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hifiguy's Journal
hifiguy's Journal
August 7, 2014

Why do we not hear political rhetoric like this anymore?

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” Abraham Lincoln

“The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been . . . to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows.

The Constitution guarantees protections to property, and we must make that promise good. But it does not give the right of suffrage to any corporation. The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the aster of the commonwealth, who insists that the creature is of man's making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have themselves called into being.

(The people must insist on) complete and effective publicity of corporate affairs [and a law prohibiting the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes.

I rank dividends below human character. If our political institutions were perfect, they would absolutely prevent the political domination of money in any part of our affairs We need to make our political representatives more quickly and sensitively responsive to the people whose servants they are . . . It is particularly important that all moneys received or expended for campaign purposes, not only after election, but before election as well . . .”

Theodore Roosevelt, The “New Nationalism” speech, Denver, Colorado, 29 August, 1910

One of the principle features of TR's New Nationalism was a call for “a judiciary that favored individual over property rights.” Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt, p, 109 (2010).

November 8, 2012

Republicans and Frankenstein movies

It is now readily apparent to anyone living in the reality based world that the Republican party now resembles nothing so much as the last act of a Frankenstein movie. You know how it goes - Doctor Frankenstein creates a monster from mis-matched cadaver parts and a criminal mind and proceeds to imbue it with a sort of artificial life. In our little scenario the part of Doctor F. is played by KKKarl Rove, the Kochroach brothers, Sheldon Adelson and their ilk. The monster is played by the religulously insane, the Randians and the tealiban.

The problem is always the same in Frankenstein movies: the monster winds up running amok, causing all sorts of holy hell, often killing a few villagers in the process. Eventually said villagers - played in this case by the voters of the US - wise up and head for the good doctor's castle, let's call it the Republican party, with pitchforks and torches, to end the havoc. Which is the point we are at today.

So what is Doctor Frankenstein to do? The monster is now knocking down the castle around his ears and the mob is at the gates. Does he kill the monster? If so, how? Does he blow up the castle and run for his life, in the probably vain hope that he can escape from the furious mob and that the monster will be killed? If he stays, the monster will knock down the castle and kill him.

There are no good solutions, Doc. You are terminally fucked. Kiss your ass goodbye.

November 5, 2012

The Republican Party is now a Frankenstein movie.

They created this monster, which is now blind yet immensely angry and strong and is slowly destroying the Baron's castle that is the Repuke party. They have two choices - kill the monster before it destroys the castle completely and brings it down around their heads, or blow up the castle themselves and run like hell, hoping that they get away and the monster gets killed.

They are completely fked either way.

The 1%ers created and revved up the bigot/tealiban/fundy wackadoodle wing thinking it would somehow benefit them. Which proves the 1% ain't near as smart as we sometimes give them credit for being.

October 31, 2012

Style and Substance - What it means to be a Democrat

I am posting this here because it seems the only safe place to do so. Not because I use any forbidden words, but because of the poisonous atmosphere that has been generated by a small group of posters across the rest of DU. Intelligent and thoughtful comments appreciated.

There is a certain group of people of DU - and everyone knows who they are - who have made a logically fatal miscalculation in their tactics of constant disruption and attempts to sow the seeds of division at this site, and that is a pathetically misguided confusion of window-dressing with structure.

I have been a left-wing Democrat since I was old enough to understand politics. I have never failed to support and vote for the most liberal Democratic candidate available as a choice in every election in the last thirty-plus years. I supported the ERA back in the day, and support for it was a litmus test for getting my vote. All the candidates I have supported have been staunchly pro-choice, pro-equal rights, pro-pay equity and for the expansion of health care and on those issues the candidates for which I have voted share my ideals, convictions and goals. As one DUer recently posted, we must always continue to “work on the real problems of unequal pay, unaffordable day care, the glass ceiling, attacks on reproductive rights, lack of affordable medical care, and a whole long list of inequalities that need to be corrected.” Those are the issues being fought for in the only real ground that matters in everyday life - in the places where laws are made.

LadyHawkAZ recently stated that “Feminism seeks to counter [patriarchy] by achieving equality, by legal and social advancement as well as empowering women in traditionally male areas (workforce, politics, sexuality etc).” I certainly agree with and endorse this statement wholeheartedly and I cannot imagine anyone who cares enough about liberal/progressive/Democratic politics to be here would find one word of that with which to disagree.

I am sickened by the fact that Repukes want to defund Planned Parenthood, meddle in health-care decisions which should always be within the sole province of the affected woman, mock rape victims, oppose equal pay, oppose re-enacting the VAWA, and disparage full and true equality before the law for all women. I am equally sickened by homophobia and transphobia and recoil in disgust at the demeaning of our GLBT brothers and sisters when they forcefully and rightly assert that their lives and relationships should be treated with the same respect and recognition as those of straight folks.

Again, I suspect that the vast majority of DUers concur in full with what I have said above. Yet for some people here this is not enough. Because we defend the right of people to be silly, obnoxious, or even offensive, some of us are repeatedly and continually called “misogynists” by a small and very loud cadre of DUers. Would a “misogynist” be outraged by attacks on abortion-service providers and all the other attempts to provide women all across the country from having full opportunity to exercise their Constitutionally guaranteed right to decide to terminate a pregnancy and have full access to contraceptive services? Would a “misogynist” scream to high heaven about the Repukes’ attempts to redefine rape downwards? Would a “misogynist” support the Lily Ledbetter Act? Do “misogynists” contribute to Planned Parenthood so that it may continue providing desperately needed health-care services for low-income women? Do “misogynists” denounce cave-dwellers like Rush Limbaugh, Todd Akin and that goofball Mourdock? The answer is self-evident.

I am not defending people who come on DU to deliberately throw crap like the monkeys in the primate house or other trollish types, but attacking people for the words they may intemperately use without knowing one thing about the actual policies they support on the political battlefield is stupid and shortsighted. It’s petty and mean-spirited keyboard-commandoism. Telling people what they “really” think or mean is bullying and assholism. Goalpost-moving and blatant intellectual dishonesty are particularly egregious kind of assholism. Attempting to run off people based on nothing more than language usage when they are good Democrats, progressives and liberals who support the goals the Democratic Party has stood for from FDR to JFK to LBJ to George McGovern to Jimmy Carter, to Bill Clinton to Barack Obama is counterproductive and a generally shitty thing to do.

DU is one of the best online communities in all of the Internets. I’ve run across many wonderful people here on DU in the 7 ½ years I have been here on and off. It’s a funny, stimulating, enlightening and thought-provoking place. Because we are Democrats, we never agree on everything but we do overwhelmingly agree on the real issues of peace, justice and equality. But if anyone has that many problems with DU and so many DUers, maybe this is not the right place for you.

Our enemy is not common vulgarities, even if they may be inappropriate for DU. Our true common enemy is out there trying to destroy everything we stand for and there could be no better representative of that enemy than the greedy, selfish corporate nihilists on the Republican ticket and those for whom these monsters are a mere front. Anyone who forgets that should just leave DU. The internet is a big place, and you should easily be able to find a new home online.

October 4, 2012

You said it, polly!! nt

September 27, 2012

When Willard loses - and I think he will lose big

absent some unforeseeable event between now and election day - there is going to be a bloodbath in the Republican party.

The old Reagan coalition of plutocrats, religulously insane and white working/middle-class bigots is coming unglued. The plutocrats got too greedy at the expense of much of the working and middle classes and the religulously insane warped off into a bizarro universe of their own. The growth in numbers of the Ayn Rand disciples only adds to the chaos. There ain't enough duct tape in the world to patch it back together.

The fundamental divide in the Repuke party now is between the plutocrats and the lunatic masses of religiously batshit dominionists, Ayn Rand disciples, xenophobic bigots and old-school John Birch Society paranoid crazies. The plutocrats have the money but the loonies have the numbers. There is no longer anything holding these groups together.

My guess is that, yes, there will be an even sharper turn to the right on the part of the loonies. There is no real Repuke "establishment" anymore and this campaign proves it. Rmoney was a perfect example of the old school plutocratic Establishment Republican. The only way he was able to secure the nomination was by pandering to the followers of the varied psychos (Bachmann, Santorum) on the far-right fringes. So expect the loonies to reject any attempt by the plutocrats to foist off a Jeb Bush on them in 2016. Jeb is a Bush and an epic asshole (I am here being redundant) but he's not a man bent on political suicide by pulling a Willard. By 2016 Bachmann and Santorum will represent the left edge of the Republican party base. They will go whole-hog in on Santorum or someone even more batshit insane that him. And if the economy is in anything resembling a decent state they will get crushed Goldwater or Mondale style.

The interesting question is whether the Repukes will ever be able to come back after such a curb-stomping. The plutocracy invented and ginned-up the baggers in a gamble, hoping that these orcs would let them reclaim a majority of the electorate. After Grampy tapped Princess Dumbass for the veep spot all of the real orcs and ogres came boiling down out of the attic William F. Buckley locked them in almost fifty years ago. They are now in the middle of the Repig dinner party scaring the cat half to death, taking bites out of the dog and dropping boot-sized turds on the Persian rug and no one knows how to get rid of them. As happened to Doctor Frankenstein the monster they created has turned on them. The choices confronting the Repuke establishment at this point are mutually destructive. The only way to kill the monster is to blow up the castle that is the Repuke party but then they go down with it. If they don't, the monster will take over the castle and probably blow it up anyway. They are epically fked.

September 20, 2012

There will be a bloodbath of epic proportions

There are two basic segments of the institutional (what an appropriate word) Repig party: (1) the Plutocracy with their Randian Social Darwinists and (2) the inbred bigot/religulously insane - dominionist/bagger/caveman contingent. The plutocrats have the money but the lunatics have the numbers.

Originally this marriage of convenience was arranged by Ronnie Raygun, but the plutocrats have been getting greedier and the lunatics crazier every year. There isn't enough duct tape in the world to stick this mess back together again.

These two groups psychopaths are driving the Repig klown kar over the cliff, yet have in many ways nothing in common. The plutocracy's only real interest is in swindling every dollar out of the middle class after which the vampire squids will start turning on each other. The lunatics' only real interest is in returning to the Dark Ages. Oil and water, anyone?

Furthermore, demographics are turning, and brutally, against the Repigs. Within one or two more presidential election cycles it may well be basically impossible for them to manufacture an electoral college majority.

Let the circular firing squads commence now. The carnage will be a beautiful thing to see.

September 7, 2012

I agree, but this horse has been out of the barn for almost five decades.

There are aspects of foreign policy that have been, since 11/22/63, and will seemingly always remain, in the hands of the Military-Intelligence complex. The last president who stood up to the MilInt complex was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who after the Bay of Pigs fiasco famously stated that he wanted to "break the CIA into a thousand pieces."

JFK defused the Cuban Missile Crisis largely by standing up to the military brass, who wanted full scale war up to and including a nuclear exchange, and went on to open back channel diplomacy with Premier Krushchev of the USSR and even Cuba's Fidel Castro. On several occasions shortly before his death JFK told close associates (who have been quoted in numerous books - too numerous to mention here) that following his re-election in 1964 he intended to remove all US military advisers from South Vietnam.

His famous American University speech of June 10, 1963, titled "A Strategy For Peace" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_University_speech) was almost certainly the final nail in his coffin. Kennedy proposed, in effect, his intention to radically de-escalate, if not end, the Cold War. There was no way on earth that the MilInt complex could allow JFK to live given the policies outlined in that speech and his intention to disengage from Vietnam. Far too much money and power was on the line for JFK to be allowed to go on, President of the United States or not.

To this day I suspect two things, the first being that the Vietnam War was extracted from Lyndon Johnson as the price for allowing LBJ to pursue his Great Society dreams, and secondly, that it has been "explained" to every Democrat elected to the presidency since that there are sharply circumscribed limits on his power to affect certain aspects of the foreign policy that the MilInt complex and other Powers That Be wish to pursue. And the example of what became of John Kennedy is used, whether obliquely or explicitly, to explain the price of defying those power centers. Unsurprisingly, Democratic presidents have caved in rather than be rubbed out as Kennedy was. Republicans don't need to be threatened. They've been in bed with these powers since the days of Nixon.

There are simply things even Presidents are not permitted by TPTB to do. Read James Douglass' "JFK and the Unspeakable" and your questions about the whys and wherefores will be answered.

September 7, 2012

I watched Tricky Dick resign with my dad in our living room.

He was an old union guy and despised Nixon. I was a long-haired dope-smoking 17 year old and we both enjoyed seeing that weasel suffer. Dad had told me that he'd find a way to get me to Canada if there was any danger of my being drafted but it never came to that.

The Repukes have mutated into some horrifying, malevolent interplanetary virus like something out of Plan 9 From Outer Space or Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I can't believe that I have seen this kind of insanity in my lifetime. The assortment of kooks, psychopaths, fly-eating dingbats, racists and flat out lunatics that was the Repuke primary field left me boggled. Not a one of these people with the sole exception of Jon Huntsman - who seems like a civil and rational adult, and you saw what happened to him - would ever have been taken seriously as a candidate for park commissioner in a one-horse town only 25 years ago yet there they were.

McCain's disastrous pick of Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods seemed to unlock the door to the dungeon where all the even crazier people were locked up, and the flatulent, belching and wheezing orcs came boiling out of that dungeon like raw crude out of a broken oil pipe in the Gulf. Now they're in the middle of the dinner party, scaring the cat half to death, taking bites out of the dog and dropping boot-sized turds in the corner. And no one knows how to get rid of them. Their level of discourse, if such it can be called, sounds like Beethoven's Ninth if Ludwig van had composed it for an orchestra composed of jackhammers, rabid raccoons and the local insane asylum's kazoo and anvil band.

This collection of troglodytic mouth-breathers, duck-fuckers, greedheads, and evolutionary throwbacks, immune to facts or reason, have scared me badly, really badly and they cannot be permitted to get within a parsec of the White House. The late, great Hunter S. Thompson once said that when the going gets weird the weird turn pro. What has happened to this country would have sent him on a Wild Turkey and Ibogaine bender for six months.

I truly fear for the future of thie country. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are leading the charge, but we have to stand staunchly and forthrightly behind them with all our might.

July 27, 2012

Actually it is not hard to imagine an experiment

that would be most interesting if not exactly practical. There are peoples in the world who have had virtually no contact with the modern world. Examining their responses to the sorts of images/inputs used by the scientists in the study cited in the OP would at the very least provide an interesting control or baseline.

One either accepts the scientific method or one doesn't. If one does not accept the validity of the scientific method and its applicability to the investigation of phenomena in the universe, one is inhabiting the same intellectual (and I use that word loosely and advisedly) world as the cretins responsible for the creation museum.

No reputable scientist in any field starts with a conclusion, for this is antithetical to the scientific method and deductive logic. All real science starts with a hypothesis of the "Might there be a connection between X and Y, and if so, how might it operate?" Such a hypothesis fulfills the first, and most important principle of real science: Is the hypothesis falsifiable? If such a hypothesis is not shown to be false, it is then subject to further and deeper investigation. This is the basis for every advancement in knowledge humankind has made since at least the Renaissance in every field from physics and astronomy to medicine to psychology. Even something as abstract as philosophy is bound to the iron rules of logic and reason.

Lastly, while I have only a nodding acquaintance with evolutionary psychology and will argue neither for or against it, it seems entirely possible that certain pathways are hard-wired in to the human brain. Any reputable evolutionary biologist will tell anyone willing to listen that virtually everything about humans and their ancestors has changed, via the process of Darwinian natural selection, over many millennia. It does not seem at all far-fetched that certain behavior and perceptions patterns may be embedded in the depths of the brain, which neuroscience is only beginning to understand. To say that there is no case to be made, on what are essentially ideological grounds, for saying that certain behavior and perception patterns may not have contriuted to the process of human evolution seems to me to be short-sighted and close-minded. Further investigation is definitely merited. Let the chips fall where they may, but let science and its methods make that determination.

Science is what it is. It has rules, embodied in the timeless principles of the scientific method, the first of which is that nothing can be precluded unless it has been subject to experiment and falsified thereby. One either accepts and respects those rules or rejects them; however, they remain true whether or not one accepts them. As a matter of pure logic, that is simply the way it is.

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Hometown: Minnesota
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