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woo me with science

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Member since: Tue Jan 13, 2004, 09:24 PM
Number of posts: 27,589

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I get in trouble for this all the time.

I'm not a political scientist, and I appraise the words based on how I believe they are interpreted by average citizens who hear the labels. You're absolutely correct that they are used consistently to describe neoliberal and Third Way politicians. I detest their use, because I think they have popular connotations that actively disguise the true extremism and antidemocratic nature of the policies involved.

"Centrism" to me carries a deliberate connotation of being "in the center"..in other words, not extreme in either direction. Ditto for the word "moderate," which is constantly used to describe Third Way politicians whose policies are anything but moderate in the traditional sense of the word.

Austerity and attacks on safety nets in a country that has already devastated its middle class are opposed by over 80 percent of Americans across party lines, yet these Third Way economic positions are nevertheless described as "centrist," as though they fell in the mainstream of American opinion. Policies coming out of our government now routinely bear little resemblance to what people have repeatedly stated in polls that they want, and neoliberal politicians lie their way through campaigns because they realize how unpopular their positions really are...yet we persist in calling them "centrists."

Secret laws, secret courts, "Kill Lists"/indefinite detention without due process, and mass surveillance in the United States of America are extreme violations of our Constitution and should not be considered "moderate" positions in any sense of the word. They are extreme, even fascistic policies, yet the politicians who espouse them are permitted by us to describe themselves as "moderates."

I think we need to start using the words, "corporatist," "extreme," and even "fascist" to describe what is happening in this country under the corporatist/neoconservative/neoliberal/Third Way agenda. We are witnessing a malignant merger of state and corporations and the active dismantling of important Constitutional protections. The corporate state is pouring our tax dollars into propaganda and marketing for their agenda, and IMO the vast majority of Americans, while aware of their own economic pain, have little understanding of the peril facing our democratic institutions and basic Constitutional protections.

We use words that suggest the current neoliberal and neocon policies are business as usual in America...just another flavor of policies that Americans can trust still fall safely within the boundaries of a democratic, constitutional, representative political system. They are "centrist" or "moderate." But they really aren't...and I think we need to adjust our labels to drive home the seriousness of the crisis we face.

Posted by woo me with science | Wed Jul 16, 2014, 11:09 AM (3 replies)

You say, "fair point," yet your next sentence accuses me of "hurling personal insults at Democrats."

It's a baseless accusation that reflects on your own conduct here rather than mine. You are the only one in this conversation who has repeatedly tried to make it personal, and you continue to do so. It is revelatory as to your lack of argument.

Your comments about Haiti here are similarly nonresponsive. More to the point, they are weirdly and dishonestly avoidant of the longstanding and continuing history of US corporate and military domination and exploitation of Haiti. You opine about poverty in Haiti "even before the earthquake," as though the earthquake, rather than decades of military and political manipulation, prevention of any development of independence through denial of sovereignty, installation of corporate goals rather than goals for Haitians, and coup/installation of government to enable theft and stripping by corporations of the country's own resources were not at fault. You ignore the more recent massive privatization forced on Haiti by the US and its allies after the 2004 coup and the neoliberal "restructuring programs" that have deepened poverty for Haitians through familiar Shock Doctrine measures like making IMF loans conditional on the implementation of vicious neoliberal wage and social policies.

In short, you deal with the accusation of US corporate exploitation of Haiti by utterly ignoring it and adding baseless personal attacks to distract from the fact you are ignoring it.

Corporate exploitation of Haiti, resulting in the deaths of countless Haitians and unfathomable misery over the decades, has been and remains a national shame for the US. More importantly, it serves as a deadly warning of what happens to countries and human beings when governments are subverted for corporate interests rather than human interests.

Decades and decades ago, the US took control of Haiti by force and changed its Constitution to allow corporations to seize the land of the Haitian people. Now we're facing relentless attempts by corporate-bought politicians to dismantle our own Constitutional protections and grow the power of corporations over our lives through predatory "trade agreements" that will overrule the will of the people on issues ranging from environmental regulation to worker protections.

Americans have largely been insulated from the effects of US corporate policy all over the world. We mostly grew up believing that hunger and privation just happen, usually over there somewhere, to people who don't look like us and for reasons that are never quite clear. But there are reasons. Corporations don't operate on morality. For them, there is no currency in a government, "of, by, and for the people." The only consideration is profit.

The global corporatists are just getting started here. But they have already impoverished and killed masses of human beings all over the world, for profit. We are not special to them.

We cannot afford four more years of allowing corporatists to grow their power in Washington. We can't afford continued assaults on our Constitutional protections and the growth of this surveillance state. We can't afford more austerity and privatization and protection of banks over people. And we can't afford Hillary's TPP.

Posted by woo me with science | Tue Jun 24, 2014, 08:03 PM (2 replies)

Excellent post. The immediate attempts to invoke "tinfoil hat"

and wild conspiracy theories depend on the flatly absurd suggestion that governments and corporations do not spend millions, billions, to advertise, propagandize, and shape public opinion.

That the programs already exist is not in dispute. That the motivation to use them is strong is not debatable. Nor are the deep pockets of those whose interests they serve.

A primary goal of any group that seeks to impose major policy against the will and interests of the majority is to manage public opinion and public response so as to reduce the likelihood of pushback and revolt. Millions of us are being driven into poverty, and our Constitutional protections are being stripped. Of course great attention and money will be poured into managing public opinion and creating the illusion that the people support what is being done to them.

We already know these programs exist and are being used, not only within smaller political groups but also at the very highest levels of government, thanks to Sunstein's writings and the leaks by Snowden. They are a wholly predictable extension of the advertising and propaganda that already deluge our media and that are inherent in any major political struggle for power. Before we had the technology for interactive propaganda on the internet, we saw the cable news channels twisted into a steady diet of distractions, misrepresentations, and corporate talking points.

History shows that the tactics available to be used, will be used, in the struggle for political power and wealth. We have been carefully taught as Americans that it couldn't happen here; we are taught to associate these kinds of direct manipulations of citizens with totalitarian states, not ostensibly "representative" governments like our own. But we really aren't special, and what is happening in America right now is just one more example of the battles for power we have seen throughout history, by those who invariably claimed they were working in the best interests of the people.

Of course it exists, and of course it is here.

Posted by woo me with science | Mon Jun 2, 2014, 05:01 PM (2 replies)

The real reason a very loud few are posting hostility toward Glenn Greenwald at DU:

Those who build surveillance machines also build propaganda machines. A great deal of effort and resources are being poured into trying to give the false impression that Americans support our own government's abuses of power against us, and that we have contempt for those who exposed them.

It's no accident that the very small group of the loudest smearers of Greenwald are also overwhelmingly the most reliable attackers of liberals and defenders of every corporate outrage coming out of this administration: the TPP, indefinite detention, secret laws, secret courts, assaults on journalism, handing the internet to corporations, drone wars, drilling, fracking, corporate education, privatization, deregulation, etc., etc., etc.

DU overwhelmingly supports the actions of Greenwald and Snowden, as shown in virtually every poll posted here. This group uses the very same tactics, over and over again, including attacks on the messengers, mocking, swarming, and endless diversion from what is really important here: government abuse of power. It is all very familiar, and the tactics detailed in the links below.

Let's repost some reminders of what we are really dealing with here:

Obama taps "cognitive infiltrator" Cass Sunstein for Committee to create "trust" in NSA:

Salon: Obama confidant’s spine-chilling proposal: Cass Sunstein wants the government to "cognitively infiltrate" anti-government groups

The US government's online campaigns of disinformation, manipulation, and smear.

Snowden: ‘Training Guide’ for GCHQ, NSA Agents Infiltrating and Disrupting Alternative Media Online

The influx of corporate propaganda-spouting posters is blatant and unnatural.

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News To Americans

The goal of the propaganda assaults across the internet is not to convince anyone of anything.*

The government figured out sockpuppet management but not "persona management."

The Gentleman's Guide To Forum Spies (spooks, feds, etc.)

Seventeen techniques for truth suppression.

Just do some Googling on astroturfing - big organizations have some sophisticated tools.

Posted by woo me with science | Mon Jun 2, 2014, 12:04 AM (476 replies)

Well, it could be subjective & misleading. I know I left out a lot of important stories you posted.

Forgive me that I don't have time to go back any further than this week:

First family has beautiful smiles.

Presidential Hugs and Selfies for Breakfast in Chicago (Don't Tell Michelle!)

Prez: . . . I look like Morgan Freeman.

Michelle Obama: Watch out, because Malia's learning to drive!

A young girl hands the President a US flag

Prez surprises (delights) kids at WH talent show

Posted by woo me with science | Tue May 27, 2014, 02:00 PM (2 replies)

CUT THE CRAP! Your Month in Review from the most "progressive" administration ever.

This is just this month, with impressive new Third Way efforts in the areas of mass surveillance, "Kill Lists," corporate health insurance, murdering net neutrality, right-wing appointments, warmongering, toll interstates, *and* environmental and educational assaults!

And, hey kids, the month's not even over yet!

White House colluded with House Republicans *against* Democrats to WEAKEN surveillance bill.

White House (again) Seeks Legal Immunity For Firms That Hand Over Customer Data

Obama Administration To Reveal Justification For Drone Strikes On U.S. Citizens

Obama administration quietly approves new loopholes to help insurance companies gouge patients:

No single payer according to Obama's HHS nominee.

The murder of net neutrality

Obama's Crony Capitalism will Kill Net Neutrality. *New* FCC Staff in bed with ISP's

Democratic Opposition Lines Up Against Obama Judicial Nominee

Secret trade memos calling for more fracking and offshore drilling

Obama's Defense Department Refuses to Tell Senate Which Groups We’re at War With

President Obama close to authorizing mission led by the US military to train moderate Syrian rebels

Syrian rebels describe U.S.-backed training in Qatar in new documentary

Ethics watchdog calls for investigation of EPA assault on renewable fuels.

This Trade Deal Will Make You Sick, Maybe Give You Mad Cow

Why do we bother: Feds Ever-So-Gently File Criminal Charges Against Credit Suisse

Too Big to Jail: DOJ Charges Two Banks with Criminal Acts, But Will Not Hold Them Criminally Accountable

College presidents upset. Obama's Ed Dept says rating colleges will be like "rating a blender".

Opening the US interstate system to tolling

And after all that hard work, it's no surprise that Our President put on his comfortable walking shoes and headed out for some golf:

White House downplays golf outing with Bain Capital lobbyist

Posted by woo me with science | Tue May 27, 2014, 12:40 PM (410 replies)

Wouldn't it be nice to have a REAL American Spring,

that focused on the real hijacking of this country by corporate interests?

One that wasn't co-opted by corporate media and propagandists to ramp up partisan divisions and ridicule the idea of real change?

One that didn't set the people against each other so that there is always one group ridiculing the other and ensuring that no real change can ever happen, because the people cannot unite against the corporate vultures bleeding all of us?

One that focused on the fleecing of ALL of us, the 99 percent, and the fact that corporate interests have stolen our representation in this country?

One that focused on bringing all Americans together to get corporate money out of our politics and our media, and return our governent to the people?

Posted by woo me with science | Sat May 17, 2014, 11:32 AM (50 replies)

One of the most surreal aspects of our new corporate crony politics.

When I was a kid, election years in the U.S.A. were the times when we heard all about the renewed vision and agenda, and what voting for particular politicians or a party would promise for actual people. Everyone, and especially the candidates, went out talking about the new policies being proposed and how they would attract and help voters.

THAT was what excited people and brought them to the polls. Excited talk about policies that would actually improve their lives.

The policies were the REASON for the election and the excitement.

What sort of weird, sick political system do we have now, in which we are constantly exhorted to vote, with almost no mention, ever, of the agenda that is promised for voting?

Actually, most of the bids for voting we see take the form of THREATS. Vote, or these other people will do something worse to you.

And when people post on this board some variation of, "What am I voting FOR, specifically?" they are snarled at and accused of raining on the parade.

There's something very sick about this.

Posted by woo me with science | Tue May 6, 2014, 12:57 PM (29 replies)

They are taking away our open highways

There is a deeply symbolic aspect to this particular betrayal.

It's about how it feels to live in America.

This is not America anymore.
Posted by woo me with science | Thu May 1, 2014, 08:54 AM (265 replies)

NSA spying and inequality are deeply, inextricably linked.

It is deeply disingenuous to try to argue that they aren't related, or that people focusing on one are ignoring the other.

They are deeply, intimately connected.

Why do plutocrats put a sweeping, Constitution-assaulting, spying infrastructure into place? To create total information awareness, power and control; to spy on competitors and politicians; to facilitate their corporate predatory agenda; to prevent investigation of their abuses by a free press; and to crush dissent by protesters and the citizens they are systematically exploiting, stripping of their rights, and impoverishing.

Caring about poverty REQUIRES that we take a powerful stand against this government spying. This sort of government abuse enables every corporate outrage that is the CAUSE of the poverty we are talking about.

What is the NSA really for?

"Clear evidence of collusion between TransCanada and the federal government assisting local police to unlawfully monitor and harass political protestors”

Corporate Espionage and the Secret War Against Citizen Activism

NSA Spying Not Very Focused on Terrorism: Power, Money and Crushing Dissent Are Real Motives Ops

Keiser Report: CIA, NSA & Economic Espionage (E498) (second half with Greg Palast)

Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage Against Non-profits

NSA data could be most useful for connected types on Wall Street.

NSA spied on EU's Anti Trust Chief

2011: Wall Street firms spy on protesters with police in tax-funded center

OUTRAGEOUS: Our Tax Money Funds Gov Surveillance Center In Lower Manhattan--& Wall St Is Part Of It!

Report Details How Counter Terrorism Apparatus Was Used to Monitor Occupy Movement Nationwide

NSA Monitors Porn Habits To Discredit 'Radicalizers'

How FBI Monitored Occupy Movement

FBI started surveillance of Occupy before it occupied

Wall Street Protesters Complain of Police Surveillance

Whoop, There It Is... 'Evidence Homeland Security Coordinated Occupy Crackdown' -

ACLU discovers FBI is labeling peace activists as 'potential terrorists'

Why is FBI Manufacturing Reasons to Arrest Occupy Protesters, Ignoring White Supremacist Violence

DHS Tracked Occupy Wall Street to 'Control Protesters

'Occupy' crackdowns coordinated with federal law enforcement officials

FBI uses new powers to bug anti-war groups

ACLU: FBI instructs police to suppress peaceful protests

Ridiculous FBI list: You might be a domestic terrorist if ...

American Protesters Declared Enemy for Weapons Testing Purposes; Rules of Engagement

DoD Training Manual: Protests are "Low-Level Terrorism"

NSA, DEA fabricating evidence trails to imprison Americans using spying.

ACLU: On revenge and the NSA

On the Espionage Act charges against Edward Snowden Glenn Greenwald

US Uses Espionage Act To Convict Manning Using Words Added In 1990: "with a computer"

Fed Court: Just changed interpretation of Espionage Act to cover leaks that are NOT Harmful To USA

Obama's abuse of the Espionage Act is modern-day McCarthyism

NY Times: White House Uses Espionage Act to Silence Employees, Press

Obama Has Charged More Under Espionage Act Than All Other Presidents Combined

A Nation of "Suspects"

That magic word, "terrorism." The government's identification of those needing further scrutiny

Do You Like Online Privacy? You May Be a Terrorist

"Arrogant complaining about airport security is one indicator Transportation Security Administration officers consider when looking for possible criminals and terrorists"

Top US counterterrorism official: drone critics are Al Qaeda enablers

Posted by woo me with science | Sat Jan 18, 2014, 01:19 PM (61 replies)
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