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Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:31 PM

RANT: Did you hear that faint creak? It was America's problems passing the tipping point.

Between the louder crashes of masonry falling from the ceiling I just heard a little...well, like a little creak. Almost missed it, too. That worried me more than anything. I don't care about the roof caving in but that sound means the foundation is going.

House representatives have two year terms. Senators have 6 year terms. The President has 4 year terms. And they're all staggered.

Even then, I think they can get it together enough to put a new roof on the house or a new deck in back or drop some bombs on the bad folks down the block. If they really had to, they could probably do it. I'd like to think so, anyway.

But I don't think with the way America has gotten they're gonna get their shit together enough to restore America to something healthier, something free or freer of corruption and graft. I don't think they have it in them.

The foundation is going, folks. This isn't about Obama or House reps or Senators and it's not even about Democrats or Republicans or third parties. The foundation is going and the people who we need to be concentrating on bringing us out of this mess are, most of them, already bought up by corporate, banking or other industrial interests and whose view of the world is limited in the extreme. I'm coming to terms with the realization that at least two of the three branches of government might have entered a permanently failed state. An unrecoverable dysfunction.

Like the Soviet Union was, when I was growing up. Corruption, corruption, corruption and a gestapo-style state-police to enforce it all.

We no-longer have the luxury of living in the "My Children Will Fix It" world, either. I'm almost 40. This shit is starting to snowball and the wheels are going to come off in my lifetime and probably in your lifetime, too. With the banking meltdowns here and in Europe you could arguably make the case that they already have.

I am not real excited by the prospect that the rest of my natural life will be filled with continuous wars, banking calamities, struggling to afford good healthcare (even in the good times), watching my inalienable Constitutional Rights abridged or "reinterpreted" away, entirely. Partisan political catamites spin what they can but there are good people, or at least people with some thread of decency in them, on both sides of the aisle.

But I don't think there's enough of them anymore, even if you gathered them all up regardless of party affiliation. My choice of futures as a middle-class American are rapidly slimming down to "Would you like to be slapped hard forty times in the face or be knocked out from a single blow?"

PB

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Reply RANT: Did you hear that faint creak? It was America's problems passing the tipping point. (Original post)
Poll_Blind Jun 2012 OP
PDJane Jun 2012 #1
Poll_Blind Jun 2012 #5
dkf Jun 2012 #11
PDJane Jun 2012 #13
jtuck004 Jun 2012 #22
dkf Jun 2012 #27
jtuck004 Jun 2012 #45
JDPriestly Jun 2012 #43
adigal Jun 2012 #57
MannyGoldstein Jun 2012 #2
ManyShadesOf Jun 2012 #9
airplaneman Jun 2012 #14
Poll_Blind Jun 2012 #12
sudopod Jun 2012 #29
Blue_In_AK Jun 2012 #41
Plucketeer Jun 2012 #53
MannyGoldstein Jun 2012 #55
Egalitarian Thug Jun 2012 #3
Zalatix Jun 2012 #4
Poll_Blind Jun 2012 #21
Zalatix Jun 2012 #30
Dont call me Shirley Jun 2012 #36
Zalatix Jun 2012 #48
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #6
Poll_Blind Jun 2012 #33
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #34
mick063 Jun 2012 #7
oldhippydude Jun 2012 #15
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #35
kurt_cagle Jun 2012 #40
ManyShadesOf Jun 2012 #8
me b zola Jun 2012 #10
socialist_n_TN Jun 2012 #16
Poll_Blind Jun 2012 #58
Wolf Frankula Jun 2012 #17
patrice Jun 2012 #18
socialist_n_TN Jun 2012 #19
Capt.Rocky300 Jun 2012 #24
socialist_n_TN Jun 2012 #42
socialist_n_TN Jun 2012 #20
L0oniX Jun 2012 #23
valerief Jun 2012 #26
valerief Jun 2012 #25
Dont call me Shirley Jun 2012 #38
Odin2005 Jun 2012 #62
caseymoz Jun 2012 #28
kurt_cagle Jun 2012 #32
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #39
kurt_cagle Jun 2012 #46
woo me with science Jun 2012 #51
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #52
CanonRay Jun 2012 #54
kurt_cagle Jun 2012 #31
FarCenter Jun 2012 #37
99Forever Jun 2012 #44
stupidicus Jun 2012 #47
bleever Jun 2012 #49
Dragonfli Jun 2012 #50
riderinthestorm Jun 2012 #56
treestar Jun 2012 #59
felix_numinous Jun 2012 #60
Odin2005 Jun 2012 #61

Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:35 PM

1. That creak is the tipping point to the fascist state,

And yes, I believe it's a done deal. The American exceptionalism thing sounds like self-delusion.

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Response to PDJane (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:43 PM

5. Technically, it almost always probably was. But there was a time you could...

...make the argument for American Exceptionalism with a straight face, at least. That time was probably before I was born, though.

PB

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Response to PDJane (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:18 PM

11. If we aren't exceptional why do we get to use up so much more resources per capita than others?

 

Without the "exceptionalism" all we are is an outlier about to revert back to the mean.

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Response to dkf (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:25 PM

13. I keep getting hammered when I point that out.

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Response to dkf (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 03:33 PM

22. Are pigs exceptional just because they are, well, pigs? n/t

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #22)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 04:05 PM

27. And we are the pigs? Lol.

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #27)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:53 PM

45. Thought you might like that one <G> n/t

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Response to dkf (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:38 PM

43. Not for long. That is not going to last.

Right now, we live well because of the status and the value of our dollar.

Unfortunately, the industrial prowess that supported the dollar and placed it at the peak of the world's currencies is falling giving way.

I read an article today (posted on DU from the Daily News) about a Bible manufacturer who is outsourcing jobs to the Philippines. That is kind of a last straw for me. We cannot even produce Bibles at a competitive price.

Free trade is just another word for the US allowing foreign companies to dump cheap products into our economy, destroy our industry, decimate our tax base and crush our job market.

Free trade permits the transfer of our economic base to other economies.

We don't have raw materials to export -- not to the extent that countries in the so-called third world do.

Free trade encourages the transfer of our economic base to countries that are closer to the raw materials.

The wealthy don't need to worry they figure. They think that they will always be able to afford stuff. The rest of us know better. Our incomes have declined while the incomes of the rich have increased. That is just the first step. The whole country will become poorer. That is the next step.

I have a friend who can afford to shop in the best stores. Her clothes are still well made. I can't afford those stores. My clothes are really cheap. Back in the late 1980s, the big department stores, Buffums, Bullocks, the good quality middle class stores, sold their stock cheap and closed down.

They have been replaced by stores that sell poorly made Chinese and other foreign clothing. (I don't need to name them. They are the only places that middle class and poor people can shop.) Have fashions changed? Yes. But style changes have covered up an invasion of downright shoddy sewing and flimsy fabrics.

The same is true in nearly every area of our economy.

Think of all the Americans who are now buying computers made in Asia. How long do you think that our dollar will be valued enough to motivate the Asian manufacturers to sell them to us at prices we can afford? What are we selling to Asians in return for those computers? Bible factories? Factory equipment? Technology? Won't be long they will surpass in those areas too.

I am utterly pessimistic. Republicans are idiots who can't see further than their noses. At the moment they are rolling in dollars, but what they don't realize is that those dollars are probably worth more now than they will ever be in the future.

And when American businesses go to sell in countries in which English is not the primary language, they will find cultural barriers, racism and other problems that they cannot imagine.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #43)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 10:04 AM

57. Buy vintage or used - I will NOT pay for clothes Made in China

Some other countries are OK, but nope - won't do it. I just wrote a comment on a NY Times story about how to take down the corporate overlords - stop buying their crap. Buy locally made, buy used, no reason to buy a new anything. Really. Think about it - what do you need new?? A plasma TV? Nope, don't need it. A car?? Loses its value fast. NOthing. I need nothing new. Screw the corporations and their Chinese workers. I don't support them anymore.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:36 PM

2. Excellent analysis

It's at least 4-8 years until actual adults are able to start putting things right, depending on who wins the presidency this fall.

It got fixed under FDR, it can get fixed again. Or we get Hitler, like Germany got.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:07 PM

9. 2000 was the tipping point.

 

It got "fixed" all right

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Response to ManyShadesOf (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:28 PM

14. I see two different dates

1980 was really the beginning politically with Reagan.
1970 was the beginning shift in industry and a few wealthy and a system that shared the wealth to what we have now where wealth is no longer shared equitably.
-Airplane

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:20 PM

12. It maybe can be fixed after some period of time, but it's what's going to...

...creep up in the in-between that worries me. I've written about Ron Paul's significance as an indication of failed Democratic and Republican party leadership before and though there may be some reprieve for America, leading up to that event the worst and most dangerous candidates and parties will also have opportunities as well. Similar thing with that fascist Greek party. In times of political turmoil there's that moment where things can go either way. America will be no different, I imagine.

PB

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 05:18 PM

29. i think the development of fascism in Italy is a better analogy.

but YMMV.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:36 PM

41. But even Germany got fixed

(sort of).

I'm not quite ready to give up on the US, because, as you say, we've overcome some terrible obstacles in the past, but it's getting harder and harder to be optimistic.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:30 AM

53. Fixed how?

There's no second industrial revolution coming for us to rear up on. We're reduced to self-agandized users. Users being used. The Rethug servants aren't in a position to do anything of reason. Their wealthy owners are just twiddling them thru the motions of legislators (and not very convincingly at that!). In fact, BOTH parties are owned and it is so blatantly obvious. It's hard to imagine WHEN the prey will wake up and realize they're being preyed upon. At 67, I'm doubting I'll ever see that moment if it IS to come to this nation.

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Response to Plucketeer (Reply #53)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:55 AM

55. Perhaps we should look to the Scandanavian countries for some guidance

Or Germany. They do well while their people do well. Not perfectly analogous, but somewhat.

I agree that things will need to get worse before they get better. I posted that the other day and was swarmed by the normal Third-Way crowd telling me that I was a horrible human being for thinking that.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:36 PM

3. Wish I could give you a good argument.

 

Sorry.

Really sorry.
K&R

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:40 PM

4. It's a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.

 

In their day it was sex and debauchery, but today it's the war on the poor.

America is infested with social Darwinistic tendencies that are so gratuitous it's downright pornographic. The Plutocracy makes sport of making people suffer.

This can only end in an absolute collapse - it's the only thing that can throw the Plutocracy off our backs. The alternative is much worse: walled cities for the rich, and The Road for everyone else.

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Response to Zalatix (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 03:27 PM

21. "...and The Road for everyone else." (Shudder) That's a...

...scary image but I can't shake the feeling that whatever it was, some kind of floor that existed before, that that's gone now and there's a certain creeping comfort in the national consciousness with letting a huge segment of the population just drop. It's nightmarish. It's like the vote in Wisconsin to keep Walker. It is quite beyond my understanding. You know, right after Walker won, Grover Norquist tweeted something very close to "Ok, we won. This (Walker's behavior) works. Get to it!"

That's unreal.

PB

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Response to Poll_Blind (Reply #21)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 05:18 PM

30. Most people don't think it's THAT bad.

 

They'll just keep saying one of 2 things

"It can't happen to me because I'm industrious and righteous"
or
"Why don't they care???"

right up to the very end.

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Response to Zalatix (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:13 PM

36. barbara satan bush and her eugenics sickness coming to roost.

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #36)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:15 PM

48. Which is why President Obama said we're entering into an era of social Darwinism.

 

Hopefully people will wake up to the real meaning of his words before it's too late.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:54 PM

6. I feel it's like a run-away train. Alexander Cockburn wrote an article "So Who's the FAscist Here?"

in the May 21, 2012 issue of The Nation mag.

"We live in a fascist country - "proto-fascist" if you want to allay public disquiet, though there's scant sign that most Americans are disturbed by the trends."

How can we get a corrupt Congress to reform itself?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #6)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:03 PM

33. "How can we get a corrupt Congress to reform itself?" I don't think it can. I think we've...

...crossed over the line where there are not just more corrupt members of the legislative branch but enough more that they can prevent their own removal without having to concentrate themselves entirely. And "proto-fascist" is not too far off, in my book.

PB

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Response to Poll_Blind (Reply #33)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:07 PM

34. I am afraid I agree. We have crossed the line.

In fact that's OWS's message, at least what I get from them. It's futile to hope to use a corrupt system to fix the system.

And I wouldnt be surprised if OWS does say, re. WI, "see we told you".

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:01 PM

7. People hate it when you mention

 

Germany pre WWII.

Though the analogy is tired, overused, and often mistakenly applied by folks of all philosophical/political persuasions, the hard truth is.......

The analogy applies.

Dept of Homeland Security = Federalized, centrally controlled, police = Gestapo.

Swastiska = Nationalisitic fervor = "Patriot, American flag, Red White and Blue"

I expect the extremists will always try to implement their "vision" of a superior society. Often such visions end in oppression and or war. Such is the mindset of those that think in terms of conquest. The conquistadors of modern times are the financial power brokers.

Don't get me wrong, I still love what this country has historically represented, but these are indeed very, very dark times.

Population growth and industrialization of the third world = no possible cure for what is coming.

Profiteers will be selling mere survival to the highest bidder, regardless of how "exceptional" the nation is and corporate "personhood" will put the law squarely behind them.

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Response to mick063 (Reply #7)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:29 PM

15. agree Mick

without invoking "Godwin's law".. the first time i heard Home land security, i flashed of the term "Fotherland"

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Response to mick063 (Reply #7)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:12 PM

35. I agree, plez see post 6. nm

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Response to mick063 (Reply #7)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:32 PM

40. Apt in some respects, not in others

Germany had been defeated after World War I and placed under heavy war reparations - "austerity" as we would call it today. Financial mismanagement resulted in the massive hyperinflation in the period from about 1921-1924, raising resentment levels among a population that was already used to being under arms. While one could argue that the Reichstagg Fire and 9/11 were similar, the one caused a political regime change (Hitler coming to power in 1931) while the other did not. 1 in 6 adult Germans were in uniform by 1936, while in the United States it's closer to 1 in 100. Germany was politically unified by the early 1930s - the communists were generally incarcerated early, and even in the early 1930s there were Jews that were strongly pro-Nazi, it wasn't until they became targeted as a political class in 1932 that concern among most German Jews began to rise.

The US is divided geographically, politically, and economically, to the extent that two or three states in the Midwest can change the balance of power politically. It's too big for either party to completely politically purge the other without raising so much hue and cry as to send the offending political parties packing. It's a security state, but not really a police state. Police states have one party in such complete political control as to make it feasible to "disappear" people on a wide spread basis. For most people, the Dept of Homeland Security does not really enter their lives, save for either air travel or FEMA during emergencies. Could they morph into something like the Gestapo? Possibly, but keep in mind that the Gestapo emerged primarily from the brown-shirted thugs that helped him get into power, and the SS was created as an elite fighting unit more akin to Army Rangers or Navy Seals or the US Secret Service protecting the president.

It's possible for a charismatic authority to emerge in the next few years a la Hitler, but I think it unlikely. The country is too polarized. Any one person who is revered enough by one faction will be considered the devil by the other. I see the rise of a secessionist leader as a far higher possibility - someone who advocates secession and is able to mobilize half the country behind him.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:06 PM

8. your choices

 

are what you support with (what's left of) your purchase power and lifestyle choices.

"My choice of futures as a middle-class American are rapidly slimming down to "Would you like to be slapped hard forty times in the face or be knocked out from a single blow?" "

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:17 PM

10. I too believe that we have crossed the Rubicon

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:31 PM

16. That's similiar to what I was trying to say here.........

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002789821

I just don't think that the proto-fascists CARE anymore about whether things even APPEAR fair and honest anymore.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #16)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 11:51 AM

58. And there's the rub: Even if you could get fair elections, you still...

...have to worry about the politician you elected being bought out after they enter office.

PB

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:35 PM

17. What urgently needs to be done is to liquidate the empire

Here I agree with that right wing nutcase Pat Buchanan. The US needs to get rid of its empire. Pull American troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Africa, Australia, Japan and elsewhere. We can't afford imperial wars any more. (I maintain we never could.)

The US needs to stop intervening everywhere. Everybody's problem is not our problem. We have no business in Syria, we had none in Kosovo, Bosnia, Lybia, Iraq.

Imperial overstretch ruined Rome, Byzantium, France, Spain, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, Germany. It is ruining the United States. We cannot be, and are not, the world's cop, boss, and Santa Claus.

Wolf

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:36 PM

18. I have been hearing that creak ever since the 2002passage of the Authorization to Use Military Force

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:45 PM

19. I agree that it's too late even for reforms.........

to work. They are well on their way to instituting full fledged fascism. Of course, that's not what it will be called, but it WILL quack like that kind of duck.

The only way we can stop it now is if enough people (a SOLID minority would be enough) just STOP cooperating. Stop working, stop paying bills, everybody declare bankruptcy and flood that court system, get arrested and flood the criminal court system, etc. In general, just stop cooperating with the system that's fascist. Will a big enough minority (or even majority) have the will and the organization to do this all at once? We'll see, but that IS what it will take.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #19)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 03:54 PM

24. Nobody is going to do that........

they might miss Dancing with the Stars.

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Response to Capt.Rocky300 (Reply #24)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:38 PM

42. Too bad then...........

Maybe when Dancing with the Stars becomes pay-per-view? Or maybe when their electricity is cut off for non-payment. Or they're evicted because they can't pay the rent or the mortgage. Or when more than a few have to choose between food and meds.

They will if they are forced to. The way things are going that could be a sizable minority at any time. Like maybe the NEXT crisis of capitalism.

Let's put it this way. If half the country's population is in poverty or near poverty (a stat I read here on DU), how much of a shock to the capitalist system will it take to send this entire group ALL THE WAY into poverty? And abject poverty at that. The kind of "nothing left to lose" poverty that gets people in the streets because they're already LIVING there or soon will be.

Remember the shocks to the system will be coming faster and faster as resources run out. So instead of a Great Depression and a Great Recession separated by 80 years or so, there's two "Great" recessions separated by 10 years. Or 5 years. Or every couple of years. With the recoveries being milder and NOT reaching the bottom strata at all.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)


Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 03:49 PM

23. As long as we keep increasing military spending ...everything will be fine.

Do I really need the sarcasm tag?

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Response to L0oniX (Reply #23)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 04:03 PM

26. Please. You're forgetting tax cuts for the rich, er, job GODS. nt

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 04:03 PM

25. I keep saying we're the new USSR. We're the USSA. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #25)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:18 PM

38. Did you see the movie "The Day After Tomorrow"

The neo-con symbolism fraught throughout the movie is an omen of what they have up their sleeves. The worst though is the soviet ship floating into wall st and the 3 hounds of hell are realeased from the ship.

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #38)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 02:58 PM

62. The VP in the movie screams "Cheney".

He even LOOKS like The Dick!!!

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 04:25 PM

28. I heard it a few years ago.

I remember I went to a meeting of progressives a few years ago. What amazed me was what exactly I had been seeing on the boards. They all had a different idea of what the most important, absolute priority problem was. One said voting: we had to get these electronic voting machines out. One said food self-sufficiency. One said jobs and outsourcing. One said campaign financing. One said. One said the environment. One said education. One said wealth distribution. There were more problems named than that. There were only about 20-25 people there, and I mean it, almost nobody could agree on what problem to focus on. My initial question, of course, was, are progressives this divided? Can't we agree on anything?

However, when I left, I realized those progressives weren't the problem. They were all right. Those are all extremely serious problems, and any one of them should be the priority. Any three would seriously impair a nation, and right now, we're suffering all of them.

What's more, I concluded that any social/political system that let so many problems slide is not capable of fixing them. At that moment, I began to think of humankind post-United States. I see anarchy as a possibility as much as fascism, or anarchy at the end of fascism. Fact is, we don't know what we're going to get.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #28)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:03 PM

32. Yes

I write long posts, a habit I need to get out of, so I'll try to keep this short (and point to my other post in this thread).

A common tactic from the right is to set fires in as many places as possible, knowing full well that the left will immediately rush in pell mell to try to put out as many of those fires as they can. While the left is putting out fires, the right sneaks into the bank and robs it.

This is a remarkably successful strategy short term. Longer term, of course, it's very destructive, especially when the left is unable to contain one or two fires that then spread beyond the ability to combat them, at which point, the whole town burns down. Inevitably the surviving members of the right point to the inability of the left to deal with the problems, even when those problems were caused by the right in the first place.

In a properly regulated society, those people who set the fires are caught and dealt with as part of the solution. However, when the society is too heavily regulated, it tends to catch people who might set fires, or are sympathetic to the fire setters, or are being paid by others to set fires, or may even be people who just happen to look like fire setters. The fear of getting caught by the fire fighters outweighs perceiving the benefit of those fire fighters, especially since the fire fighters are trying to look at longer term issues the implementation of which may negatively impact the otherwise unaffiliated person in the short term, making them more sympathetic to the fire-setters' viewpoint.

As I say elsewhere, I personally think that the likely end state is going to be the disintegration of the US into a number of smaller countries, each of which are able to tackle their local issues in local ways. I think there will be a civil war, but it will be short and the violence will be localized, and it will be decided primarily by air power, and that we'll then go through another seventy or eight years of small scale battles as these countries jockey for key resources. The south will revert to a de facto aristocratic oligarchy with a highly religious populace, the Northeast and the MidAtlantic will become an Eastern Liberal bastion, the Midwest will be slightly right of center, the plains will become a libertarian paradise(?!) until environmental degradation makes them all ardent environmentalists, the Pacific coastal region will become a left of center ecotopia, and the southwest will become a de-facto Hispanic country distinct from Mexico but politically more aligned with it. Several states will get broken apart in the process. Canada may get caught up in the process as well - Alberta and Saskatchewan are more political similar to Montana than they are to either Western British Columbia or Toronto, and a separatist Quebec would effectively split the country into three parts anyway.

I think this is a natural evolution, and is actually consistent with the ideals of the United States as a test bed of new political systems. Until now the political tensions that exist have provided a balancing dynamic that's given the country some flexibility, but its increasingly becoming evident that as the conflagrations rage that flexibility has all but disappeared.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #28)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:19 PM

39. Of course progressives arent the problem but the centrists would tell you different.

Actually I dont believe the wacko right wing are the problem. They are obvious, and it is easy to point out their fallacies. It's the centrists that are willing to follow along and not speak out while we slide into fascism.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #39)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 07:09 PM

46. Centrists are ...

almost by definition, invested in the status quo.

I use the term right and left here as bad political shorthand. I believe that the default state for Americans is a moderate form of conservatism - don't change the status quo save those cases where such changes don't have any immediate effects upon them. They are not long term thinkers, but overall are neither inclined to be venal nor punitive towards others. The "right" are in fact made up of a handful of different interest groups - religious fundamentalists that would like to see a modern theocracy with them in charge, libertarians who philosophically believe that centralized federated government is wrong (govt as wealth redistributors), military leadership (who enforce empire), who prefer clear chains of command, and the petro-complex elite, who generally profit most from the existing empire. The "left" on the other hand include labor and trade unions, minorities (though this is really only true for minorities that have not yet developed significant socio-economic presence), women, creatives, academics and information professionals (barring a strong libertarian presence among programmers), environmentalists and scientific researchers.

Many of these people on the left are systemic thinkers. Women in general tend to take a longer, more global view than men, creatives are generally more aware of social threads and trends that help them think more systemically, and most academics, IT pros, environmentalists and researchers deal with systemic views on a daily basis. The right does have its systemic analysts as well, but most of these are in the arena of financial services where that systemic bent is biased towards either identifying trends for making money or for identifying potential danger points where money might be lost. Significantly, even there financial analysts still tend to be more progressive than their sales oriented associates.

People on the right generally far more doctrinaire than the left, usually take a far more short term view of the world, and are far less inclined to question themselves. Their reaction to criticism is generally to want to attack it as being wrong, whereas someone on the left looks at criticism as a data point in the systemic model they are creating. You can have left-leaning dogmatics, of course, people who become so invested in their models as to not recognize any alternative datapoints, but for some reason dogmatism seems to be a central characteristic of the right.

Finally you have sociopaths who may actually be quite good at systemic thinking, but just DON'T CARE about the consequences if it benefits them over any time scale that's important to them. They will take advantage of the analysis on the left to help shape their own thinking, but will then use the dogmatism of the right in order to hide the fact that THEY are the ones behind the fire-setting, even if it's not directly by their hand.

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Response to kurt_cagle (Reply #46)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 02:52 AM

51. The Third Way apologists are not "centrists."

Indefinite detention, "kill lists" and drone wars, pre-emptive war as administration doctrine, spy centers for mining or surveillance of all phone calls and email without a warrant, internet IDs and internet-censoring measures like ACTA, military drones in American skies, coordinated violent crackdowns against peaceful protesters, strip searches for any arrestee, bailouts and settlements for corrupt banks, and austerity budgets in an economy that has already impoverished its middle class.....These are not moderate or centrist positions. Not by a long shot.

These are extreme corporatist, neocon, and police state policies, not "centrist" or moderate at all. And they are coming from corporatists in both parties.

It is imperative that we Occupy to get the corporate money out of politics.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #51)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:06 AM

52. I completely agree. However, it's the centrists that fight for status quo

even when that is slipping into fascism. They make up a large voting block and they enable The Third Way. The bullies would not be as dangerous if they didnt have an army of enablers.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #28)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:46 AM

54. Problems are mounting faster than we can tackle them

even if we could muster the political will to work on ANY of them, which we can't seem to do. You are exactly correct.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 05:19 PM

31. People are just hearing this "creak" now?

James Michael Greer actually made a very good analysis of the situation a few weeks back:

We have reached a state where there are too many competing political interests and have become functionally gridlocked as a country. What this means in practice is simple - the ship of state is going nowhere. This may not seem obvious (those of us on the left keep looking at the continued rightward tilt of the country, for instance) but in reality ever political power base agenda is balanced out by a different power base, and each side is terrified that the other will gain control (note, I actually believe this is more the case on the right than it is on the left).

There are very real problems in the US. The financial system needs to be reformed, but the banks are just powerful enough to block those reforms, but not really powerful enough to shift the power significantly the other direction. The petrochemical industry needs to be reformed, but the PCI is just strong enough to block those reforms. The power of religion in politics is a definite concern, but the religion industry (and don't ever think it's not an industry) can block those reforms, but can't quite manage to push its own agendas. The gridlock in Congress may be taken as left vs. right, but its also competing industries and players within industries attempting to get their own agendas met. The period prior to World War II is actually a pretty good example of this, with one MAJOR exception - at the time, the US was a growing country, was shifting into a second stage petroleum based economy, had a budget surplus and was effectively unconstrained resource wise. It was also geographically separated from the problems engulfing Europe and could shift a massive amount of its infrastructure into the conflict in World War II. In the process, it effectively turned the leading empire of the time, England, into a vassal of the United States (note that England does not have military bases located in American soil).

Today, the US is a late third stage petroleum based empire: petroleum supplies are becoming increasingly constrained, it is a net importer of raw petroleum supplies, and the ability to protect that supply of petroleum, while still strong, is diminishing daily. Over the course of the next twenty years, occupation manpower (soldiers and mercenaries) will decrease 30-50%. The average age of ships of the line is now 42 years. For a little while, automated fighting units - drone aircraft, drone tanks and so forth, will be ramped up as "low-cost" alternatives, but such units can be captured and disrupted, and eventually the edge will shift enough to local forces, leading to a dramatic loss of presence worldwide.

Empires flourish so long as there are colonies that can be exploited. Empires die when they have either extracted the wealth from these colonies, when the colonies are taken from them by a competing empire or a successful rebellion, or when the cost of maintaining the extraction mechanism on these colonies exceeds the wealth extracted. We are entering the fourth stage of a petroleum based empire, and it's rather difficult to see it with clarity because there are no real precedents. However, it will likely proceed as follows:

* The ability to capture colonies gets lost. Iraq was captured, but it is still very unstable, and could readily tip towards revolution again within the next few years. Afghanistan has been a failure - its strategic value against the Russians is no longer worth the high cost of maintaining it. Libya has replaced a crafty, it mentally unstable, madman with a set of warlords anyone of whom is itching to be the next strongman, but it is also note an American vassal state. Syria is a political quagmire that could very quickly become a proxy war with Iran, and by extension China (which sees Iran as one of ITS colonies). Iran would be worse. The other potential candidates for colonial status (such as countries in West Africa) are either already captured or have too few resources to make control worthwhile. The very fact that we are stepping up extraction from shale deposits in the US is to me pretty indicative that the good ecological reasons not to are no longer sufficient to make up for the fact that American imperial expansion has been halted and is now retrogressing quickly.
* The net financial differential between the classes begins to shrink. The poor don't have far to fall, and is in fact rapidly growing. The middle class thins out due to more and more people falling into the ranks of the "working class" - the working poor, although that's offset (a little) by a fairly significant chunk of the moderately wealthy also losing their wealth (investments go bad, companies fold, markets collapse). The very wealthy remain, but their ranks are not significantly replenished - you have fewer "new" industry rich (how'd that Facebook IPO go for you, Mark?) while the number of rich in existing industries starts to diminish due to old age (the Koch Brothers problem will resolve itself relatively soon - most of the very wealthy in the petroleum industry are in their 70s or beyond).
* We will have another credit "seizure" in the next twelve months. This one won't be as dramatic as 2008-2009 (watching the stock market drop 1000 points was highly entertaining to someone who had no skin in the game), but it will nonetheless be damaging, perhaps more than the original, because there will be much less of a cushion to pad the fall. This will be simply one of a series of cascading falls, part of a larger catabolic collapse, due to diminishing monetary availability (which is ultimately driven by dependency on a diminishing resource - oil). The net effect of this will be to hasten a number of trends that are already beginning to occur.
* Local economies will lose faith in the ability of the Federal government, and the government - not just the people in power at the time, but the very government - will have lost a very necessary legitimacy. People stop paying Federal income tax altogether. They start to rely more upon their regional economic blocs, not necessarily just states but collections of states. You see individual states beginning to set up local banks that exist outside of the US-Federal Reserve, and in time you see the rise of de-facto currencies, though such currencies will likely be initially denominated in dollars (this stealth currency will likely come via electronic debit cards rather than formal creation of bills and coins).
* Trade tensions between blocs arise, fanned by ideological differences. Eventually, this manifests in secessionist pressures, and ultimately in armed conflict that creates a flash point that one econo-political bloc uses to justify leaving the union. At this stage one of three potential scenarios arise: 1) a controlled breakup - a referendum is held, and states take sides. This is possible, but highly unlikely - there are too many people in the winner takes all camp to allow for an orderly dis-integration, especially as political states are not congruent with historical nationalities (western vs. eastern Washington and Oregon, Pennsylvania and Ohio (which have parts of three distinct nations that run through them), etc. 2) A strong president (or possibly a military junta or coup d'etat) reacts by sending troops into the secessionist regions, which then precipitates a civil war - I believe this to be a very high probability event. 3) An external event occurs, such as a European Theatre War or a war with China, that can be used both to impose martial law in the US and to create a distinct enemy that everyone can focus on. Note that these are not mutually exclusive. If the United States is forced into a direct confrontation with another country that it loses, the pressures of a martial state will ultimately result in internal rebellion.
* In the 1850s, the division between the two "states" of America - the North and the South - were clearcut. Indeed, the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision ultimately established contiguity of both the North and the South that would have been a fairly natural boundary line. Now it's more complex, both because the Mountains/Plains states have a more established political identity than they did 150 years ago, because there is a very real distinction between the lower and upper midwest philosophically (not just Rs vs. Ds but questions about taxation, states rights, urban vs. rural issues, civil rights and so forth) that's only grown stronger in that interval, and because several urban centers have emerged since the civil war that shift the balance of power as well. I'm guessing six distinct "countries" emerging out of the process, simply because of contiguity and regional history, but it could be anywhere from two to up to fourteen (though a consolidation would occur as countries without an adequate protection get reabsorbed).
* Ultimately airspace control also plays a big factor. In the event of a coup d'etat in Washington (either via invasion by a rebelling bloc or political machinations), there is a very real possibility that the heads of the various air force and navy bases in the CONUS would find themselves having to determine whether they support the new regime, the old regime, or whether they declare neutrality. This is also typical of imperial dissolution - the military will likely have the capability to wage war long after supplies of fuel and food are no longer available to civilians, but at the same time, the generals in charge of the more remote commands may very well establish a de facto government, and use the resources under their commands to defend their area, even against other generals.

I think there is a high probability that one of these scenarios will play out. I think it's actually higher than a French Revolution type scenario by quite a bit, primarily because the French civil war was in many respects a struggle between an old and new economic regime - an aging aristocracy that had become heavily indebted to a rising banking class. For all the apparent economic imbalance in this country, this is not a case of a new wealthy upper class pushing aside the existing upper class for political ascension, it is far more a nature consequence of the rise of an imperial wealth pump running dry, where the diminishing financial resources affect those with comparatively little earlier than they do those who have accumulated that wealth. As the tide runs out, the ability of a government to project force and demand tribute diminishes geographically from its center outward, and given that the political power in the US is literally exactly between two of the most contentious regions historically, it's very likely that this will be one of the fault lines.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:16 PM

37. Bush I was the tipping point (and Clinton pushed us farther)

The USSR collapsed, China changed from communism to state controlled capitalism, and the Eurozone was created.

Instead of harvesting the peace dividend and putting our own house in order, the United States embarked on establishing world hegemony as the sole superpower.

Thereby sowing the seeds of our own destruction.

Once we are the sole superpower, everyone is going to be against us:
- terrorism and other forms of asymmetric warfare,
- economic competition,
- non-cooperation and passive agressive alliances.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 06:52 PM

44. I wish you were wrong..

.. but you are not. Far too many people (and more every day) have nothing left to lose and a government that doesn't do a damn thing to help us. The storm is coming and the only questions are when and how bloody will it be.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:07 PM

47. I thought that point was passed long ago

when the DLC, "third way" was proposed and implemented.

That's why we no no longer have a true duopoly in DC anymore, and an escalation of the good cop/bad cop routines exploiting our lack of choice, and why the biggest motivation to vote this fall isn't for BHO so much as against Romney for so many.

The best hope we have at this point in the long term, is to keep the SCOTUS as blue as possible, because as you noted, most of the others are transients.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:36 PM

49. You make your point really well.

It's one I think about a lot lately.

But I'm going to keep pulling on the ropes til this ship gets off the reef.

If we fail, let's do it with blistered hands and hearts that are still proud.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 02:39 AM

50. Sadly,....I agree /nt

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 10:04 AM

56. This is a hard thread to read but so damn important I carefully read every post

start to finish.

I can't say I disagree with anyone. Really great thread demonstrating the best of DU with all the extended analysis and thoughtful commentary from everyone.

K&R. Wake up America!

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 11:54 AM

59. There is always someone saying this

Or something equivalent.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 01:28 PM

60. At what point

do people stop investing money, time, energy and attention in the sinking system, and spend more time each day focusing on building a public garden, green energy projects, converting buildings to be more insulated, planting food trees, teaching each other and children sustainable (and enjoyable) skills? At what point do we take control of our own lives instead of waiting at the train station for a train that is not coming?

This is not to advocate not voting or believing in honest people--but like you said, there are too few of them to turn the tide themselves. So it is up to us to rebuild our communities in ways that support each other for these tough times. We have to build a world that reflects reality--instead of pining away for a world that does not exist anymore.

Now is the time to build a system that feeds us all--or we are going to see much more pain and suffering. We have to start sharing lands, food housing with each other, and ways of educating everyone. Pooling our resources is going to be the new paradigm--it happens in every country and every place that survives economic depressions.

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 02:42 PM

61. We have been kicking the can down the road for over 30 years

Imagine if you hardly ever maintained your house for 30 years. It would be in pretty bad shape and close to collapse.

America is a crack junkie using it's money for more drugs rather than keeping up those house for those 30 years. We are a crack junkie about to hit rock bottom.

a modern nation state is a high-preformance machine that needs regular maintenance, without maintenance the social units it is constructed of break off and revert to a lower level of organization.

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