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Welcome to the Sixteenth Century, Eureka

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I had to reprint this article from Firedoglake:


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Welcome to the Sixteenth Century

By: masaccio Sunday November 30, 2014 10:57 am

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113014_Damned-to-Hell-Demons Please don’t murder us in the streets. We work hard so we should be paid a living wage. Bankers should be treated as equal before the law. Please stop spying on us. We’ve lived here all our lives, don’t deport us to a foreign country. Please stop killing people everywhere in the world. We are entitled to be treated like other people. Please stop poisoning the dirt that grows our food and the water we drink and the air we breathe. The minimal nature of the demands of millions of protesters measures the decrepit state of our nation. It also tells us that the rich people who run this country loathe and despise us.

We killed your kids with impunity. Take that tiny paycheck, and supplement it with government benefits, and punch out before you clean up your work station. Bankers are the engines of prosperity and if they get a bit greedy, it can’t be prevented without destroying capitalism. We spy on you to protect you from immigrants with Ebola and sharp swords. Get back into that closet. You’ll eat and breathe oil and you’ll love it. OK, you noisy group can get married. Now aren’t you happy? Remember, we have the guns, the tanks, the tear gas, the pepper spray, the kettles, the rifles, the humvees, the assault rifles, the MRAPs, and the drones, and we have your data and your phones and your computers and your emails and your facebook pages and your tweets, and we know who you are. And just ignore those thugs on the roofs, those plain-clothes men with AR-15s, they’re either our regular troops or our irregulars, our vigilantes, just out to protect our private property.

As bad as this is, the worst part is that there are millions of people who aren’t elites, who aren’t rich enough to financially survive a lost job or a divorce or a sick kid, but who think this is just fine. Those people vote for the system not just in elections, but by their hatred for their neighbors. Who could have predicted so many citizens would enjoy watching their neighbors thrown out of their houses rather than figure out some way to help? Who would have thought so many citizens would be thrilled to see families broken up and deported? Who would have thought so many citizens would be happy to drink oil instead of water for any reason? Who would have thought that so many citizens would prefer not just to let corporations pay so little to their neighbors, but also to support cutting off all government benefits to those workers? Who would have thought so many citizens would be happy to have some government agent collecting their phones and email and internet search histories?

The optimists among us point to a bunch of liberal issues on which a plurality of citizens agree according to pollsters. That’s great, and it may even be true. But the fact is that our Constitution is set up to prevent government action against the will of a small minority. It gives tiny Red States plenty of 19th Century Senators who under Senate rules can block any action they don’t like. The House is thoroughly gerrymandered, so that the will of the majority isn’t even represented. Presidential candidates must win the money primary, insuring that they will support the interests of the richest and most retrograde among the top .01% who own 11% of the total wealth of the nation. The Supreme Court has always protected property at the expense of every other interest or value, so even if a decent piece of legislation passed, the five conservative hacks on the Court will strike it down.

It seems to me that this nation is infected by a nameless, faceless dread, a fear of something awful just beyond our ability to grasp. The media, right-wing politicians and demagogues, acting on behalf of their filthy rich patrons, actively exploit that fear to get what they want: a divided nation at war with itself. You don’t have to watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh or worse to get this; you can feel it in the air, and get all the examples you need from The Daily Show or Colbert or Oliver. Where does this come from? This is a country rich in resources, armed to the teeth, with a powerful technological infrastructure that should allow a lot of material progress and solutions to any real problems. And yet there’s this:

As of 2014, it’s estimated that nearly half of Americans — 49 percent — say natural disasters are a sign of “the end times,” as described in the Bible. That’s up from an estimated 44 percent in 2011.

How do you explain technological marvels sitting alongside this kind of pre-Enlightenment fright? One explanation comes from @Billmon1, a great Twitter follow. He says that a large part of the US missed the Enlightenment altogether. That part, largely the Red states, but all over the country, is embedded in the 16th/17th centuries:

To be more specific: rooted in 16th/17th century British isles — Scotland, English border lands & Ireland, to be precise. “Celtic fringe.”

About as backwoods, parochial, & religiously bigoted part of W. Europe as you could have found in that era — an era of religious bigotry.

We have a great recent example of this culture in Northern Ireland. After a century of war with itself and its Catholic neighbors, Northern Ireland has turned from religious bigotry to racial bigotry. There are plenty of problems in Ireland, many of which are the result of unbridled capitalism like the short-sighted decisions of the leaders to pay off all depositor loses caused by Irish banks and the outrageous tax schemes that enable the likes of Apple to screw the US out of needed tax revenues. But really, a few immigrants are the problem?

It’s a mirror image of the US. The “Other” is the problem. It isn’t the unjust distribution of wealth, it isn’t the exploitation of the worker by the filthy rich, it isn’t unequal schools, it isn’t poverty or any other structural condition. It’s witches. It’s demons. It’s unholiness. It’s impurity. It’s smoke.

It isn’t fixable. The most you can hope for is bottling up that rage and fear in fewer and fewer people. Instead the media stokes those fires. Self-ordained ministers tell people that it’s sin that cause fires and floods and earthquakes and eclipses. Rage freaks like O’Reilly and Limbaugh and the incomparably stupid Hannity tell their listeners that the end times are coming. Politicians like Lindsey Graham shriek that terrorists are coming to kill them while they sleep. These pre-moderns are now in control of both the House and Senate, and the Supreme Court.

I’m thinking about being a bit fearful myself.

Photo by Georges Jansoone under Creative Commons license


–Joe

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Sovereign Collapse

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032613_hands_off_cyprusAs the Republicans feverishly work to eliminate the last bastions of the American People’s investments, their homes, their pensions, their Social Security, Health Security-Medicare and Medicaid, they collude with the Democrats and the Independents to finish the looting.  Take away Social Security and Medicare and people will be forced to survive on what little value is left in the homes and property that has not already been devalued through the corrupt banking and money printing used to prop up the fraud.  So, what’s left? If Europe is a pre-cursor to what’s coming to America, they just outright steal it — all legal and justified.

Democracy Now’s interview with Richard Wolff, “A People’s Revolt in Cyprus: Richard Wolff on Protests Against EU Plan to Seize Bank Savings A People’s Revolt in Cyprus: Richard Wolff on Protests Against EU Plan to Seize Bank Savings” lays out what we can all expect in the near future and what people will need to do to try to protect their investments — MONEY.

–Joe

Protest Are A Waste Of Time

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Glenn Greenwald on the Importance of Protests 

His article posted on Salon.com today, Sunday, October 30, 2011 is here. He answers the driving question:  but what can we do about all of this? He offers a good start:

(1) Ever since I began writing about politics, the most frequently asked question I’ve encountered has been: but what can we do about all of this? The reason I find the Occupy movement to be one of the most important, exciting and inspiring political developments of the last decade is that it provides the definitive answer to that question. Though still in what I hope is its incipient stage, this protest movement proves that citizens of all different backgrounds and even ideologies (though sharing common interests) possess the ability to unite, pose a threat to seemingly invulnerable power factions, and demand change beyond the mere act of voting once every two years — and that they can endure and even grow in the face of abusive police force. Though it has already accomplished substantial good, the protest movement hasn’t yet achieved all of that, but it has provided the template and made manifest the possibility. Read the rest of this entry »

The Truth – MacLeod Cartoon

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Debt Ceiling – the Media Narrative

Want the truth? Well, there it is.

–Joe

Debt Crisis Flimflam

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Day before yesterday, actually Friday, July 22, 2011, I started out listening to Democracy Now. Halfway through the program I listened to an interview with economist Michael Hudson, Pushing Crisis: GOP Cries Wolf on Debt Ceiling in Order to Impose Radical Pro-Rich Agenda.

What caught my attention was this comment by Amy Goodman:

“Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the massive government bailout of the banking industry. On Thursday, the Government Accountability Office issued an audit of the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs. It revealed the Fed provided more than $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses.”

This is money the Federal Reserve simply printed then used. If you ever wondered why the dollar doesn’t buy as much as it used to, well – there’s your answer. The more they print the less valuable the dollar becomes. Remember, this is printed money on top of all the other bailout money and wars.

Read the complete interview. He details exactly what is going on with the current “crisis,” the so-called debt war between President Obama and the Republicans – what Obama is REALLY doing and what America and the World can expect. Here’s a taste:

“What’s happening across the world is an attempt by the financial sector to really make its move and say this is their opportunity for a power grab. And they’re creating this artificial crisis as an opportunity to carve up the public domain and to give themselves enough money. They’re taking the money and running, because they know that unemployment is going up. The game is over. They know that. And the only question is, how much can they take, how fast?”

Later that morning is picked up the Times-Standard newspaper and read, this masterful piece of invective written by eight brilliant and undaunted people: Progress or protest? We need to work together to move forward.” Their solution for “working together” will take your breath away. The implementation of the flimflam betrayal Michael Hudson explains is demonstrated locally by these eight individual and their class warfare. Classic sheep in wolves clothing.

To conclude, that afternoon I listened to Barack Obama as he spoke to the White House Press Core as he tried to explain why the talks on the debt crisis broke down. Of course, he accepted NO responsibility for what happened. Later, I listened to Speaker of the House John Boehner explain his conduct. He, however, said something rather interesting. He said Obama would say one thing to the public, but when he was in direct talks did something altogether different, putting Boehner in a difficult position. Since under those conditions he couldn’t negotiate in good-faith he had to accept the reality and act accordingly. Based upon my own life’s experience, I’d say John Boehner is the one most likely speaking the truth.

Amazingly, what Michael Hudson talked about earlier that morning was playing out right before my eyes. There’s a crisis alright, but not the one they want everybody to believe we’re facing.

If Michael Hudson has it right, and I’m inclined to believe he does, then this flimflam is about the Rich Elite’s finalizing their looting. They’re really only just fighting over the scraps.
[Source]

–Joe

Ron Paul on the Deficit

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Anyone interested in another point of view might find this article of interest:

By Pete Kasperowicz – 07/19/11 11:20 AM ET

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on Tuesday predicted that the U.S. would default on its debt.

“When a country is indebted to the degree that we’re indebted, the country always defaults,” the 2012 GOP presidential candidate said on the House floor. “We will default because the debt is unsustainable.”

Paul predicted that the U.S. government would dodge the best solution, which is to impose real spending cuts.

“The reason we don’t cut spending is, one side loves entitlements and one side loves war,” he said.

But he warned against the temptation of simply continuing to send out government checks backed with more borrowed money. He said choosing this course would mean default would come in the form of significant inflation and a further erosion of the dollar.

“If we don’t understand this, this default will not be because we don’t send out the checks,” Paul said. “We will send out the checks. It will be defaulted on because people will get their money back, or they will get their Social Security checks, and it won’t buy anything.”

He warned this is a “much, much worse” solution.

Paul was one of several Republicans who spoke Tuesday morning on the House floor in anticipation of the GOP’s “Cut, Cap and Balance”
bill. Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) was one who spoke in favor of the bill, and said higher spending under the Obama administration was a proven failure.

“The tragic reality is that the president’s big spending policies only made things worse,” Herger said. “Now, with the national debt at crisis levels, he is standing in the way of common sense solutions, offering only lectures, not leadership.

“As a matter of conscience, this Congress cannot support allowing President Obama to continue to steer America’s debt past a point of no return,” he added.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) said Democrats have no plan for handling the debt crisis, citing the Senate’s rejection earlier this year of the Obama administration’s proposed 2012 budget.

“There is no leadership on the part of the Democrats,” she said.

Rep. Mike Quigley (Ill.) was one of the few Democrats who spoke on the debt ceiling Tuesday morning. He argued that Republicans were using the myth of former President Reagan to justify efforts to tie the debt-ceiling increase to spending cuts.

Quigley said that if Reagan could see the current debate, “he’d see his most dedicated followers using his name as justification for saying no to honoring our debts. He’d see his legacy used to play chicken with the world’s greatest economic engine.”

The contents of this site are © 2011 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.

–Joe

Written by Joe Blow

July 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Nothing Is Ever As It Seems

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Nothing Is Ever As It Seems

If you think it is, then think again after you read this article by Gary North, Tricked on the Fourth of July.”

Why the Revolution from England? Certainly NOT for capitalistic profiteering.

Everything Is About Something Different.

[Source]

–Joe

Written by Joe Blow

July 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm

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