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Sat Mar 7, 2015, 02:55 PM

In The SU, Capitalism Triumphed Over Communism, In This Country Capitalism Triumphed Over Democracy

http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/fran-lebowitz-capitalism-triumphed-over-both-communism-and-democracy

Fran Lebowitz: Capitalism Triumphed Over Both Communism and Democracy

A photoshopped image of journalist and author Fran Lebowitz (not to be confused with Annie Leibovitz the famed photographer) has been making its away around the internet. The image may be created on software, but the quotation from Lebowitz is unerringly accurate: "In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.”

Perhaps one can argue that there is still hope for democracy, the kind of faint pulse that an experienced paramedic detects when others have declared a person found lying in the street dead. Perhaps there is the chance that defibrillation or emergency surgery can yet resurrect an actual robust democracy and not just the appearance of one. In short, the last rites haven't yet been given to democracy in the US, but the priest is hovering near the body.

Lebowitz's quotation suggests the fundamentally overarching reality that a global oligarchical system has, at an accelerated pace, been steering democracies to achieve plutocratic goals. They are an unaccountable force deciding the future of the world's economy - and within that framework - it's political direction. Plutocrats, the likes of those who meet at Davos every year and those whom The World Bank and IMF represents, are the new superseding political force in the world. The plethora of trade agreements give corporations, for example, sovereign powers over certain areas. More significantly, economic issues favoring the ultra-wealthy and corporations are the key focus of governmental entities such as the G-8 and G-20.

Democracy still exists in nations such as the United States from a technical standpoint. However, it plays out in a context of what has been called "manufactured consent" that is crafted by those with vast fortunes to influence election outcomes. George Orwell's emphasis in his classic novel "1984" was on the pervasive presence of image generators that would basically embed a subservient world view in the minds of the general population. That is not hard to see today in the omnipresence of plasma television screens in our homes, restaurants, airports and even taxis, which blare out a 24-hour cycle of headlines constructed to provoke fear and hatred or to distract the viewers with sensationalized celebrity news.

News, such as it is determined by the corporate mass media, is primarily embedded in us as emotional reactions to headlines and stories that cause us to react viscerally instead of cerebrally. As BuzzFlash at Truthout has noted before, choosing the frame of what is considered news in a journalistic world where advertising determines profitability is largely dependent upon engaging the viewer emotionally. This is also true of political advertising, faux think tank studies from the right, talking point memes from the likes of Frank Luntz, etc.

In short, much of what constitutes a debate within democracy about public policy is largely restricted to the confines of issues that evoke an emotional reaction in us, not thoughtful reflection. In a public where a large segment of the population is misinformed or only aware of the world through the images transmitted through visual media such as television, this allows the wealthy corporate forces behind television - and the political advertising and third-party "issue" ads that TV heavily profits from - to shape the contours of a democracy that exists in a very narrow fast-paced highway of "manufactured consent."

The limited width of that highway of "news" that benefits the wealthy and the ruling elite leads to pre-determined policies, such as happened with the manipulation of the public leading up to the Iraq War or the feverish rounds of tax cuts over decades. Those who benefit the most from capitalism - the 1% and the government that safeguards the wealth of the oligarchy - channel us like cattle into confined pens of “conventional wisdom.”

This, in large part, is the triumph of capitalism over democracy, as Lebowitz calls it. Through the corporate mass media - particularly television news (and particularly cable TV news) - the "masters of the universe" capitalists embed a world view in enough voters to create the semblance of a democracy. In reality the real decisions are being made upstairs, where the money is counted and continues to pile up to the rafters.

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Reply In The SU, Capitalism Triumphed Over Communism, In This Country Capitalism Triumphed Over Democracy (Original post)
mother earth Mar 2015 OP
ND-Dem Mar 2015 #1
djean111 Mar 2015 #2
mother earth Mar 2015 #3
uhnope Mar 2015 #4
rhett o rick Mar 2015 #5
uhnope Mar 2015 #7
rhett o rick Mar 2015 #9
uhnope Mar 2015 #10
rhett o rick Mar 2015 #11
uhnope Mar 2015 #18
rhett o rick Mar 2015 #20
uhnope Mar 2015 #21
rhett o rick Mar 2015 #22
uhnope Mar 2015 #25
rhett o rick Mar 2015 #26
uhnope Mar 2015 #29
hifiguy Mar 2015 #12
Rex Mar 2015 #14
uhnope Mar 2015 #19
Rex Mar 2015 #23
Taitertots Mar 2015 #38
rhett o rick Mar 2015 #6
hifiguy Mar 2015 #13
Rex Mar 2015 #24
uhnope Mar 2015 #30
Trillo Mar 2015 #8
rhett o rick Mar 2015 #15
hifiguy Mar 2015 #16
rhett o rick Mar 2015 #17
b.durruti Mar 2015 #27
Cayenne Mar 2015 #28
LineLineNew Reply !
DeSwiss Mar 2015 #32
DeSwiss Mar 2015 #31
Yorktown Mar 2015 #33
mother earth Mar 2015 #34
Yorktown Mar 2015 #35
mother earth Mar 2015 #37
DeSwiss Mar 2015 #36
uhnope Mar 2015 #39

Response to mother earth (Original post)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 02:58 PM

1. kr

 

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 03:01 PM

2. "In This Country Capitalism Triumphed Over Democracy" - yes, yes it did.

 

Really difficult for me to get all excited about a corporate candidate for President, and I suspect it will soon be impossible.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 03:04 PM

3. Happily, it is beginning to look so. Our "political" choices are a joke, in the end we get more

for the l%....and they are laughing their asses off, while the robbery is global and played out for the most part, exactly the same.

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 03:45 PM

4. so replace capitalism with what?

 

?

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Response to uhnope (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 04:23 PM

5. You are so right. There is nothing else. We should drink the cool-aid and accept

 

death by capitalism.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 04:29 PM

7. you have skills

 

in not answering questions and mocking the questioner. Advanced skills in straw man arguments

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Response to uhnope (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 04:38 PM

9. I get tired of some here that only ask questions with insinuations. It's a technique used

 

to attack a position w/o actually committing oneself.

If you think that capitalism is the only possible economic system that will work, then why don't you make that statement?

I don't have to specify a better system to know that capitalism is deadly to poor people. Not that capitalist care. They see the starvation of the poor as economic darwinism. Collateral damage on their quest for power.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #9)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 04:42 PM

10. wow, you read a lot into 5 words

 

My post was
so replace capitalism with what?


From this you draw your many conclusions. You're tilting a windmills. Seeing enemies everywhere.

I really want to know what the OP is suggesting as an alternative.

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Response to uhnope (Reply #10)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 04:45 PM

11. By insisting that the OP provide an alternate you are insinuating there is none as

 

apparently you can't think of any. Why don't you state your case?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 07:37 PM

18. really, there was no insinuation and you can't wring one from 5 words

 

I think the systems like in France or Germany or many of the Scandinavian countries is a pretty good model.

You're lucky you get any answer at all, with your rudeness and confrontational tactics.

How about you, what's your alternative? Marxist utopia, or what?

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Response to uhnope (Reply #18)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 09:05 PM

20. I agree that there are some good economic systems out there. And I am sorry

 

if I misunderstood your five word response. It seemed to me that you were defending capitalism. Hard to tell from 5 words.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #20)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 09:50 PM

21. some good capitalist economic systems, then?

 

like in western Europe or Scandinavia

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Response to uhnope (Reply #21)

Sun Mar 8, 2015, 12:11 AM

22. I would hardly call them "capitalistic". They have socialistic aspects.

 

In fact the biggest capitalist country today is China.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #22)

Sun Mar 8, 2015, 06:59 PM

25. you need to brush up on the subject

 

France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries are all capitalism but with elements of socialism (more than the US). Those elements don't make them not capitalist, unless you think the USA is not capitalist because we have Social Security, the US Postal Service, welfare, etc.

Um, China is not longer considered State Socialism anymore and hasn't been for a long time because it's become capitalistic in its economics though still a totalitarian in its government practices, similiar to Russia.

It seems to me that if you think Germany or Scandinavia have pretty good systems, you support managed capitalism with strong public support networks and strong public welfare systems. And we agree.

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Response to uhnope (Reply #25)

Sun Mar 8, 2015, 07:46 PM

26. I do support managed capitalism with strong social programs. In the USofA

 

capitalism has gone into the bad stages of monopolies and control of the government. Uncontrolled capitalism will result in a fascist type government.

Here's what I actually said about China, "In fact the biggest capitalist country today is China. "

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #26)

Mon Mar 9, 2015, 12:44 AM

29. OK great. Looks like we actually agree

 

that capitalism is OK when it is well-managed and has strong social programs.

sorry I misread the part about China.

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Response to uhnope (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 04:59 PM

12. Umm, how about the sort of democratic socialism

 

one sees in Scandinavian countries?

Seems to work well there.

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Response to uhnope (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 05:01 PM

14. Democracy?

 

?

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Response to Rex (Reply #14)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 07:38 PM

19. So there's no democracy in any capitalist country? Reaaaaally?

 

And how was/is the democracy in the Marxist-Leninist countries, btw?

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Response to uhnope (Reply #19)

Sun Mar 8, 2015, 12:13 AM

23. Nice try at reading my mind. Not in this country, sorry no not really.

 

But you are free to pretend otherwise. This country is a plutocracy, democracy was not profitable enough. How has capitalism worked out for Russia and China...I'll wait.

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Response to uhnope (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 05:57 PM

38. We should replace under-regulated capitalism with regulated capitalism

 

We don't NEED to accept an oligarchy to embrace capitalism.

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 04:25 PM

6. Capitalism is like a disease. It is all consuming, and eventually will eat itself.

 



It is only compatible with a fascistic type of government.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 04:59 PM

13. Marx diagnosed the disease to perfection.

 

His cure was off the mark, but the complete accuracy of his analysis of capitalism remains.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 8, 2015, 12:17 AM

24. He was on the right track. Adam Smith was closer in the understanding of social necessities. IMO.

 

Yet I doubt either man could have dreamed of the plutocracy America practices day in and day out. I doubt the Founders could have dreamed up such a nightmare.

Reaganomics is a total disaster for the working class, dam shame the rich won't let go of the teet. Dam shame for both parties voters.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 9, 2015, 12:46 AM

30. I think we have agreed this is not exactly true

 

that well-managed capitalism with strong social programs like in some countries in western Europe or Scandinavia are positive models of capitalism in democracies.

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 04:30 PM

8. This is very sad.

It means history must repeat itself for the people to get out from under the oligarchy.

I'd like to believe it's still possible to do it peacefully.

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Response to Trillo (Reply #8)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 05:25 PM

15. I don't think it's possible peacefully. The elites have to decide on just how much they can

 

fleece us and I think greed will not permit them to make a good decision. They will kill the goose.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #15)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 05:30 PM

16. Greed is the most powerful, pernicious and dangerous addiction

 

known to humankind. It is not self-limiting. Quite the opposite, it feeds on itself in an endless loop.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #16)

Sat Mar 7, 2015, 05:33 PM

17. Capitalism is a parasite that kills it's host. nm

 

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #17)

Sun Mar 8, 2015, 07:59 PM

27. Wish more people realized that! ~nt~

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Sun Mar 8, 2015, 09:28 PM

28. All isms end in schisms.

What alternatives are there? If we we implement socialist remedies are we then socialist or still capitalist.

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Response to Cayenne (Reply #28)

Mon Mar 9, 2015, 12:51 AM

32. !

 

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Mon Mar 9, 2015, 12:50 AM

31. Great minds, etc., etc....

 

- K&R

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Mon Mar 9, 2015, 01:00 AM

33. 'In This Country Capitalism Triumphed Over Democracy'??? Riiiight...

 

Things might not be perfect. They might even be far from perfect. Humans are not perfect.

But are western democracies today better off than one century ago? Certainly.

Large parts of the population where dirt poor then, and kids worked in factories.

Democracy? Segregation existed just 50 years ago.

Mass media control? Certainly more 50 years ago than in the age of internet.

Slowly, painstakingly, imperfectly, we hairless apes are making some progress.

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Response to Yorktown (Reply #33)

Mon Mar 9, 2015, 11:48 AM

34. Except for where gains have been scaled back or dismantled altogether in favor of the

multinat'l oligarchs, the l%.

Personally, I don't expect perfection in anything, but in this country I expect rule of law and accountability for all classes, and if SCOTUS is going to grant "personhood", they had better also be sure that personhood is subject to prison life if the crime fits.
One need only look to the banksters, HSBC for example, where money laundering is just one of the many topics we
could get into.

I think we are actually seeing everything in a clearer light, moreso than ever before, so I look forward to tangible progress that can't be washed away by big monied interest groups. How long that takes depends on all of us.

Both eastern and western gov'ts are suffering from the same evils, can we afford to pretend it doesn't exist? We certainly don't learn from history, it repeats and morphs into today's ills.

I think the quote is spot on.

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Response to mother earth (Reply #34)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 03:36 AM

35. Are there countries more democratic than western democracies?

 

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Response to Yorktown (Reply #35)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 05:32 PM

37. Democracy is morphing every day, in every way, it is not a good thing to be complacent about. nt

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Response to Yorktown (Reply #33)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 06:11 AM

36. Capitalism is CANCER.

 

- Period.

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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #36)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 05:59 PM

39. LOL

 

period.

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