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Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 11,481

Journal Archives

WE have become radical. Sanders has stayed the same.

Sanders is saying no more or less than FDR, who said,

"That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.

His brand of "socialism" only sounds "radical" to some because of the successful push for the idea that not only can money equate to power and control, but that it should.

Somehow a large block of our culture has been convinced that the core principal of America is the unimpeded pursuit of wealth and power. That money and guns equal speech, but speech itself is irrelevant.

It's only radical to oppose those things to the extent people are afraid to change them. It's only "revolutionary" because we have been pushed and shoved and trampled past the point of recognizing the way our democracy is supposed to work.

I am reminded of a friend who spoke to the state legislature on a women's issue, and had a state representative respond in utter confusion to the idea that she could be standing there, representing people who "wanted something," as though that was rude or inappropriate. I think she asked him whether lobbyists and campaign contributors ever came to him "wanting" something, at which point he sputtered, and said something about "young lady" to this woman who was probably five or 10 years his senior.

We have lost track of where we began. It may be a long way back, but that doesn't mean it is crazy to start off.

It just means we need to hurry.

Because atheists do good things already, but they're not a monolithic group?

You are displaying a fundamental misunderstanding of what being non-religious means here.

Not buying other people's belief systems is not a belief system. This is the core idiocy of most complaints about atheism. It's not another form of religion. There isn't a book of dogma, or a set of rules. There are no uniforms or prayers. That's kind of the POINT.

Therefore not signing on to a religious faith does not create an obligation to provide a parallel alternative. Just not believing other people's religious ideas is the entirety of atheism.

Plenty of non-believers are active in doing various good things. Probably most of them, in fact. But they don't do it somehow "in the name of" non-religion, because that doesn't make sense. You could do that, if you wanted to, I guess, and maybe someone somewhere has, but there is no reason in the world to expect that, much less demand it. All lack of religion requires is not actively buying someone else's tradition.

You make it sound non-believers supposed to wave a flag or wear or uniform or shout slogans, or something, so that religious people will accept them. An argument which sounds, by the way, very much like bigoted demands that Muslims march around decrying terrorism to prove they are "the good ones."

No one is under any obligation to reassure religious people that non-religious people are just as good as they are, or that they don't hate them or hold them in contempt. Religious people are under an obligation not to assume the contrary.

As for mockery making people "kill themselves," really?

I would be very concerned if anti-religious sentiment was driving religious teens to suicide the way religious people's anti-gay bigotry has, for example. I don't think that's a realistic danger, however, do you? Without dogma and organization and the persecution of others that goes with it, people have nothing to fear, which again, is part of the point of not subscribing to religion in the first place.

All going to the original point that individual atheists being militant or snarky may show them to be jerks, but it holds no parallel whatsoever to religious dogma used to support everything from homophobia to outright murder. People being disagreeable about not agreeing with you may be uncouth on an individual basis, but it's not a group decision by the non-believers in the world, because by definition THERE IS NO ONE GROUP OF NON-BELIEVERS.

"They will be heartened by every sign of overreaction, of division, of fear,

of racism, of xenophobia; they will be drawn to any examples of ugliness on social media."

And of course American conservatives will give them what they want. Confirm the childish belief that anyone can fight and win a religious war.

What would happen to a movement dependent on a constant influx of angry, alienated people, if there was no xenophobic rage to point to? If Chris Christie wasn't declaring five-year-old refugees enemies of the United States? If every Facebook a-hole wasn't waxing excitedly on about turning the Middle East into a plate of molten glass?

Conversely, what happens if everyone accepts the blind rage and Biblical mumbo-jumbo embraced by ISIS and Christian Dominonists alike, and decides that the world IS divided into religions which must fight each other to the death and bring about the end of the world?

A critical distinction.

The more I hear from conservatives I disagree with, whether they be Republicans "Libertarians," or conservatives within our own party, the more I see they are united in a reverence for wealth, and the idea that it is rightfully the measure of power, that runs through all of their thinking.

Republicans try their best to restrict voting to the most comfortable, most mainstream. No students, please. No minority groups. If they could establish landowning men as the only voters, they would do so. Occasionally, they actually opine that someone with more money should get more votes.

"The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes," Perkins said.
"But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How's that?"


Libertarians (American style) say government should basically just protect wealth. Police, contract enforcement; nothing else.

The recent unfortunate Supreme Court configuration believes corporations and Super PACs have "free speech" rights that include denying people basic health care or overtly trying to purchase elections.

And I keep seeing this odd take on the legitimacy of opinion in general, where efforts on behalf of the common good -- unions, activists, etc. -- are suspect, while the paid shills and lobbyists are somehow absolutely legitimate.

I saw this in a local effort to guarantee earned sick leave for all workers. Local Chamber of Commerce shills and Tea Partiers showed up to county commission meetings armed with "charts" tying the ballot initiative to unions and liberal activist groups (duh?) and essentially argued that cooperation among groups trying to better the lives of workers was inherently a dark, sinister Communist conspiracy. The fact that groups like Disney were paying lawyers and lobbyists out of pure greed was fine, of course.

Money, they think, is the only thing we should ever trust in, protect, or believe. People and principles are distant afterthoughts.

The Washington Post notes Wall Street supported Clinton before 9/11

There's just one catch: Clinton represented New York during that period because she won election in 2000. And even then, before 9/11, she got a lot of money from Wall Street.

The Center for Responsive Politics identifies the top 20 employers that gave to Clinton during that cycle. At the top of the list is Citigroup, whose employees gave a combined $105,900 to Clinton well before 9/11. (Citigroup's PAC gave an additional $2,000.) No. 4 on the list is Goldman Sachs, whose employees gave nearly $89,000. No. 8 is the financial services company UBS. No. 10? Chase. In total, the center calculates that Clinton took in nearly $1.2 million from the "securities and investment" industry between 1999 and 2002.

Clinton's 2000 campaign filing from the FEC reveals 44 donations from Citigroup, 54 from Goldman, 36 from Paine Webber, 43 from Deloitte, 21 from Credit Suisse and 18 from Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. There are a number of other financial firms that appear in the list; these are just the most frequent donors.


I've tried to explain this to conservatives (Dem and otherwise) before

... there is an odd misunderstanding about what kind of opinions are trustworthy or in good faith. Republicans, in particular, seem to think that arguing from a selfish pecuniary interest is fine and upstanding, but arguing from principle is suspect.

Example: Obama, I think, appointed someone to a health-related position in the federal government. Republicans screamed that there was a "conflict of interest" because the person was associated with anti-smoking groups.

Meanwhile, the oil company veterans appointed to the EPA are always fine of course.

The idea seems to be that coming from a position of interest in the common good or general principle is suspect and sinister, while shilling for whoever is paying you is exactly the way things are supposed to work.

The more you look at it, the more

calculated it starts to appear.

1. Deflects the question of why Wall Street donates so heavily to her.

2. Wraps itself in the bloody shirt of 9/11, suggesting to question it would be unpatriotic.

3. Insinuates that all of the calls for Wall Street reform are -- as you point out in the OP -- giving terrorists what they want.

4. Consciously ... or unconsciously (and which one is worse, I am not sure) draws on the raw emotions about terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks.

5. Shows a total lack of awareness of how her own admitted poor judgment regarding our response to 9/11 via a destructive war in Iraq that actually contributed to the rise of ISIS makes her the last person on the stage who should be invoking her personal logic about 9/11.

This is not a wise or helpful approach for Ms. Clinton.

The whole framing is demented.

Not only is it just generally wrong to invoke 9/11 in a contrived talking point defending the Wall Street fraud that decimated the economy, but Ms. Clinton of all people has no business wielding 9/11 at all.

She not only allied herself in the past with those who exploited that tragedy to con America into possibly the worst foreign policy disaster in our history -- but rolled it out on a night when another city was reeling from the an attack with a direct causal link to the aftermath of her bad decision.

No Iraq war = no ISIS. She should stay 1,000 yards from this arena out of respect and contrition for the damage done by the Iraq war she concedes she was wrong to support.

Instead, she wants to wield it as a weapon to support ... Wall Street?

An obvious Panic Response, and very telling.

As usual, Hillary looked very good in the debate -- except when she was asked about:

1) Her mistaken support for the war in Iraq, or

2) Her close ties to Wall Street

In these cases, she reaches for a canned response and tries to deflect. She generally goes to identity politics, and she did that first, bringing up her support among women to deflect a question as to why Wall Street donates so much to her, then ... this.

And of all the times to cheapen and exploit 9/11 for political ends, she chose the night after another major terrorist attack on another major city? Completely tone-deaf.

This is when Hillary chills me to the bone. She will be cruising along, sounding reasonable, and then she goes full dark, like when she pushed to count primaries in states she and Obama had agreed not to campaign in ... or last night, invoking a national tragedy, and one she failed to prevent being used to drag the entire world toward disaster in Iraq.

It also tells me the campaign fears these issues, and is frantically trying to generate talking points that might successfully deflect from either her politically opportunistic hawkishness, or her close relationships with the people and organizations who destroyed the economy.

And they are right to fear them. These are the issues that Democrats care about as well. But as the OP says, the fact that she would "go there" to avoid disclaiming her Wall Street ties, says they know exactly what their money is buying.

If rich kids went to public schools,

which of course they generally don't, and probably would not even if they were free, public schools and public education would fare much better in the American political system. Suddenly public schools would be a huge priority, instead of a target for abuse, which would be GOOD thing.
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