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Mon Mar 11, 2019, 10:45 AM

This is a Showdown Time

It seems that once every several generations or so there is a disruption in the normal social/political/economic space/time continuum. The 60's were such a time for us and much of the world (the 1930's were one that preceded it). France had it's student/worker revolt and Czechoslovakia had its Velvet Revolution. Prior to that moment no one thought both of those nations could be on the brink of major upheavals.

We had a mass mobilization for Civil Rights and the anti-war movement. With 50 years in the rear view mirror it easy to forget now how destabilized our nation became then as what had been the widely accepted status quo came under increasing assault. Cities burned and students were shot dead on campus by the National Guard. There was a police riot outside of the Democratic National Convention and chaos inside of it.

We have been lulled by time into a sense that what is will always be. For much of my adult life the Soviet Union was expected to exist far beyond the time horizon. N.A.T.O. was as solid as a rock. Western Democracies had killed and buried Fascism. The American Middle Class only grew, never shrunk, the American Dream seemed immortal and Racism, though not eradicated, was in retreat.

History as they say doesn't repeat, but it rhymes. Sometimes it's as banal as retro fashion cycles (Moon/June) and sometimes as explosive as the collapse of empires (Evolution/Revolution.) The only thing that is constant in life is change. Like a 17 year Cicada it always breaks through. The status quo is never permanent, it just looks that way until it cracks. And fissures are starting to appear.

In 1955 it not only seemed wildly improbable that the U.S. would send a man to the Moon within 15 years, that possibility was literally inconceivable to 99.9% of our population. Even Sci-Fi fans were fixated on the 21st century for their far fetched space fantasies. We have been living in a Boomer world for decades now. It has never been monolithic, for the advancement of either good or evil. It has always been complex with multiple cross currents. But over time the playing field became familiar as did the players and the rules of engagement. What was in bounds, what was out of bounds, and what lay in the rough, became commonly understood. Feasibility was determined by those boundaries. And now those boundaries are starting to be erased as Boomers start to lose their grip on the steering wheel that defines normality.

The United States subtly slipped to the Right after the "Reagan Revolution" politically consolidated the social backlash to the "Anti-Establishment" Sixties. No, all of our gains from the 60's were not erased, and on the social front at least many of them continued to advance. But the economic power of entrenched special interests was fortified, the American oligarchy had its priorities clear and it acted accordingly. A massive transfer of wealth to a tiny fraction of our populous was accomplished, and the ideology that allowed for that transfer to occur was wildly propagated to the point where many of its assumptions ceased to even be challenged even within the Democratic Party.

We are witnessing the end of that era now. It will sound discordant and look messy to many. Points of unity that seemed assumed will slowly start to unravel. Capitalism Good, Socialism Bad, is just the leading edge of presumptions that will wholesale be revisited and re-litigated. And so will the assumption that there is nothing immoral about individuals accumulating mind boggling personal fortunes in a nation where millions can not afford healthcare or basic housing.

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply This is a Showdown Time (Original post)
Tom Rinaldo Monday OP
Firestorm49 Monday #1
N_E_1 for Tennis Monday #2
Tom Rinaldo Monday #5
DemocracyMouse Monday #10
watoos Monday #11
SharonAnn Monday #22
watoos Monday #3
ProfessorPlum Monday #4
watoos Monday #6
Tom Rinaldo Monday #9
watoos Monday #12
dlk Monday #7
pecosbob Monday #8
watoos Monday #13
pecosbob Monday #14
Tom Rinaldo Monday #15
pecosbob Monday #16
mtngirl47 Monday #17
Tom Rinaldo Monday #20
yonder Monday #24
calimary Monday #18
samnsara Monday #19
Tom Rinaldo Monday #21
Loge23 Monday #23
yonder Monday #26
yonder Monday #25
ancianita Monday #27
PatrickforO Tuesday #28
Duppers Tuesday #29
Duppers Tuesday #30
Tom Rinaldo Tuesday #31

Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 10:52 AM

1. Very good. Thanks, Tom.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:04 AM

2. Nailed it Tom...

Your third paragraph hit me especially hard. We thought our eyes were opened, wow we wrong.

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Response to N_E_1 for Tennis (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:26 AM

5. And yet when we started to organize against the Vietnam War in the Sixties...

...it was not thought beyond the pale for tens of thousands of marching activists to directly confront an elected Democratic President with chants of "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today!" And they werem't accused of secretly supporting Barry Goldwater when they did so.

I hope social justice and anti-militaristic activists now never see a need to so totally repudiate Democratic Party leadership again as so may did back then. But part of that depends on how tolerant the Democratic Party remains of sincerely differing view points. Party unity can't be used as a blunt weapon to bludgeon all honest debate to a stand still. The Democratic Party can be the channel through which much of it flows, which will increase our chances of standing by each other in General Elections against the Right if all of us get a fair say before then. Or by restricting acceptable terms of debate inside the Democratic Party, it can ensure that those currents flow elsewhere outside of it, beyond its influence.

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Response to N_E_1 for Tennis (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:47 AM

10. Wait... mostly a spot-on analysis... but a real disruption

will break the false dichotomy between Capitalism and Socialism. THIS PENDULUM SWING is different. We have an internet generation raised on concepts like "infrastructure" and "operating system" – and they (we) are fully capable of rejecting that false choice. There is always a 3rd, 4th, 5th way.

But the new way needs leadership. Not couch potatoes selecting between only two old paradigms. I believe that the best future lies in comprehending how a civic and humane and regenerative INFRASTRUCTURE can be legislated by folks like Warren, Harris, Sanders and O'rourke to support a vital, smaller business free enterprise — complete with single-payer healthcare, free college tuition, and an educational system overhauled to train citizens to understand the totality of small business entrepreneurship – including the design of web and retail elements. At the moment our schools only teach for a corporate model.

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Response to DemocracyMouse (Reply #10)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 12:14 PM

11. The end result of capitalism is monopolies.

I am 71 years old, I never shopped at a Walmart. I still buy local and try to buy American.

To me it is a simple choice. I am an economic dummie. It is merely a choice of how and where we choose to spend our tax dollars. I refer to Ike's farewell address a lot. He said we can choose to spend money on bombs or baby buggies, on tanks or cars, on bullets or medicine.

Have you seen Trump's proposed budget?

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Response to watoos (Reply #11)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 01:35 PM

22. That's taught in Basic Economics. Unless regulated, capitalism results in monopolies.

Some monopolies were allowed to exist here but were highly regulated. Electric companies, Telephone companies, Natural Gas companies, etc.

But capitalism always wants to reduce competition and control a larger part of available revenue. Always!

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:04 AM

3. Income inequality will be our downfall.

The Trump tax cut scam has been glossed over. Trump took 1.5 trillion dollars, which will come from the poor, and gave it to the rich, forever, no expiration date.

This can be verified in Trump's recently released budget proposal. His proposal will increase military spending by billions of dollars. Think of it as the anti-Ike farewell address warning proposal. His budget will give billions to his idiotic wall. His proposal assumes 3.0 GDP growth while the CBO projects 1.9% growth. Trump also proposes infrastructure spending where tax dollars pay for 90% of the projects while developers pay 10% but they get control of the infrastructure.

With all of this spending Trump proposes to balance the budget in 15 years. This will be done by slashing social programs by trillions of dollars.

I know, Democrats control the House. Just think if we didn't? We don't control those electronic voting machines.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:23 AM

4. The thing that worries me is

the elite who are hoarding all of the wealth now have modern technology to protect themselves from the voting booth and social protest.

In addition to gerrymandering, hiding and ridiculing protest and progressives, disenfranchisement, and misinformation, they also have sonic guns and long distance microwaves and all of the other lethal and non-lethal crowd control methods that have been invented since the French revolution to turn on the crowds. And the police forces who will inevitably do the bidding of the elite.

It's Vampires (rich, super-powered, life-sucking immortals) versus Zombies (shambling, always-hungry, shabby crowds). With all of our police-state weaponry turned against the Zombies.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:39 AM

6. Yes they have all of that,

plus, one of the major topics at Davos was AI (robotics) doing away with humans.

So far the super rich have only needed the M$M to get the working class to vote against their own best interests.

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Response to watoos (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:43 AM

9. Bigger damns need larger floods to top them

Perhaps that's why it's been 50 years or more since we have faced wide spread upheavals in the United States. But stronger damns pile up more water behind them. Society has a way of equalizing forces over long periods of time.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #9)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 12:20 PM

12. Maybe. I don't underestimate propaganda.

We could just drift into a Huxley's "Brave New World." My Ford, time to clean out my gutters and take a soma.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:40 AM

7. We Were Lulled into a Sense of Complacency Thinking it Can't Happen Here

Petogress is never a straight line; there are always steps backward. Too many Americans were fooled by the “greed is good” propaganda that has ultimately cost the once-thriving middle class dearly. With Trump’s presidency, however, the true nature of the GOP and their elitist, racist and sexist agenda has become glaringly obvious and difficult to dismiss by those blinded by belief in American exceptionalism. I agree that we’ve reached a tipping point.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:42 AM

8. Mass strikes is the only way to get their attention

It will get interesting when Trump or red states decide to declare a state of emergency to deal with the strikes...

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Response to pecosbob (Reply #8)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 12:25 PM

13. The unwashed don't seem interested into even forming unions,

let alone going on strike. I mean what is it, 6 or 7% of the private sector is unionized?

Bob Corker, according to the far right M$M, is a moderate Republican. He single handedly stopped Volkswagon from unionizing in Tennessee when Volkswagon wanted a union.

He got people to vote against their own best interests.

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Response to watoos (Reply #13)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 12:31 PM

14. It would be a hard row to hoe

A more likely event and possible trigger would be riots sparked by another unjustified police execution.

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Response to pecosbob (Reply #8)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 12:34 PM

15. In times like these it is often something unexpected

How and why the status quo gets disrupted is about as predictable in advance as a Tsunami. The forces that create one are at work but mostly out of clear sight. But when pressures keep building something eventually has to give.

No one could have predicted that the mass societal upheavals that swept much of the Arab world in the "Arab Spring" would have been triggered by one man's self immolation in Tunisia.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #15)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 12:35 PM

16. Agreed

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 12:50 PM

17. "The only thing that is constant in life is change."

In 1987 I had just purchased my first camcorder and sat down with my Grandfather as he held my infant son on his lap. He talked about the changes he had seen....electricity and plumbing in his house, the first automobile he had seen, ridden in; when he got a gasoline tractor and was able to put the mules out to pasture; the first airplane that flew over his head---he never flew although he had 2 sons that were Air Force; and of course the first man on the moon.

Those were all very big things, but what struck me when I watched it recently were the societal changes he spoke about. He was amazed that his granddaughters went to college and had careers--who takes care of the family he asked. He was shocked and disappointed at what he saw as the loss of social norms that he placed squarely on the television. He mourned the loss of family and community as everything moved faster and people moved away.

At the end of the recording he smiles at my son and says, "I can't even fathom the changes that this one will see!"

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Response to mtngirl47 (Reply #17)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 01:08 PM

20. You were so wise to make that video then when you could

So often I wish I had somehow recorded conversations with my parents (and the one grandmother who was much in my life as a teen) about their lives. My father once told me about being part of an American unit that "liberated" a Nazi concentration camp after the Germans had withdrawn from it, how skeletal the survivors were. This was when I was barely a young adult and was minimally political. I wasn't equipped to fully grasp what he was saying then, and my memory of that conversation is hazy at best beyond that detail. I know that I didn't ask all the follow up questions that I should have then. I just took it for granted that the Nazi's were horrific and that was just more evidence of it. I was focused on the present then much more so than history. Now of course I better understand how all of it is linked.

Later my father grew increasingly upset over how youth (like me) had so little respect for authority, though his love of me never faltered. A decade or more hence, written after a stroke impaired his ability, he wrote me:

"In the days of long hair you were so right and I was so wrong". I still cherish that.

"I can't even fathom the changes that this one will see!" What a sweet and so very true observation.

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Response to mtngirl47 (Reply #17)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 02:36 PM

24. Thanks for your post - it says a lot.

Change, that constant of life, has sped up IMO. We've been exponentially accelerating into a future with only the linear brakes of human experience to check that speed.

Or another way: We have been allowing technology and change to try humanity on for size rather than the other way around. We, as people, need to be making the decision on whether the style and fit of our new shoes are suitable before the journey, not afterwards. Right now, those shoes are garish and much too big for our feet.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 01:04 PM

18. Most interesting think piece, Tom!

Bookmarking for later study.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 01:06 PM

19. remember when we elevated the Pentagon? YES WE CAN!

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Response to samnsara (Reply #19)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 01:11 PM

21. Sure do. I was in that circle that attempted it!

At the time I even thought I noticed the very bare and faintest of glow coming from that building while we attempted it. Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 02:26 PM

23. Maybe, but what if we're off our axis?

This is a very nicely written piece and I think it captures a capsulated view of the American political/societal changes over time. I do wonder if the relatively smooth generational tide changes that the piece recounts have been forever disrupted by a changing demographic; that is, the dumbing down of the country.
The societal unrest of the 60's was, in my opinion, successfully tamped down by the authorities. The infamous Greenwich Village bomb factory blast was perhaps one of the final events that changed the mood of the discontented masses against mass mobilization and protest and towards a conciliatory "let's work within the system" which effectively diluted the movement into the single-issue intramural squabbles we still see today. We took our eyes off the prize. Now, hold on a minute! I am not at all suggesting that violence was the right course of action - it clearly was not, but the right effectively conflated violence with change - and that took a lot of people off the streets.

In the meantime, the right coalesced. Knowing that they are and (hopefully) always will be the minority in this country, the right gerrymandered their way into a formidable political power. They seized the rural and southern states on lifestyle threats and racism - all the while wrapping themselves in the flag as the "real patriots" when they are anything but.

While I definitely feel the winds of change once again, I am not convinced that the country will follow. After all, here we are in 2019 with as a corrupt administration as we have ever had in our lifetime led by a addled, incompetent fraud; but yet we are looking uphill at a 2020 election. The right has essentially performed a coup on our judicial system. The position of the United States among our traditional, post WW2 allies has perhaps irreversibly changed. Our allies meanwhile have their own issues, with Brexit, a still-rising nationalism threat, and the economic powerhouse to the East.

I completely agree that there is a coming reassessment of economic priorities and political assumptions, but my fear is that we the people have become so complacent and so gullible - to the point where at least a third of us still support a fraud as president - that the very dynamics of political/societal change may be skewed. Minority rules. For the sake of the future, I hope the disease of the cult is something that can be cured by attrition. A wholesale sea change towards at least a recognition that Socialism can be something other than Communism, and income inequality is not only immoral but also anti-productive seems a bridge too far from where I believe this country has gone. I hope I'm wrong.

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Response to Loge23 (Reply #23)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 02:43 PM

26. +1. well said.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 02:37 PM

25. This is an excellent thread, TR. good posts all around. Thanks

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:35 PM

27. Keeping Democracy regulating Capitalism is going to be a Big Deal. But we're going to do this.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Tue Mar 12, 2019, 12:23 AM

28. This is quite an interesting thread, and a very good OP.

The only thing I notice as I peruse it is that it is very America-centric. Like you, I have difficulty imagining America not at the center.

One person on the thread says something to the effect that the forces of change are huge and unseen. Must they originate here? We have about 4.3% of the world's population.

I keep saying my grandkids need the Green New Deal now, and I mean that. The whole earth does, and I find myself impatient with the long game that is mentioned on another thread. I want change now. You know what changes because most of you have seen my posts, so I won't recite the litany.

But think about the kids. What if change comes from a place we least expect - the children. That Swedish girl who is leading the charge of kids insisting the adults act like adults and set some policies in place to save the earth. And think about the Parkland kids that were instrumental in millions of high school kids around the nation registering to vote. And think about the new people in Congress, not cautious, young, un-beholden yet to corporations, fearless askers of 'why?'

I keep hoping, though, that things won't unravel too much, go totally into chaos, but then 25,000 people a day starve to death on this earth because of selfishness. Until we get rid of the illusions that plague us, we will only get worse.

We are mortal. I've lived more life than I have left, and maybe, if lucky I have another 20 years or so. Probably less. And it is the same for us all. So why do we act as if we are immortal and grasp after illusions? Wealth. Power. These are the two illusions. Until we grow up and see how truly freakish these billionaire parasites are and begin to organize ourselves as a species around human need and the preservation of our planet, we will continue to circle the cosmic drain.

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Response to PatrickforO (Reply #28)

Tue Mar 12, 2019, 10:39 AM

29. +100

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Tue Mar 12, 2019, 12:28 PM

30. Big K&R

Bravo!

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Response to Duppers (Reply #30)

Tue Mar 12, 2019, 02:46 PM

31. Thank you n/t

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