference is that Fox is a thousand times more powerful than Huffington, which most Americans have never heard of or seen. Even the super-biased Drudge is probably better known. Millions of Republican voters rely only on Fox for what they know about reality - then they go out and vote. The giant corporation that owns Fox spins out agendas within agendas to advance its goal of a single-party state; when they come to take your vote away, Kathleen, it will be Fox justifying the "return to the real Constitution" and the "values of the Founding Fathers". Don't even pretend there's anything equal to that on the Left.

  • Peak or no Peak, Oil is Unsafe at any Price
    • You've nailed it, and peak oil people were debating after the 2008 crash whether this braking mechanism was already in effect. The key is the overhang as prices temporarily go over what we can sustain, and we scramble to raise more cash. You saw it in the summer of 2008. Unregulated markets naturally boom and crash. The tragedy is, after the crash there's suddenly no private capital left to develop alternative energy, but after the recovery everyone has forgotten the need for alternatives.

  • FDL Book Salon on Andrew Bacevich, Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country
    • If you want to see this feudalist nightmare presented as a current reality, watch "Winter's Bone", where a pervasive theme in the background is the Army as the only legal way to a better life in backwoods Missouri, and an imperious Vietnam vet is the godfather of the murderous drug fiefdom.

    • Bacevich, in an earlier book on these same themes, pinpointed Reagan's 1980 campaign trail soldier-worship as the turning point in our culture - from respecting the soldiers as being our neighbors and relatives, to loving them for doing our dirty work for us, a caste of reverse-untouchables from the boondocks and slums.

      I think while Bacevich, as a paleo-con, is focused on the governmental ills resulting from this deformation of civic duty, there is a greater danger coming from the rest of the right wing. I think that with minorities increasingly abandoning the military due to disillusionment with Bush's war, the gun nuts have gotten closer to the military and especially Special Forces which were always heavily white and mercenary contractors who are very right-wing, to the point where the military caste is also is a racial and ideological caste. This in turn has given the oligarchy, whose greed has ruined the economies of rural white communities, a henchmen caste who can rule over the privatized America it seeks to create.

      Imagine these guys going from the military to a mercenary company, then coming back to their ruined hometowns as Big Men, property owners and influencers of opinion. These gun nuts serve as reservists, then as cops and prison guards, and at the same time as leading lights in their Christian Right churches. If you're going to bring back feudalism, you need a large class of warriors to put down rebellions by the poor.

  • Scotland is going 100% Green by 2020; shame on Dirty America
    • The pragmatic difference is, in West Texas farmowners, the bigger the better, lease to wind energy companies, putting a powerful right-wing faction in the green column on this narrow matter. But now this is being overshadowed by fracking.

  • Congress cuts Food Stamps, maintains Estate Tax Loophole worth $100 bn to the Rich
    • The issue of greater meritocracy in Europe and Canada is the really revealing part. The Reagan dogma that has ruled all our lives says that the greater inequality of ultra-capitalism will be rewarded with more mobility for those who are "deserving". Yet Europe, with greater equality and government interference and taxation, is becoming the easier place to get ahead. Is it possible that the real goal of American conservatism for the last 40+ years has been to restore the class/caste system of the old days that they so loudly proclaim were better than now, by leaving our children too hungry, developmentally-handicapped and uneducated to compete with their fat, vicious spawn? Next thing you know, we'll be turning over all public services to the rich, and only allowing the rich to be electable, and letting their kids get away with running over peasants because the rich are too important to be expected to learn about personal responsibility.

      Oh wait...

    • And yet, after taxes, the wealth of property owners and investors keeps skyrocketing while our economy performs worse and worse. Is this your idea of meritocracy?

  • Top 10 Ways to Really Honor our Veterans
    • It's not about benefits for actual soldiers, it's an ideological shadow play about something we don't dare say in front of microphones:

      The "real" white American race was manufactured to be a conquering, warrior tribe, and the conservative movement is promising their followers the "liberty" of reverting to this barbarism. That includes the normal right of the conqueror to abuse those they have subjugated: blacks who were too inferior to escape the slavecatchers, Mexicans who were too inferior to escape annexation, all the immigrants who have come crawling to God's country on their hands and knees begging for jobs. But since they can't actually say that, they need code words and front institutions to distinguish the organs of a warrior society from the supposed evil "Big Government" that wrongly represents the inferiors. Thus, the refusal of elderly right-wingers to accept that Social Security and Medicare are "government" programs, rather than the payment due to their "good", heavily-white generation from us worthless, polluted, multicultural young Americans. A tribal obligation or tribute. Same for healthcare; the old are whiter and thus purer Americans, so they should have it and the young should be denied it. It doesn't matter that the private insurance many right-wingers have actually sucks. So it's the same with veterans' benefits. A tribal obligation that acts as a coded signal that the violent patriot race is "special", even if the benefits suck. They are perfectly willing to use their entitlements and war budget to wipe out all the rest of the government.

  • France Crashes the Geneva Party, Scuttles Iran Deal
    • Are we enjoying the decline of the American hegemony yet?

      I told everybody that Americans would not enjoy events once every nation was a free agent, free to sabotage America's attempts to back out of our ridiculously overextended commitments. The Saudis, the Russians, the French, and the Chinese are on the loose. All you peaceniks can get practice dividing your current hatred of our bankrupt empire between these new villians... once you finally accept that this is not yet another clever scheme of your archenemy Obama.

  • White Terrorist is "Gunman," "Alleged Shooter," no Mention of Wingnut 'New World Order' Beef
    • Remember, in much of the country right-wing terrorists have already won in their war against abortion, in close but plausibly deniable alliance with Christian Right politicians. The fact that they weren't called out as terrorists, much less victorious terrorists and terrorist allies, showed the Right that if they screamed hard enough the media would back down.

  • Al Gore on the Oil, Gas and Coal Bubble: Investors Beware! (Queally)
    • Since when have capitalist investors minded bubbles? They always believe they can get out before the crash, and use the booty to buy a private island while the rest of us starve.

  • Scrooge Republicans prefer Pentagon White Elephants to Food Stamps for Poor Children
    • You're right, poverty hurts the entire economy. But the rich don't need for the entire economy to be strong, just the parts they invest in. Since they can invest anywhere in the world, they don't need Americans to be working. In fact, they often consider American labor worthless unless it is competitive with the Third World, and they have embarked on a vast, long-term project to bring that about. The poorer ordinary voters are, the more of them the rich can buy off with crumbs.

      On the other side, the military budget has become its own country, a welfare program for white towns across the Red States that lets its recipients believe they are better than people on welfare. What does it do for the rich to have this military made of desperate, arrogant yokels? Well, sometimes you gotta keep those foreign investments in line. We have perfected an empire in which a faction of our poor hate everyone different than themselves at home and abroad, and are then handed weapons as policemen and soldiers to stand over them all, even the educated classes of the Third World and Western Europe. If you think they are rational people who should see they are being materially screwed, then consider that they could have emigrated to more enlightened parts of the US long ago - but they didn't like the "culture" over there. They are rational about what they value.

  • Elites Stick together against Us: Feinstein Slams NSA Merkel Tap
    • Because what a "liberal" is depends on what a "conservative" is. As long as the media forces everything American into those two boxes, what do you do when a "conservative" elected figure can support any of the following:
      1. proclaiming a giant conspiracy of Commie scientists to destroy capitalism by showing the physical harm it causes
      2. insinuating that the President is secretly a Moslem terrorist sympathizer, no matter how many of them he blows up
      3. demanding that the right to secession and nullification was not settled by the small matter of a Civil War
      4. claiming that the Founding Fathers required the US to be a Christian nation despite boundless evidence to the contrary and that we have no right to amend this ever
      5. restoring a tradition of voting laws designed to deter or intimidate blacks, the poor and women
      6. believing that no action of business can be harmful enough to be regulated, whatsoever
      7. believing that women who are raped don't need abortions because their bodies can magically reject enemy sperm

      These are all common positions now. 1/3 of Mississippi Republicans told pollsters that they believed Obama was the Antichrist. 2/3 of Republicans believe in demonic possession. In fact, many Christian evangelicals now hold views on religious law, witchcraft and demons far to the right of the slaveowners of the Confederacy... with all their other views to follow as the corporate media normalizes them as patriotic conservatism.

      So that makes Teddy Roosevelt so far to the left that Glenn Beck posthumously drummed him out of the Republican Party. Don't you think Feinstein is still a liberal by that standard?

      We're going to have a civil war, and these are the sides you've got. Are you going to pout, or are you going to get an army big enough to win?

    • This is the essence of our problem. If we are not destitute, then we are invested in the Wall Street-controlled globalized economy in many ways; our jobs, our pension funds, the value of our homes and the cost of our gasoline. I think at some level we sense that losing our military hegemony will cost us all of that. We certainly don't mind spying on the global poor who refuse to conform to our capitalists' needs, and we don't mind spying on our own poor. So it is only fair that we don't mind spying on ourselves as long as it lets us hold onto the *material* status quo for a few quarters longer.

  • America's Secret 4th Branch of Government: The NSA kept even Obama in the Dark
    • That's not the problem. The problem is that if any non-Republican President shows the slightest sign of weakness anywhere in the world, he is immediately accused of being a traitor. Since this definition of "weakness" is all based on media hysteria, it is easier to try to manage the news by knowing in advance what things are about to happen, than to try to educate the public that they have no right to expect their country to be able to exercise a monopoly of power on the world.

      This is political blackmail, but it is blackmail we voters could easily disarm by making it clear that we are willing to live with the consequences of being an ex-superpower. Yet whenever there's a military crisis anywhere in the world, we still behave like Pavlov's dogs, salivating for action, shooting up the approval ratings of the President as long as he looks threatening and violent. But those of us who hate the President for not being leftist enough gladly join hands with fascists who believe he's a Moslem Communist terrorist to destroy his reputation unless everything works out perfectly. 99% of us are terribly unqualified to say which of these crises demand action. The 1%, unfortunately, are all employed in the political theater of building up the crisis for the very imperialist party, or tamping it down for the somewhat less imperialist party.

      So you see, it's not necessary for intelligence agencies to blackmail presidents at all. Our fantasy-driven electorate and our corporate fantasy-media do the job just fine.

    • The United States has always spied on its foreign friends. We know that in 1968 Lyndon Johnson had reasons to believe that private citizen Richard Nixon had secretly cut a deal with Saigon to wreck Johnson's peace negotiations, thus ruining Humphrey's chances against Nixon. Nixon accused Johnson of wiretapping his campaign plane, but in fact Johnson was wiretapping the office of the dictator of South Vietnam, the man so many of our boys were dying to defend.

      So if you want to point out that it's "different" when we do the same to the leaders of genuine democracies, you run up against the point that we sacrificed 55,000 troops to a dictatorship in the first place.

      You might also recall "The Falcon and the Snowman", a movie based on an actual incident in which a CIA analyst began selling data to the Soviets after he was disgusted by his discovery that the CIA was interfering in Italian elections to sabotage the Communist Party. That is a far more grotesque act than any of this spying, yet there were no consequences from us voters, were there?

    • But it is believed that Hoover intentionally delayed telling LBJ about Nixon's treasonous secret deal with South Vietnam in 1968 until LBJ could not act on it without creating even greater political chaos than was already happening. Hoover counted on LBJ to sacrifice his candidate for the good of the nation at that point, just as he had already sacrificed his own chance to remain in the White House.

    • The 2008 crash was like every other crash. I was saving all the money I made at my job because I was seeing websites from cranks saying that the debt bubble could not keep going forever. There were plenty of people saying that housing prices could not keep going up when wages were flat. There were plenty of people drawing comparisons to 1929. Most folks did not want to believe that tough government regulations had held back these bubbles and that they now were dismantled and the system defenseless.

      It doesn't matter with market hysteria. The rich always start it and get out mostly intact, and the middle class is lured in hoping to make up for the lack of raises and promotions, and gets creamed. You can read about the Tulip Mania in the 17th Century Netherlands.

  • The World's Fate hangs on Obama's Keystone XL Decision (McKibben)
    • And by the way, if Obama stops the pipeline and normal American greedheads all turn against him, what's his incentive? Not a single person who hates him from the Left will change their position on him. So his approval will fall into the 30s and the Tea Party will rule in 2014, and then you will see the complete dismantling of all pollution controls and regulation. It will be enshrined in our core principles that free markets are the only fit arbiter of who is worthless enough to sacrifice to pollution.

      Anyone care to prove me wrong?

    • I was reading an article in the current issue of Esquire. Like many articles in years past, it purported to have found a "New American Political Center" via a poll it conducted with NBC on political attitudes. But when you dig into the narrative (because they didn't bother to break down the numbers), what they did was ask people which issues were important and then lump them into 8 demographic categories. And almost all the way across the board, Esquire claims "increased oil and gas drilling" was a top priority.

      In other words, the American people have been trained to accept that the exploding wealth inequality in our country can't be overturned, and the only way for them to get out of financial distress is to frack our land until it smokes. It would be political suicide to oppose this madness.

      Score one for evil.

  • America may Shutter the Gov't, but not the Gov't's Wars (Astore)
    • The military budget today is welfare for white patriots, from weapons corporations to unemployable bullies in rural Red states. Those corporations have shifted from the advanced parts of the US to the far-right backwaters to align with their pro-war, anti-labor Congressmen. Now they keep each other in power. Far below them, the rural kids facing no real job prospects use the military to attain status and a pension, able to say they are "real" Americans as opposed to the still-unemployed non-whites in the cities. A elite few of these, in turn, become the private contractors of our Occupations and aid missions, rake in more pay than they would in a lifetime in the civilian economy, and come home as men of substance, certain to contribute to the local GOP and far-right churches, and maybe become small businessmen locked into the ideology of free market nostalgia. Men of influence in their communities, the bourgeois layer between the corporations and the poorer veterans.

      Like the antebellum South with its plantation owners who bankrolled the militia whose lower ranks came from a neo-feudal class structure, or even the original model, feudal Europe with the more dangerous peasants co-opted as soldiers and the smarter ones knighted to lord over their fellows, but obligated to fight their lord's wars. Property = weapons = support for the system.

  • Sanders: Climate Change more Menacing than Terrorism (Germanos)
    • It shouldn't be incomprehensible to a critic of market economics that businessmen are willing to destroy the earth for short-term profits.

      Capitalist apologists never talk about the importance of speed in accumulating wealth. Classical capitalists refused to admit that money can change velocity due to crashes caused by short-term investment mania. Keynesians recognized that, but they in turn wanted to speed up the economy all the time, which still has environmental consequences. One of the most logical articles I saw about the '08 Crash noted that New Deal-era tax policies once pressured businessmen into reinvesting their profits into their own businesses, but before and after that era it made more sense to make a quick killing, then gamble it on the markets. They could make enough for a lifetime instead of the drudgery of using their actual expertise growing their own businesses.

      The market always becomes a race. If the reward of winning the race at all costs outweighs the consequences, then everyone will throw out or reinterpret their moral restraints. Gambling is addictive. And the winners can buy private islands and armies to survive while the world burns around them.

    • That was also true of Playboy during Vietnam and Watergate.

  • Top 10 Ways Ted Cruz & the Tea Party Weakened America with Shutdown
    • Well, it's a capitalist representative republic, so obviously that's a limited democracy. Worse, it's one with the worlds' largest corporations, and a citizenry that has forgotten how to fight back against class warfare and has let its institutional defenses wither.

      However, at this moment what are the existing alternatives? None of the rising powers of the world are very just societies. Brazil and South Africa still have oligarchs and ghettoes galore. Russia and China will still run you over with a tank if you say the wrong thing.

      What's really offensive is that this whole shutdown was masterminded by an extremist movement that is fired with anger that the world isn't mean enough to the poor, that the global rich aren't white and Christian enough to love pollution and hate abortion, gays and Moslems as proper Patriarchs should.

      They hate what little is left that's good in the world. And that makes it hard to have optimism for democracy of any kind.

    • You act as though the power the US gives up doesn't go somewhere else. Do you think the US is a uniquely evil nation, or do you recognize that all countries abuse power and that some countries will abuse the power they've got more than others? Multipolarity is inevitable, but it could be a multipolarity in which democracies actually matter. Instead, you seem to be cheering for America to return to isolationism so that Russia, China and its favorite dictators can do whatever it pleases. How about cheering for an EU that can stand up to the sins of America and China at the same time?

  • Celebrating Dirty Gas & Oil is Our Planet's Funeral (Klare)
    • The future is embraced only when it looks like the past.

      But there are reasons to be skeptical of the longevity of these new wells. The gas wells suffer rapid rates of depletion - which investors don't seem interested in researching. Enhanced oil recovery has a disappointing long-term track record. All of that after a huge up-front investment.

      And of course, the oil companies will suddenly remember all that the instant you confront them with the question of why consumer oil and gas prices remain so stubbornly high.

      This is a shadow play, the oil companies and sheikhs trying to run a shell game on the facts and have the best of both worlds, high prices and high consumption. That requires mass optimism, even delusion.

  • Rep. Van Hollen on House Rule Change on Shutdown Vote: "Democracy has been Suspended!"
    • Believe me, that's not their only problem with the 14th Amendment. Look up the term "13th Amendment citizen" to learn what the people who formed the Tea Party were talking about before they had any media spotlight.

  • The Great Solar Car Race begins in Australia: Can it save Humankind?
    • Part of our problem is viewing the automobile as a universal product, with enough range and size to go anywhere and do everything. Cheap gas and steel made such a car possible in America, and then most of the rest of the country was rebuilt so that the tasks would fit. Why should Manhattan and Montana shop for the same vehicles, when the houses and lifestyles offered there are so different?

      The Volt is flawed because it is trying to fit this American demand for universalism by packing two different powertrains at a big cost and weight penalty. It is a stopgap while battery issues are being worked out at a higher price level by Tesla. But we also need a way for electric cars to work for people who live in apartments in big cities, where the air is dirtiest. Doubly so for China. A car that's good for that will not be a great highway cruiser, for several reasons.

  • Top Ten Things Ted Cruz did to the NSA and other Security Agencies that Edward Snowden Couldn't
    • You are talking as if the choice is between the ACA and a better system. I am telling you that the Tea Party demands returning to a failed system as a matter of their birthright as Americans. Read the gun magazine editorials. They are talking about a right to armed rebellion if the electorate dares to even express ideas like, the poor have a right to healthcare. So there are no better alternatives on the horizon if the government caves in to extra-legal blackmail. They will not be voted out of office for doing this because they have gerrymandered districts overrepresenting people who plan to do even worse things in the future.

    • I think you don't understand where the Pauls are coming from:

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      Far-right Catholics are all the rage in America now, even as they've lost their hero in Rome. The Fatima Center has many views in common with Ron Paul, but it has many views in common with anti-Semites - hatred of the UN, an obsession with Jews and Masons as being to blame for all of capitalism's ills rather than the pathology of inequality itself, etc.

      Does Ted Cruz have a problem with any of this?

    • You mean the TV full of violent dark-skinned youths used to justify the Tea Party slogans of "taking back our country"?

      Maybe you underestimate the sheer volume of the cruelty that is planned by, dreamed of, promised to the Real Americans.

    • It does if they have pre-existing conditions, as many of them have.

      And if the far right blackmails the government into repealing Constitutionally-upheld law, do you seriously think they will come up with an alternative? The whole point of the crusade for them is that they are better than the poor, and thus the poor should get sick and die like they deserve. Otherwise they would have an alternative plan.

      If this happens, there will never be another chance until whites become a minority of the electorate - but the emboldened Tea Party will simply keep shutting down the government to eliminate the EPA and all forms of consumer and safety protection, all remaining financial regulations, and finally, the very right of people different from their kind to vote in elections. America will become an apartheid state run by a dwindling minority and their guns.

    • Wow, I guess the peace movement really wants the 19th Century back more than it wants the poor getting health insurance. Maybe that's why so little has been done to advocate transferring military spending to social spending, a simple distinction from the Tea Party agenda that most of you can't be bothered to make.

      When the poor and minorities have to fight another Civil War in this country because the neo-Confederates tried to destroy it and you stood aside, you all won't have saved many lives after all. Syria X 1000.

  • Ted Cruz and America's Super-Rich say "Let them eat Cake"
    • The irony is, American businessmen as a whole might make more money without being burdened by involvement in employee insurance.

      But that's not what this is about.

      You are right that they want the 19th century back, because they have to have certain beliefs about themselves to justify their monstrous egos and agendas. They have to believe that America was "better" when the rich had a total monopoly on power, thus this monopoly must be restored. Different right-wing factions have different narratives on why that is true. But certainly a taste of sadism lurks in the background of all justifications for inequality between humans.

      On the other side, forever breaking the will of ordinary citizens to exercise power is certainly a profitable goal, assuming that broken people won't become dysfunctional after a couple of generations. I just learned the psychological term "learned helplessness", and it seems to fit what landlords have always wanted from serfs. I think the cornerstone goal of the conservative movement has always been to convince the masses that secular improvement by democratic government is impossible. Note the word "secular". Medieval peasants certainly could form mobs to punish those who disobeyed the ruling religion, or assure their ticket to heaven by volunteering for Crusades. The poor of our country were allowed to help enforce the established morality with ropes and torches. It's good to give them an illusion of power as a distraction. But property rights? The rich know that's all that really matters.

  • Why US Clout in the Middle East is Gone (Hiro)
    • I suspect that what happened to Obama in this case was kind of a slapstick version of the very good luck that John F. Kennedy had in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

      Recall that the US helped start that mess by (a) putting nuclear IRBMs in Turkey and (b) trying to overthrow Castro. Kennedy never acknowledged that the Soviets had the same right to put missiles in Cuba, while they assumed that they did. Thus a crisis. And once the fear of being exposed as cowardly set in, it appeared neither side could back down.

      Then Kennedy got ahold of a Soviet statement, half conciliatory and half warlike, and chose to believe that the former represented Krushchev's true intent. Between calling a blockade a "quarantine" and ignoring the parts of the Soviet statement he disliked, he changed the tenor of the war of words. He also removed the (obsolete) missiles from Turkey, de facto recognizing the Soviets had equal rights in that matter, yet wasn't punished for it by the US media.

      Now was that JFK being sloppy and then sneaking his way out of a mess, or was that JFK thinking outside the box? American mythology chose the latter interpretation.

    • I agree. We put the Saud family in a terrible spot long ago, by tying them to us while we were tying ourselves to Israel. But I can't weep for them being put into an impossible situation given that they have no business being absolute monarchs in the 21st century. They have no ideological basis for allegiance to the US. We made veiled threats to invade their oil fields in 1973. They tried to secretly buy nuclear-capable IRBMs from China in the mid-1980s.

      But if we cut them loose, we may have to suffer hard times as the depth of Saudi penetration into the US economy and debt is revealed by their withdrawal. Let's get ready.

    • I think that it would have been extremely difficult to carry out our threat to destroy the chemical weapons by force without having an impact on the war or the nature of a peaceful settlement, and thus tying ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever nasty regime the rebels will try to install. You may think that's not how it works, but the world is cynical and conspiracy-minded. Yes, we are therefore better off for not having to carry it out.

      I agree that rulers must not be allowed to nerve-gas their citizens with impunity, but we didn't punish Suharto in 1966 when the Indonesian Army oversaw the murder of a half million people to secure his anti-"Communist" coup; we backed him. We did that just on suspicion that the old government was turning Communist. We have just as much reason to suspect that murderous jihadis rich in Saudi cash will win out in Syria, so why not judge Assad by the same standard we judged Suharto? I just want to know what the real rules are.

    • While all those Americans who want the empire dismantled are dancing in the streets, they should consider that this did not happen because ordinary Americans are against our hegemonic privileges, but because they felt the country CURRENTLY too weak to defend it.

      Blowback can clobber leftists and libertarians too, you know. Recall "Who Lost China?" and how the resulting witchhunt did more damage to the liberties of ordinary Americans than anything Mao ever did.

      The peace movement celebrates these humiliations of America because it has nothing else, because it failed to educate the American people to reject the self-centered pride that hegemony brought and look for a more sustainable global role. Having America repeatedly knocked down while its people still feel they are the Master Race is a formula that sounds very familiar in the original German.

      This is not surprising since the movement lacks the respect of its fellow citizens (in both directions) and doesn't care what will replace US power. Neo-isolationism is NOT sustainable, nor is the libertarian agenda to destroy government to create a power vacuum that "peaceful" multinational corporations will fill. There are no other democratic great-power states to share power with, only varying degrees of authoritarianism, backing awful stooges like Syria and North Korea. So when US power really runs empty, ordinary citizens will be worked into a frenzy at the sight of all of these states freely exercising their power on their neighbors and their internal enemies as has been the norm throughout civilized history.

      We, the American people, need to be educated on what George Kennan felt ordinary people could never be educated on: the realities of multipolar power and spheres of influence. Great-power democracies have instead relied on closed bureaucratic castes shielded by blind patriotism, or since 1945, simply dumping their sovereign rights on the US military umbrella and ceasing to be great powers. The peace movement was so orgasmic over the US having no power at all that there is no middle ground in the national dialogue that would prepare our citizens for the truth: we will have power but not enough to make us happy.

      Someone, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,

      The courage to change the things we can,

      And wisdom to know the difference.

    • I assume that the author disagrees with you both about the US' actual policy goal in Syria, and what the effects of the deal will be on Syrian military capability. Given that Washington, Moscow and Damascus are full of liars, it's hard to say. If the nerve gas incident was due to a stupid local commander, Assad might be better off having his Sarin taken away as long as he retains his actually useful weapons.

      Remember that for Russia it's all about gaining recognition that Syria is in its sphere of influence. Letting Putin dictate a deal performs exactly this. So do you really think the US accepts that other countries have legitimate spheres of influence where it cannot interfere without permission? That is the norm of great-power politics but it is alien to American thought across most of the political spectrum.

      As to whether the US really wants a peaceful settlement in Syria, it's out of our hands because Saudi Arabia has already committed to its crazy jihadi proxies - unless we stand up to Saudi Arabia. If we're too financially beholden to them to do that, then we really are weak.

      On the other hand, I wish the peaceniks celebrating our defeat would consider the consequences of being able to nerve-gas one's own citizens with such limited penalties; or of illiberal places like Russia and Saudi Arabia being a force in the world. How do these fans of peace feel about gay rights?

  • Iranian President Rouhani acknowledges Holocaust as Crime against Jewish People
    • If we leave the UN, then it means there is no international law, there is no hope for international law, and we're exactly back where we were in 1938. There were no "rogue states" in 1938 because there was no framework to categorize the evil of Germany, Italy and Japan. You're pissed off because international law is not enforced against the people you dislike, but because the US failed to join the League of Nations, ordinary people did not take seriously the idea that nations had rights at all. Even the term "human rights" did not exist. Fascism was a popular movement, spreading across Europe and into Latin America. The fascists could point to the colonial empires of the "have" nations as an excuse that anyone could do anything to anyone that they could get away with. The end of those empires, the end of WW2, and the creation of the UN are intertwined.

      I'm more afraid of what the US might do once its citizens are certain that they can truly do anything they can get away with to hold onto their goodies, than I am of all the other UN members put together.

  • Is Hamas Finished? Facing a Youth Rebellion and Egyptian, Iranian Hostility
    • We should consider the context in which political Islam seemed to appear out of nowhere in 1979.

      1. The US backed the uprising against the Marxist government of Afghanistan - Islamist fanatics always make the best guerrillas.

      2. The Soviet invasion that resulted from that was not opposed by Pakistan's elected leader, so its Army murdered him and formed an anti-Communist alliance with the US.

      3. The fall of the Shah lead to Washington fearing that Communists would take over the revolutionary coalition in Tehran, and the feeling was - for a moment - that Khomeini's people would be preferable.

      In other words, the US itself pumped up Islamism to destroy and replace Marxism and socialism in the Middle East, replacing the hope for justice in this life with justice in the next. Similarly, Israel helped build up Hamas in order to ruin secular/socialist Fateh.

      So for us Islamism was a lesser evil meant to divert these growing young populations for a while. It was up to the Islamists to come up with a movement for earthly economic justice, which is always what is needed, and what the US and #1 sponsor of Sunni radicalism Saudi Arabia violently oppose. Combined with the sellout of social justice by Iran's ayatollahs, and the poor have no place to turn to.

    • I think Spiral007 is defining "second class citizenship" and "apartheid" to mean NO right to vote. Just like the USA and South Africa did. So the question is, do Israelis have the incredible arrogance to think that they could pull off what those other regimes failed to do, or will they just maintain the Occupation forever?

      Just remember, as we speak there are Americans plotting to restore the "original intent" of the Founding Fathers - a state where women and the poor couldn't vote, and the 14th Amendment is eradicated. They're just being very deceptive about it.

  • Solar Car of the Future: Sunswift Solar Two-Seater looks like an ordinary Coupe
    • Well, basically we are a society that is having its ability to aggregate capital for public needs destroyed by corporate power and ideological indoctrination. Every substantial American town used to have a streetcar system, but as we know that was deliberately sabotaged and dismantled. Government will never be allowed to replace cars with mass transit. So electric cars are what we're stuck with until we're serious about a political revolution in this country. Any volunteers?

      Or you can move to NYC, which is, per capita, the most energy-efficient place in America. 100,000,000 Americans moving out to the boondocks and putting up solar panels means:

      1. the boondocks will be destroyed
      2. roads will have to be built because...
      3. houses will have to be built
      4. then people will be further from their jobs

      See the problem here? All of this actually increases energy consumption.

    • I'm afraid you're right. The car in the article has about 4 sq meters of panels. But using rigid silicon panels in cars (the kind that get up to 25% efficiency) is a maintenance nightmare. Cheap thin-film panels are better for this use but only half as efficient. So under ideal solar conditions, like a really hot day in Phoenix, you get at most 500 watts. But it takes several thousand watts to actually move the car down the road.

      On the other hand, if you are in Phoenix, you will need air conditioning when the sun is the brightest, and it is a severe load on the battery. The solar panels should be sized to deal with that duty.

  • Thousand-Year Flood in Colorado: Climate Change & Extreme Weather
    • On the scale of national agricultural economies, extreme weather variation is a disaster. It drives up the cost of growing crops. Family farmers may not have the skills or the credit to adapt. Of course, the corporate farms, who share many of their investors with the fossil fuel corporations, have an advantage, just retraining faceless employees and switching crops.

  • Top Ten things Americans need to Know about Syria if they're going to Threaten to Bomb It
    • Our Constitution was not written with the idea of making it easy to quickly issue threats of overseas force, regardless of the benefits. Congress is meant to gum up the process. Maybe that had to be rethought after 1945, but the American people haven't held a referendum to proclaim outright that Presidents require global credibility so badly that they can do or say anything militarily without being undermined by Congress.

    • I think you've hit on one of the most important long-term problems the US has - its disastrous 60-year project to keep the Middle East under the domination of Israel and Saudi Arabia, two of the most incompatible underlings one can imagine. The Saudis have tried to assert their importance at various times. The first was its joining the oil embargo in '73 in opposition to Israel, which led to Kissinger's pseudonymous threat to invade. Then Saudi encouraged the US to join it and Pakistan in the expansion of the Afghan mujaheddin, with all the grief that has caused us. Then in the mid 80s US intel caught the Saudis building a secret missile site designed to fire Chinese-made, nuclear-capable IRBMs, and quietly quashed the move. Instead, we provided the secret Desert One base to the Saudis, paid for illegally by overcharging weapons sales. Finally, the Saudis had to look on helplessly as the US bungled the Iraqi occupation with severe consequences to Iraqi Sunnis. Since then we have seen a new Saudi assertiveness, apparently intending to create Jihadi tyrannies as a buffer zone wherever Saudi gold can co-opt a civil war.

      So the pattern has been that neither partner can truly act in the interest of the other. When the Saudis act independent, we slap them down; but when we ally with them their Wahhabi extremism leads to tragedy, and when they give in to us, our violent stupidity leads to regional crises. The Saudis refuse to accept that US public opinion is completely poisoned against the only sorts of militants who the Saudis seem to trust. The US refuses to allow Saudi to develop as a normal regional power with normal channels of influence over its weaker neighbors.

      Of course, our relationship with Israel is even more dangerously dysfunctional, but we Americans are more willing to lie for Israel. When we lie for the Saudis, at least we feel bad about it.

  • The US still Wants to be the Sole Superpower; but it Can't (Engelhardt)
    • Part of the uselessness of unipolarity may be, well, with multipolarity allies often are also productive economic partners. Without a Cold War, Europe is actually free to trade with whomever it wants, if only its leaders would stop reflexively obeying Washington's orders. But the greatest achievements of the US-Europe alliance were economic in nature; the Marshall Plan and the demilitarization of relationships between France, Germany and the UK. The US tolerated European social democracy because it feared Communist sympathies among the workers; the result was unimagined prosperity and equality in the latter 20th century.

      Ditto Japan. Ditto whatever people benefitted from USAID projects and the Peace Corps. "Sacrifices" we made for our putative allies by maintaining wartime taxation rates on our oligarchs, who had the most to lose to Communism.

      Now there's no Cold War and the US's primary economic relationships are utterly cynical and non-ideological: China and the Arab monarchies that bail us out with loans. Without a need to make life better for the poor worldwide to stave off radicalism, the unipolar US revealed its true nature: utter plutocracy, our conglomerates in a new war with foreign conglomerates to pillage the planet and put the booty in places where it does nobody any good at all. What good is a military built to attack nation-states when you have corporations replacing nation-states as the real powers?

    • Iran is not the entirety of Central Asia. China is making oil deals with everybody, and building pipelines everywhere. Attacks on those pipelines would still be a real act of war, which the US is too cowardly to attempt.

      But more importantly, we're forgetting that China is foregoing a US-style military by CHOICE. We can put all the military aid in Africa that we please, but the Chinese are already building sweatshops and ports and mines there that put real revenue into the pockets of the local tyrants. Dig it, the Chinese will get a better return on their bribe than we will on ours. This model will be replicated everywhere - because it is exactly how Britain and America became world powers! The weaponry came later. As a power on the Eurasian land mass, China does not need to build a powerful navy as badly as Britain and America did; to interdict Britain's trade with naval blockades was to threaten its existence, but to interdict China's new Silk Road means sending airstrikes far deeper into Asia, to face another Ho Chi Minh Trail nightmare of infinite paths in the wilderness. And it's politically very different than a naval blockade, especially if the road goes into Russia.

      Finally, everyone including Mr. Englehardt seems to be forgetting that China, like Saudi Arabia and Japan, prop up the US dollar by massive purchases of Treasury debt and US real estate. The moment war breaks out, everything comes to a halt on the high seas, in the global markets, and in the shelves of your local Wal-Mart. Both the US and China would face total financial freezeups. Now if Wall Street really runs our government, wouldn't Washington ask it for approval before starting a war with the country that keeps the whole US outsourcing/wage demolition model going? We can't militarize our whole economy overnight the way we could in 1941.

      In fact, we have recreated Mutually Assured Destruction with China, but it no longer consists of nuclear weapons. The danger is that, for this reason, one side or the other will not be successfully deterred from an idiotic act.

  • Not Markets but the People are making the Green Energy Revolution
    • Another example of bias in covering the German struggle to transform their electricity grid: if wind/solar fails, Germany has no reasonable place to go for more energy except buying natural gas from Russia or Iran, strengthening its relationship with those regimes. American capitalist apologists should be cheering Germany on with its current course.

    • That is true, and yet those union reps were unable or unwilling to stop German corporations from building union-busting factories in Tea Party zones like Alabama and South Carolina. This makes me wonder if the German workers understand that they're about to be sold down the river.

    • This is the part of the story that few discuss. To imply that major institutions are on the verge of collapse is to imply the entire American narrative of progress via corporate expansion is a lie. So we can't even begin to use non-corporate metrics to evaluate the quality of our lives in an alternative model. And if a collapse actually occurs, like in the financial sector, all anyone knows how to do is try to patch it back up and make it look the way it did before.

      Ironically, the more precarious this all becomes, as in a declining empire, the less we are willing to gamble on new models that might fail completely and take down the whole system. So no one with real power is willing to take any risk at all with alternative energy.

    • The only economists who can become policy-makers are the ones approved by big business. The rest, most Americans never hear about. Besides, markets look simple, and externalities look complicated. Real turn-off.

  • Is the US Government the Managing Committee of the Pirate Banks?
    • Ultimately, can any doctrine based on private property rights resist the creation of a financial elite? Some of the Founding Fathers were a financial elite too; they owned slaves who were an appreciating asset as long as the plantation system was expanding. Slaves or stocks, they're both capital goods. Not surprising that an elite of slaveowners made slavery politically sacred over time, and that an elite of stockowners did the same later with stocks.

    • Wave after wave of bubbles was in fact the normal state of affairs for the US between the Civil War and 1929. So was wave after wave of deflationary crashes. Why do people so resist the idea that this is an inherent problem - or that this era was worse for the average American than the the more-regulated postwar period?

  • Yep, We're Screwed: Top Ten Recent Climate Change Findings that should Scare You
    • And the United States of America. How could you forget that? Or is the game to say "we all understand there's an emissions problem - now you drop your CO2 first." Kind of like Orwell's phoney war in 1984, where it appears the leaders of all three superstates agree to pretend to fight so they can use a permanent state of war against their own citizens. The most lucrative trade relationship in the world today is between China and the US; not surprisingly those are the two that play Eastasia versus Pacifica on climate matters.

      As to your point that we've had runaway climate events before, note that there was no shaky, corrupt, bubble-prone Wall Street in 400,000,000 BC, much less an entire human race that has made itself economically vulnerable to tiny perturbations in prices, supplies, weather, terrorist acts, etc. In past climate catastrophes, up to 90% of species went extinct. The surviving organisms lived very differently than before.

      All of that without the problem of human emissions causing a runaway warming in decades (still too long for us to care about) rather than in millenia.

  • Defecting Saudi Prince: Royal Family in Panic at Arab Revolts, Thousands imprisoned
    • Wow, people defending the Saudi autocracy here as if it were Gadafi or Assad. I guess anything is good to some radicals as long as it is as different from democracy as possible.

  • Neoliberalism Fail: Top 8 Ways Privatization has Harmed us All (Buchheit)
    • It's really very simple. No one forced the right-wingers to explain why private institutions were replaced by public ones in the first place. All the examples Prof. Cole gives are similar to the crimes capitalists routinely committed during the hyper-libertarian Gilded Age... as well as some other crimes, like the coal companies hiking their prices way up when it got cold so that the poor simply froze in their basement rooms, or the rich using Pinkerton men as private death squads.

      Our great-grandfathers overthrew these evils, and then assumed their descendants would never forget. But we love our corporations today, seduced in a hundred ways that coal companies and railroads lacked the sex appeal to manage.

    • In Houston, the charter schools with the poorest kids have the most scandals. In a highly unequal society, the process by which hustlers con poor people into letting them set up charter schools in abandoned buildings and (in Louisiana at least) park children in front of websites or Christian-extremist propaganda is very different than how it is for concerned, educated middle-class parents in the suburbs.

      Ironically, rich neighborhoods are satisfied with their public schools, because skyrocketing property taxes guarantee they are properly run. The poor are the ones in the process of being herded into private schools. Why? Look at who runs the cheapest schools: the extremist Protestant right. Like the wretched madrassas that Saudi-backed Wahabbis have inflicted on Pakistan, extremist theocratic schools can draw on their hardcore followers for cheap personnel, and throw out any rational standards for outcome as atheistic bigotry. The blacks have to be punished for voting 95% Democratic, and these will be the reeducation camps.

    • How can resources be scarce when there are more and more billionaires while more and more ordinary citizens are sliding down? Could it be that the billionaires have rigged the allocation system, given that they control every damned institution in it that hasn't been castrated? If this is a meritocracy, Bill, how could the rich stock manipulators and real estate scammers and tech nerds of today have more "merit" than the far less rich men who oversaw America's most egalitarian - and prosperous - era from the end of the Depression until the election of Ronald Reagan? It looks a lot more like the old historical pattern of the rise of a parasitic rentier economy in an aging empire.

    • His sense of self-worth comes from his confidence that those "inferior" to him must be even worse off. If you don't think that sadism is enough to sustain a society, look at the South for the last 300 years.

    • Fact: we cannot live on what your infallible market would pay us. Simple supply and demand - there's always someone, perhaps a 2nd family income earner, who will work for less than I can raise my family on. And if there are millions of workers and only thousands of employers, then the latter can bid us down against each other until wages are driven to starvation levels... as they were during the Depression before the minimum wage was imposed. How was it that even without a minimum wage, and no offshoring, we got to 30% unemployment in 1932?

  • Egypt: Food Crisis looms as Interim Gov't decides to disperse Muslim Brotherhood Protesters Peacefully
    • But I bet high food prices made Morsi popular with Egyptian farmers. Isn't the MB popular in rural Egypt? Maybe we haven't paid enough attention to the economics behind the religious politics.

  • Putin as America's Frenemy: The Snowden Paradox
    • I assume Putin's new gay-bashing crusade and the call by Harvey Firestein to boycott the Winter Olympics is going to get dragged into all this. I support Putin's independence from American hegemony, but subjecting all gays to arrest, and even persecuting tourists simply because their countries have legalized gay marriage, is a ridiculous and reactionary act. Uganda's war on gays was the fault of American Christian Right missionaries. But Putin came up with this one all by himself, for reasons that he is surely objective enough to see are only a distraction from his petty tyranny. If we're going to boycott one country over such policies, we should boycott both.

      However, I must admit I'm amused at the cognitive dissonance in our country as those who hate Putin but also hate gays try to square whatever position they take on Russia. If they call for an Olympic boycott over gays, not only do they look confused, but their hero Reagan was the one who said that Olympic boycotts were not the answer.

    • Given whose tax dollars were going where, it's our Congress that ought to be outraged - but it won't say a thing.

  • Congress betrays vow to Uphold Constitution, abrogates 4th Amendment; Snowden is Better
  • A Tale of Two Bombings: Libya too Weak, Egypt too Strong
    • I think we should not forget that in the 1970s there were brutal military dictatorships in place in every country in South America, in Greece, Spain and Portugal, in South Korea and Indonesia. There were Communist dictatorships opposing them in the Cold War from Berlin to Vladivostok. There were civilian tyrants like Marcos in the Philippines and Lee Kwan Yew in Singapore and the apartheid regime in South Africa. The Gang of Four was rampaging in China, and Indonesia's army, having overseen one genocide, was moving on to others.

      By that standard, we have made staggering progress. The problem is what has happened in the developed nations, as wealth polarization and their inability to control former colonial zones has created a climate of paranoia among elites and those bigots they choose as their henchmen.

      Turkey, South Korea, and Brazil took a long time to emerge from military rule; the military often retains a veto in such places after giving up the hassle of direct rule. It is not surprising that this causes resentment and paranoia. But it would have been a terrible tragedy for South Korea and Brazil to slide back into military rule because citizens of opposing factions couldn't even work out their differences with each other in a democratic framework. Those democracies seem safe now, no matter what happens in the streets.

  • Dear Royal Baby: We Americans apologize for our Revolution; please be our Absolute Monarch
    • In fact, it is usually forgotten that the Hanovers were constitutional monarchs, following in the footsteps of William of Orange. There was a Parliament, albeit one whose lower house only 1% of the male population was allowed to vote for, and whose upper house was appointed. Prime Ministers could come from either house, but they were the ones really in charge. Essentially Britain was openly ruled by its 1%, and some of them were a lot more tyrannical than poor crazy George III.

  • Chris Hedges: "We have shifted, I think, from a democratic state to... corporate totalitarianism."
    • I think we were never as much a democracy as we believe, and now we are under corporate authoritarianism. Most of civilized history has consisted of oligarchic rule over debt serfs, mostly unopposed, so it's an attractive model for our masters. Totalitarian is a tricky word; certain extremist leaders and movements have openly aspired to totalitarianism, but in an actual totalitarian society there would be no factions, no individual agendas, and no corruption. I bet even North Korea has plenty of those things going on behind closed doors.

      However, we need some term to define belief systems that demand absolute uniformity and conformance in every area of human existence, turning their followers' lives into an endless collection of favorable anecdotes and endless denunciation of the unfavorable, proselytizing their fellow citizens in an insane crusade for purity. These days they are usually religious movements. They can't win, but they can ruin our lives in their sincere effort.

    • Joe, what Mr. Hedges was saying was:

      liberal mainstream paralyzed > rise of fascists as alternative

      So he's not saying that Obama is Milosevic, he's saying that the Right will champion someone like Milosevic as Obama's replacement in 2016. Given the parade of whackos the GOP has at the state level championing laws designed to encourage vigilantes and militias, and intimidate minorities into moving elsewhere, this appears to be more than a 50/50 chance. It's just a matter of whether our "Serbs" bite.

  • Bye, Bye Florida: Scientists find the last time it was this hot, Seas rose 65 feet
    • But our capitalist economic system is very sensitive to things speeding up or slowing down; investors make assumptions about rate of return on investment and when those assumptions go wrong, we have crashes. Since the investors have, generally, a right-wing bias they will keep guessing wrong about climate effects on their capital. The problem is, those crashes in turn cause cancellations of alternative energy programs and scientific research. So we lurch from calamity to calamity, and more of our "growth" consists of paying people to clean up the messes while our quality of life actually falls.

      Remember, this system is so touchy that a few terrorists with a clever attack can cause a global market crash. This stuff is so much bigger and more relevant than that.

  • Indiana: "How do we get rid of" Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States?'
    • Or even the active perversion of US history by "scholars" like David Barton, trying to shoehorn in a theocratic agenda for the Founding Fathers. I bet Daniels' academic standards dissolve into mist around that hustler.

  • On Anniversary of the First Moon Walk, it is the Chinese who Plan another
    • Depends on what the Chinese intend to do with the Moon after their big photo op.

      One of the barriers to fusion energy is the high temperature needed to fuse deuterium and tritium. It would be easier if we used the isotope helium-3. But this no longer exists on Earth. It drifts around in outer space, and a considerable amount has settled on the surface of the Moon. Now if there was a way to extract a significant amount of helium-3 from lunar soil and return it safely to Earth for research purposes, that would accomplish something.

  • Protests and the Trayvon Martin Foundation: "Trayvon is Down but we're Rising Up"
    • What's shocking are the comments in various media that black men basically are collectively guilty of various things and thus deserve to be shot. Many blacks are describing abuse at the hands of the police despite being affluent older men. Whites say blacks deserve to be abused because they haven't earned respect. But it seems whatever a black man accomplishes is immediately invalidated by right-wing media as suddenly un-American and unjust, all the way up to beating white men out of the Presidency twice in a row. Unless that black man creates a corporation like Chik-Fil-A that kisses bigot ass by openly denigrating gays. Then he's a Real American, especially if he agrees that the rest of his race deserves to be punished for not being rich like him.

      This is not a game that blacks can win except by disappearing.

  • Obama: "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago"
    • I warned these responses were coming, but I'm disappointed to see them here, from people who probably would speak out against an Israeli settler chasing and shooting a Palestinian boy.

      Apparently the white peacenik left has decided that, since Obama is the enemy, and 95% of blacks voted for him, they all deserve to be abandoned to the tender mercies of States' Rights, limited government, and the Tea Party, which a disturbing number of them seem to admire.

      Just as well. White radicals have already proven their uselessness in failing to stop, or even foresee, the rise of the far right. Perhaps in radicals' eyes the crime of the minorities is that indeed they want America to function and prosper.

      Either these old lefties will die in death camps built by a fascist right they helped into power by sabotaging the Democratic Party while utterly lacking the skills to replace it, or they will be overrun and forgotten by the nonwhite demographic wave that is the only thing that can save democracy from that fascism. I intend to fight alongside those who would die rather than see whites restored to the status of a Master Race.

    • Zimmerman wouldn't have gotten out of the car if Trayvon had been white. A white boy would not have been a threat in his eyes. The future implications of legally endorsing that, given America's history, should be obvious to you.

    • You think he deserved to be killed to shut him up?

      Maybe that's what people are getting upset about.

    • Just here to warn you all that a tidal wave of "Trayvon got what he deserved" posts are following right behind me from every other website in the United States.

      Collective punishment is a violation of international law, as Prof. Cole often reminds us, but I guess it's fine within a country. Maybe Zimmerman will move to the Occupied Territories and pursue his relentless hunt for suspicious persons there.

  • Detroit's Bankruptcy and America's Future: Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%
    • I disagree with this, Prof. Cole, although the reasons are kind of scary. CNC lathes are now getting down to the cost of major appliances. The printers are already beginning to get on the road to Moore's Law, and they will figure out how to use cheap biomass and plastic because people will want to recycle if they can personally get new toys out of it. I've even seen articles on home genetic engineering, God help us.

      The problem is what choices we make as a society about how this evolves. The capitalist jihadis who infest our land will want to make sure the corporations they worship keep getting paid when you or I make anything using downloaded plans. The libertarians will suddenly scream bloody murder about every single idea in your head being the intellectual property of a proper owner who has the right, nay, the duty to charge an arm and a leg. What they all fear is the rise of a largely non-cash economy, which you know was the norm before industrialization.

      There are good guys who are fighting them, like Lawrence Lessig, and Nina Paley, who put her animated feature on the Internet for free because the absurd "Sonny Bono" laws bought by Disney prevent her from using 90-year-old songs, radicalizing her into an advocate of dumping intellectual property completely:

      I would argue that the 3D printers ARE the robots, Aaron. They are capital that we can own, in the same way that a laser printer is capital, or an Internet connection that lets us sell stuff on Ebay. We can't just let the "market" dictate what we do with the surplus capacity this represents when this technology brings all our corporate-indoctrinated ideas about markets into question. Instead of just hunkering down in a bunker to build guns to guard my gold, why should I not pulp some wastepaper to convert into a half-dozen tables and give five to my neighbors? Someone is actually building a bicycle right now using 3D-printed parts. Is it even worth locking up as property, or might he not leave it in the street for someone else to use? More examples:

      link to

      The remaining problem is, can our consumer addiction to status symbols and excess be broken so that we can rationally determine the laziest means to get what really makes us happy in the long term? That would be the stake through the heart of the growth-based capitalist system.

    • You use the word "people", when in fact you are talking about the murderous competition between peoples. Technological progress allowed white armies to destroy hundreds of peoples in the Americas. And there are many "technologies"; the primitive barbarians who overran Roman civilization had technologies that enabled this, but the net result was a collapse of technology that cost Europe 1000 years and most of its population.

      Question is, are you hoping that when your favored technologies are done, America will be cleansed of those peoples you've already decided are inferior, either by starvation or by their utter, Borg-like absorption into the infallible juggernaut of Anglo-American capitalism? Because that is what actually has happened in the past whose terms you define so sloppily.

    • Nathanael, there is a greater danger awaiting in this and other recent stories. For the GOP, terrorizing Latinos into leaving Arizona, or blacks into leaving Florida for northern states, would be a great victory due to the distribution of votes in Congress and the Electoral College. The terrorists would have won - eternal white minority control over all America. But the corporations DON'T want non-whites to leave, they want them compelled to work in places where they can't vote. There can be no good end to this deliberate cruelty.

    • Because the government of Detroit had no defense against capitalists outsourcing labor to those lands that treat their workers the most crappily, or the car companies themselves making bad cars. In 1957, during a spurt in auto sales, the Big 3 converted their quality-control workers into extra assembly line workers. When the spurt collapsed, those workers weren't returned to quality control. The poor quality of US cars for the next 20 years was striking. See Brock Yates' "The Decline and Fall of the American Automobile Industry" for a more balanced view than yours.

      All the benefits you laud are those of short-term profit: move in, exploit everyone, make a ton of money and when the workers demand better wages, run to the next low-wage state, leaving a burnt-out shell. It is the industrial equivalent of slash-and-burn agriculture. Detroit is being left as a wasteland for someone else to fix; when they're willing to work for Chinese wages I'm sure capitalism will come back.

    • I agree that this is intended to be our future. Jean Laherrere explained that fossil fuels came along just in time to replace slavery and debt serfdom in Western private economies. He called these fuels "energy slaves". So if supplies get tight...

    • Interesting that you immediately embraced this conspiracy rumor unbacked by documentary evidence. You didn't use hypothetical language here: "Those left-wing academics involved in the planning certainly gave no thought..." You didn't point out that there was no logical path to gain for them in destroying Detroit, and that they would be in risk simply by being at their offices with the trigger-happy US Army in the vicinity. Or that in the anti-War movement of that time, students often took actions that inconvenienced uncomprehending academics of every ideological stripe, locking them out of their facilities and disrupting their lectures.

      You clearly love the idea that there is no injustice worth rebelling against in America, just commie professors to blame for everything.

    • Confiscation and nationalization are not the only ways to put robots to work for all of us.

      In books like "Secrets of the Temple" and "The Soul of Capitalism", William Greider praised Louis Kelso, a libertarian banker who realized that polarization of wealth under capitalism would destroy society, but did not want a state-owned alternative.

      Kelso's argument, a half-century ago, was that automation indeed would ruin the workers, because the technology was too powerful to stop. The least obtrusive alternative was to turn ordinary citizens into capital owners. His mechanism was for the Federal Reserve to stop creating money by buying Treasury debt, and do it instead by purchasing the debt paper of employee-owned and community-owned trusts, which financed new capital formation. "When the new ventures paid off the debts on their new machines and factories, the loan paper would be retired and ordinary citizens would hold title to the new capital stock."

      As we saw after the 2009 crash, the Fed did eventually have to buy private loan paper to restart capital formation, but it was that of those already rich - who got richer. You would have to read "The Soul of Capitalism" for analysis of how worker and community-owned institutions can be made more reliable than those of the robber barons like Goldman Sachs.

    • The ability to vote with their feet is probably a big reason US workers have always been more politically conservative than their European brothers. Note that the famous announcement of the closing of the frontier in the 1890s heralded a great era of labor struggle; while the 1950s creation of the fake frontier of sprawl via cars, highways, and suburbs ruined labor's sense of community and swung America back to the right.

    • Marx lived under a capitalism which mostly sold necessities, not luxuries. So the normal craving of capitalists to drive down wages left workers with no choice but to go deeper into debt to keep buying things they had to have in order to exist. That looked like a recipe for escalating rebellion. However, when Ford introduced the $5 day, he was sensing a new dynamic based on discretionary purchases: if his own workers got the right amount of money, they would buy the Model Ts they produced and he'd make back what he lost in wages.

      The downside to this was that if the stock market collapsed, workers could defer these discretionary purchases and the economy might never recover. But the corporations by Ford's time had already begun to learn to use media indoctrination to make these discretionary purchases into seductions, in effect becoming heroin pushers while their worker/consumers became junkies who would sacrifice all aspects of their humanity to restart consumption.

      When capitalists arrived with no experience with the Great Depression, the old patterns began to reassert themselves. Now we're back to the plundering stage.

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