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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Minnesota
Current location: up north
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 26,364

About Me

If you've clicked on my profile to see what it says, here's what you should know: The older I get, the more radical I get -- and I've already gotten pretty damn old.

Journal Archives

"The Origins of the Overclass" by Steve Kangas

IMHO, this ought to be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the workings of the National Security State, and the unholy alliance between our government and the Plutocrats. I used to post this piece semi-regularly on DU1, and once or twice on DU2, but it seems to me - in light of the current NSA controversy - it might be useful to post it again.

This piece is somewhat dated - Steve Kangas died in 1999 - however, the history he outlines of the confluence of Big Business/Wall Street is still valid as a primer to understanding the origins of what is happening today, when private contractors are collecting data for the NSA.


The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.

The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface — and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine's creators had CIA backgrounds.

During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA's expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America’s wealth . By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent — the highest level of inequality in the 20th century (my note: obviously it's gotten even worse in 2013).

How did this alliance start? The CIA has always recruited the nation’s elite: millionaire businessmen, Wall Street brokers, members of the national news media, and Ivy League scholars. During World War II, General "Wild Bill" Donovan became chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. Donovan recruited so exclusively from the nation’s rich and powerful that members eventually came to joke that "OSS" stood for "Oh, so social!"

Please take a few minutes to read the whole piece. It's a bit of historical knowledge that everyone ought to be aware of.


I don't care whether you approve or disapprove of Edward Snowden's leaks. What REALLY outrages me

is that fucking PRIVATE CONTRACTORS are carrying out this surveillance. PRIVATE CONTRACTORS who are beholden to no-one, who work for PROFIT, whose owners amass huge fortunes doing the bidding of the MIC/National Security State - THESE are the people who are being given access to all this data collection!

THESE are the people who can spend whatever they like IN SECRET to influence our elections and our entire political process. THESE are the people who can spend endless money on lobbyists to make sure that THEY get Defense Department contracts, who can spend endless money on lobbyists to make sure that secret surveillance continues to be approved by Congress.

Do you really think this just fine, just peachy? Do you really think that THIS is how a true democracy should work? Do you really think that giving private, for profit companies access to the apparatus of State Security is okay? Do you really think we should just trust THEM?

I mean - SHIT!

The "enemy combatant" question. It's not just about the suspect's rights, it's about OUR rights.

It's about our rights, as U.S. citizens, to be able to witness a fair and open trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It's about our rights to have knowledge of the evidence, of the arguments, of how the proceedings unfold.

It's about our rights to know exactly what case is being made by the State on our behalf - what the questions are, what the answers are. We are the "People" in any court proceeding framed as "The People vs. ____________". It's OUR right to have the trial take place in open court. WE are the injured party.

The idiot assholes on the right who want to whisk Dzhokhar off to Gitmo for a trial by military tribunal not only want to curtail HIS Constitutional rights, they want to curtail OURS as well, by denying us access to a public trial, conducted in the open.

I don't care how you feel about the bomber himself, you need at least to speak up loud and clear for OUR rights to have his trial open and accessable to all of us.


"I'm not a hypocrite. I spoke ill of her when she was alive & I'll speak ill of her now she's dead."


"I'll tell you what really annoyed us miners," said Pete Mansell, sipping a pint of John Smith's on Monday. "She said we were the enemy within. We weren't. We were just looking after our lives, our families, our kids and our properties, everything that we ever had. We were fighting for that big style."

Along with most of the other men drinking in the Black Bull pub in Aughton, Rotherham, the 55-year-old former pit worker had borne witness to the fiercest confrontation in the miners strike at the nearby Orgreave coking plant on 18 June 1984.

Almost 30 years have gone by since Margaret Thatcher characterised those who took part in the "battle of Orgreave" as thugs. But in a village that one drinker said had been "decimated by Thatcher", the words still cut deep. It is perhaps no surprise that those gathered in the pub were having what they described as a party after hearing about her death.


There were 95 miners arrested at Orgreave and prosecuted for riot, a charge that carried the potential for a long prison sentence up to a maximum of life. But a year later, on 17 July 1985, all 95 were acquitted. The prosecution withdrew, from the first trial of 15, after police gave unconvincing accounts in the witness box: it became clear that the miners had themselves been attacked by police on horses or with truncheons, and there was evidence that a police officer's signature on a statement had been forged.

I strongly encourage DUers to go to the link and read the whole piece - especially those who are too young to remember what was going on in those days when Thatcher was in power.

Bonus pic - here's Steve Bell's (Brit cartoonist) eulogy for Thatcher:

All I will say is, I hope she has gone on to the reward she so richly deserves.


Do you know why Catholics put money in the collection plate at Sunday mass?

Because they want to contribute to the upkeep of their parish church. They want to help pay for the heat and lights and the maintenance on the church building. They want to help pay for the room and board of their parish priest. They also want to help pay for whatever charitable projects their parish may be undertaking - shelter for the homeless, clothes for impoverished children, food for impoverished families, outreach to addicts, to those living on the streets, refuge for illegal immigrants.

But mostly, they just want to help support their sense of community with their fellow parishoners. They want to preserve their church as a gathering place, as a place of prayer and communion.

They aren't thinking about the far away institution of Vatican dictates and Vatican politics. They just want to help pay for the heat and electricity needed to keep their church functioning. They want to help pay for repairs to the roof so that it doesn't leak.

The attack on Catholics because they drop a few dollars a week into the collection plate at mass is absurd. They're not doing it because they approve of the heirarchy in Rome, or because they love the Cardinals and the Bishops, they're only doing it because they want to support their own parish community.

I was raised Catholic, I went to Catholic school for the first 8 years of my schooling - and for this I will always be grateful. I was privileged to receive a truly classic education, with a wider range of liberal arts training than any of my public school peers ever received. The Latin training alone led me to a lifelong appreciation of etymology and love of language and history.

While I left the Church behind nearly 50 years ago, I do not at all regret my early years within the Catholic tradition. It's complicated, and I'm glad for the complication - it has challenged me and stretched me, and has made me always appreciative of complexity and subtilty.

I have no patience with the RCC heirarchy - those narrow hypocritical males in their robes and and their thoroughly fucked up morality. But I have plenty of compassion for the ordinary Catholics who attend mass on Sunday and drop a few dollars into the collection plate so that the heat stays on in their church building during the winter.


Charles P. Pierce Politics Blog: "Happy Birthday, George McGovern" A wonderful tribute!


The man whom Bobby Kennedy called "the most decent man in the Senate" turns 90 today.

The worst thing that ever happened to the Democratic party in this country is that, when McGovern lost so big to history's yard waste in 1972, the rest of the party was complicit in turning him — and the politics he represented — into a punchline for the next 20 years. He was the template. He was the first war-hero Democrat — you don't fly 35 missions in a B-24 and come away with a DFC without a big clanging pair of brass ones, kids — who was accused of being a wimp by a flock of chickenhawks. (Ronald Reagan? Who kept the bar at the Brown Derby safe from Nazi occupation? Please to be giving me a break.) He was the first liberal Democrat against whom other opportunistic Democrats bragged about running. He was turned into a synonym for something he was not. He was the vehicle through which Democrats taught other Democrats to be terrified of all their best instincts and all their best policies. Through it all, he remained exactly what Bobby Kennedy said he was, and more.

And, just for the eternal historical record, because of the invaluable work of Stanley Kutler, we find that, on July 19, 1972, George McGovern's 50th birthday, the man he was running against had a meeting with his aide, Chuck Colson, in which they chatted amiably about how the Watergate cover-up was going as regards Howard Hunt, the White House aide who hired and supervised the burglars.

Nixon: What's will he say then?

Colson: Well, if he's properly coached and he's got a good lawyer, I think he is the one guy I figure will take the rap, take the heat, and will not speak.

Nixon is dead. Colson is dead. Hunt is dead. The most decent man in the Senate turns 90 today.

Sometimes, god's on duty.

Great comments at the link, too.

McGovern in '72 was my first general election vote. And as one of the commenters on Pierce's blog says, it was the one time I voted FOR a candidate.


Apples and oranges. Juries aren't 'replacing' mods, they are an entirely different paradigm.

As others have said above, juries have no need of "institutional memory", their job is to consider a single post within the context of the thread in which it appears.

It is, in fact, far better that juries do NOT consider the history of a poster, since they are supposed to be looking at the alerted post on its own merits, outside of other considerations that do not not involve the actual thread in which the post appears. The worst jury decisions are those which are justified with statements to the effect that "the person (who was attacked by the poster in the alerted post) deserved it." Juries ought NOT be making decisions from institutional memory!

The one exception that must be allowed for is that which I will call the "taterguy exception": http://www.democraticunderground.com/124029095

The Heart Sutra

Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom, saw clearly that the five aspects of human existence are empty*, and so released himself from suffering. Answering the monk Sariputra, he said this:

Body is nothing more than emptiness,
emptiness is nothing more than body.
The body is exactly empty,
and emptiness is exactly body.
The other four aspects of human existence --
feeling, thought, will, and consciousness --
are likewise nothing more than emptiness,
and emptiness nothing more than they.

All things are empty:
Nothing is born, nothing dies,
nothing is pure, nothing is stained,
nothing increases and nothing decreases.

So, in emptiness, there is no body,
no feeling, no thought,
no will, no consciousness.
There are no eyes, no ears,
no nose, no tongue,
no body, no mind.
There is no seeing, no hearing,
no smelling, no tasting,
no touching, no imagining.
There is nothing seen, nor heard,
nor smelled, nor tasted,
nor touched, nor imagined.

There is no ignorance,
and no end to ignorance.
There is no old age and death,
and no end to old age and death.
There is no suffering, no cause of suffering,
no end to suffering, no path to follow.
There is no attainment of wisdom,
and no wisdom to attain.

The Bodhisattvas rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and so with no delusions,
they feel no fear,
and have Nirvana here and now.

All the Buddhas,
past, present, and future,
rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and live in full enlightenment.

The Perfection of Wisdom is the greatest mantra.
It is the clearest mantra,
the highest mantra,
the mantra that removes all suffering.

This is truth that cannot be doubted.
Say it so:


Which means...

gone over,
gone fully over.
So be it!
Posted by scarletwoman | Mon Jan 9, 2012, 08:09 PM (4 replies)
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