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Member since: Sat Dec 6, 2003, 05:15 AM
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He probably was truly caring and loving and devoted to her.

Feelings can be complicated, and people do impulsive things that they later regret.

I gave money to Edwards too, and I was furious because I also campaigned and put my integrity on the line to support him. But having seen what the Obama administration has done -- the signing of the NDAA, no public option and sitting down to negotiate with insurance companies, not prioritizing the passage of an amendment to end limitless corporate campaign involvement, continued eavesdropping on Americans, the appointment of bankers to manage the economy, the lack of support for labor unions, the campaign against teachers, etc., I am grateful that Edwards at least brought some more liberal points of view to our primaries in 2008 regardless of his personal life, regardless of whether he really planned to be elected. At least I feel that someone, sincere or not, voiced my view on a lot of issues.

Edwards, for all his human weakness, made sure that the progressive view was not completely laughed at or ignored. I like Kucinich, but the press does not take him seriously. They laugh at him. I don't expect that the press will wise up about Kucinich. He also is a good man.

Please note. The press and the FEC do not descend upon conservative politicians or "moderate Democrats" to destroy them by scandal, innuendo or ridicule the way they do progressive or very liberal candidates. That is not an accident.

I see this terrible trend. No matter who the liberal candidate or the liberal spokesperson is, the right wing and the so-called "moderates" will destroy that person. I remember when Schroeder was destroyed simply because she cried. We heard endlessly about how weak women are. That is what Edwards faced -- a campaign to destroy the reputation and respect and trust of any person who dares to tell the American people the truth or present another, more progressive/liberal point of view.

There are a lot of politicians who are leading double love-lives right now. You will never hear about them unless they cross up the 1%.

One-world plutocracy and privatization

I had a discussion with someone on DU the other day about world trade and in particular the roles of the international courts in replacing and superseding local laws and national laws.

Now, this first part sounds like some crazy, right-wing theory that we progressives and liberals like to laugh at. And I must admit that I have laughed about some of the theories associated with these ideas from time to time. But, bear with me, please.

Obviously, in "democracies" like our own, local and national laws are decided by locally and nationally elected representatives through some sort of democratic process, however flawed.

Not so the judges sitting on international courts like the NAFTA court. They are appointed, yes, hopefully by individuals elected by representatives or members of national governments. But can you personally name one judge sitting on an international court? Thought not. Neither can I. Nor do I know how much money passed hands, how many lobbyists weighed in, how much influence was used when these judges and others who run international organizations were selected. We have to ask who does know how that these people were chosen?

Yet, those judges can require your government to set aside a regulation or law that your democratically elected representatives passed at some level if it is deemed to result in some unfair trade practice such as dumping or protectionism. They have supra-national powers not derived from the people.

These courts combined with free trade agreements that weaken labor and environmental movements push us further and further toward international government that is selected and controlled by the major international corporations and the plutocracy that controls and profits from them. (That's the part the right-wing has been obsessing over for years in kind of nonsensical terms.)

But what about our national governments. Aren't they brakes on the process of global government by the plutocracy?

Here is where PRIVATIZATION fits into the picture (and where we liberals and progressives begin to object instinctively to what is happening).

Increasingly, our government (at all levels) is selling its functions to private corporations. We have private arbitration courts -- much cheaper and more efficient, we are assured, than courts of law with public trials. Courts in which procedures and rules of evidence that are established in laws passed by democratically elected bodies are followed with opportunities for appeals take too long.

In some states, even the highways and parking meters are being sold to public-private cooperative entities. Privatization among other things, permits foreign shareholders to own strategically vital parts of our American infrastructure.

Many community hospitals were privatized during the 1990s. Now we are seeing the privatization of schools.

Water is now in the purview of wealthy corporations. Imagine having to pay private companies just to get water to drink.

Privatization weakens and in some cases deprives we the people of the right to oversee these heretofore public functions.

Paying taxes to maintain traditionally public functions is increasingly viewed as an unbearable burden even when paying private companies to perform the same function -- say delivering packages of mail -- may cost three times as much as the government charges. So privatization is viewed as a way to replace having to pay taxes even though we would often be better off as individuals paying taxes than paying corporate profits.

Once the privatization occurs, it is hard for the government and local control to take back the privatized function.

And each time that another government function is privatized, our government, our democratically elected government and the democratic processes that support it, are weakened. As a result, we, the people have less and less say over how we live our lives and the price we have to pay to stay alive.

And all we hear from the private sector is how much they resent the regulations. No wonder they hate regulation. The regulations are imposed by democratically elected officials and the regulatory agencies that the democratically elected officials appoint. And, horrors, the regulatory agencies make the regulations through procedures that are transparent to the public.

I invite critical remarks (although I will answer them), but I think I have come across the kernel of something very important.

International corporations have grown to be more powerful than many governments.
Trade agreements deprive us of the ability to control democratically our own environment and economy.
Privatization threatens to deprive local and national governments of their authority and the financial capacity to govern or provide for the defense of the people living in the nation.

What is happening I am beginning to think is the destruction of the concept of the nation-state.

This might be acceptable except that the institutions that are replacing the nation-state are imposed on us by some sort of anonymous apparatus with only a slight relationship to democratic processes. Yet these international organizations like the World Bank, the IMF, the NAFTA Court, and similar entities have the capacity to impose upon nations of people including potentially ourselves, dictatorships and laws we do not want. These institutions have the capacity to completely destroy even the semblance of democracy. We are seeing how the European economic union has displaced the democratically elected government of Greece.

What do you think?

"How can we find a legitimately funny conservative person?" he wondered.

To answer that a bit. I know a number of comedians and comedy writers. Most (but not all) of them are Jewish or at least half-Jewish. Most of them really suffered when they were kids -- from bullies who were bigger and meaner than they were. Most of them are realistic. Most of them are Democrats.

A lot of the comedians and comic writers I know are realistic to the point of depression. Without exception, they are extremely intelligent. Humor is the way they cope with life. Jokes can disarm strangers and make communication easier. Comedians use them to bridge the gap between their own great intelligence and the limited understanding of others.

The comedians I know laugh at themselves even more than they laugh at others. They ridicule themselves first, and only after they finish roasting themselves do they start on others.

In fact, not all of them, but most of the comedians I know or have known are or were, beneath the facade, extraordinarily compassionate people. They may never admit it, but they are. They don't need to be told to walk in someone else's shoes for a day. The minute they meet you, they are trying on your shoes. That's where the jokes come from -- wearing other people's too big or too small shoes.

Do you know any Republicans with those personality traits? Neither do I.

While I am at it, fundamentalist Christianity is, in my opinion, completely incompatible with a really healthy sense of humor.

I was raised by true Christians. They could be very humble and very funny. We laughed a lot. And lots of Christians, even fundamentalist Christians, can tell stories and jokes effectively.

But generally, fundamentalists take themselves and their beliefs too seriously to achieve the necessary distance or irony to be capable of writing a really belly-aching joke about much of anything.

So, Republicans should just give up the quest for a good comedian and accept themselves for the boring bullies they are. Actually, that would be a starting point for a Republican comedian -- writing jokes about what boring bullies Republicans are.
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