REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

"It's Time For The Elites To Rise Up Against The Ignorant Masses"

POSTED BY: SIGNYM
UPDATED: Friday, July 8, 2016 22:59
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Thursday, June 30, 2016 1:29 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Quote:

I was born in 1954, and until now I would have said that the late 1960s was the greatest period of political convulsion I have lived through. Yet for all that the Vietnam War and the civil rights struggle changed American culture and reshaped political parties, in retrospect those wild storms look like the normal oscillations of a relatively stable political system. The present moment is different. Today’s citizen revolt — in the United States, Britain, and Europe — may upend politics as nothing else has in my lifetime.

In the late 1960s, elites were in disarray, as they are now — but back then they were fleeing from kids rebelling against their parents’ world; now the elites are fleeing from the parents. Extremism has gone mainstream. One of the most brazen features of the Brexit vote was the utter repudiation of the bankers and economists and Western heads of state who warned voters against the dangers of a split with the European Union. British Prime Minister David Cameron thought that voters would defer to the near-universal opinion of experts; that only shows how utterly he misjudged his own people.

Both the Conservative and the Labour parties in Britain are now in crisis. The British have had their day of reckoning; the American one looms. If Donald Trump loses, and loses badly (forgive me my reckless optimism, but I believe he will) the Republican Party may endure a historic split between its know-nothing base and its K Street/Chamber of Commerce leadership class. The Socialist government of France may face a similar fiasco in national elections next spring: Polls indicate that President François Hollande would not even make it to the final round of voting. Right-wing parties all over Europe are clamoring for an exit vote of their own.

Yes, it’s possible that all the political pieces will fly up into the air and settle down more or less where they were before, but the Brexit vote shows that shocking change isn’t very shocking anymore. Where, then, could those pieces end up? Europe is already pointing in one direction. In much of Europe, far-right nativist parties lead in the polls. So far, none has mustered a majority, though last month Norbert Hofer, the leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, which traffics in Nazi symbolism, came within a hair of winning election as president. Mainstream parties of the left and right may increasingly combine forces to keep out the nationalists. This has already happened in Sweden, where a right-of-center party serves as the minority partner to the left-of-center government. If the Socialists in France do in fact lose the first round, they will almost certainly support the conservative Republicans against the far-right National Front.

Perhaps these informal coalitions can survive until the fever breaks. But the imperative of cohabitation could also lead to genuine realignment. That is, chunks of parties from the left and right of center could break away to form a different kind of center, defending pragmatism, meliorism, technical knowledge, and effective governance against the ideological forces gathering on both sides. It’s not hard to imagine the Republican Party in the United States — and perhaps the British Conservatives should Brexit go terribly wrong — losing control of the angry, nationalist rank and file and reconstituting themselves as the kind of Main Street, pro-business parties they were a generation ago, before their ideological zeal led them into a blind alley. That may be their only alternative to irrelevance.

The issue, at bottom, is globalization. Brexit, Trump, the National Front, and so on show that political elites have misjudged the depth of the anger at global forces and thus the demand that someone, somehow, restore the status quo ante. It may seem strange that the reaction has come today rather than immediately after the economic crisis of 2008, but the ebbing of the crisis has led to a new sense of stagnation. With prospects of flat growth in Europe and minimal income growth in the United States, voters are rebelling against their dismal long-term prospects. And globalization means culture as well as economics: Older people whose familiar world is vanishing beneath a welter of foreign tongues and multicultural celebrations are waving their fists at cosmopolitan elites. I was recently in Poland, where a far-right party appealing to nationalism and tradition has gained power despite years of undeniable prosperity under a centrist regime. Supporters use the same words again and again to explain their vote: “values and tradition.” They voted for Polishness against the modernity of Western Europe.

Perhaps politics will realign itself around the axis of globalization, with the fist-shakers on one side and the pragmatists on the other. The nationalists would win the loyalty of working-class and middle-class whites who see themselves as the defenders of sovereignty. The reformed center would include the beneficiaries of globalization and the poor and non-white and marginal citizens who recognize that the celebration of national identity excludes them.

Of course, mainstream parties of both the left and the right are trying to reach the angry nationalists. Sometimes this takes the form of gross truckling, as when Nicolas Sarkozy, who is seeking to regain France’s presidency, denounces the “tyranny of minorities” and invokes the “forever France” of an all-white past. From the left, Hillary Clinton has jettisoned her free-trade past to appeal to union members and others who want to protect national borders against the global market. But left and right disagree so deeply about how best to cushion the effects of globalization, and how to deal with the vast influx of refugees and migrants, that even the threat of extremism may not be enough to bring them to make common cause.

The schism we see opening before us is not just about policies, but about reality. The Brexit forces won because cynical leaders were prepared to cater to voters’ paranoia, lying to them about the dangers of immigration and the costs of membership in the EU. Some of those leaders have already begun to admit that they were lying. Donald Trump has, of course, set a new standard for disingenuousness and catering to voters’ fears, whether over immigration or foreign trade or anything else he can think of. The Republican Party, already rife with science-deniers and economic reality-deniers, has thrown itself into the embrace of a man who fabricates realities that ignorant people like to inhabit.

Did I say “ignorant”? Yes, I did. It is necessary to say that people are deluded and that the task of leadership is to un-delude them.

Is that “elitist”? Maybe it is; maybe we have become so inclined to celebrate the authenticity of all personal conviction that it is now elitist to believe in reason, expertise, and the lessons of history. If so, the party of accepting reality must be prepared to take on the party of denying reality, and its enablers among those who know better. If that is the coming realignment, we should embrace it.


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Thursday, June 30, 2016 1:47 AM

THGRRI


Hey SIG, you forgot to source where you got the title of this thread and who's work you cut and pasted here.


You Have Angered Your Ethical & Intellectual Superiors....

Discussion in 'The Pavilion' started by il ragno, Yesterday at 10:44 AM.

il ragno

When you have to shoot, shoot! - don't talk.

Member Since:May 28, 2010 Message Count:4,468 Reputation: 81,951,678 Ratings Received:+7,038 / 29 / -84

.....and now you must pay. No - no pleading!.....it's far too late for that, you crucifix-clutching human garbage.

It’s Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses
The Brexit has laid bare the political schism of our time. It’s not about the left vs. the right; it’s about the sane vs. the mindlessly angry.

BY JAMES TRAUB
JUNE 28, 2016

http://thebeerbarrel.net/threads/you-have-angered-your-ethical-intelle
ctual-superiors.36391
/


____________________________________________


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Thursday, June 30, 2016 6:01 AM

REAVERFAN


Oh dear.

Quite an interesting site, though. I didn't know there were so many racist sites.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 7:06 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Quote:

Originally posted by G:
I notice you dropped your Trump signature - et tu Siggy?



Good lord. I noticed, as you apparently didn't, that the signature is dropped from the first post. It's just something Haken's software does.

Quote:

Hey SIG, you forgot to source where you got the title of this thread and who's work you cut and pasted here.- THUGR


Is THAT all you both can do is follow me from thread to thread just to troll me?

The article is from Foreign Policy magazine. I had a link posted, but when I tried following it I noticed that it comes up with its "you have to subscribe to read the rest of the article" notice after the first three lines. I have a subscription, you probably don't, so it was just a pointless, frustrating link. If you want to see the original, you'll just have to to to FP and subscribe. The secondary link was to ZeroHedge. Here it is. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-06-29/elites-called-arms-its-time-r
ise-against-ignorant-masses
You'll just have to put up with the ZH commentary.



I would have thought .... since they are talking about you and me in such derogatory terms .... you would have had more to say than about my citations and signature. Doods, this is what the elite's intellectual butlers think of you and me.




--------------
I'll tell you what I DON'T like about Trump: I think that he has never confronted either the international banking cartel, nor the CIA-State Dept multi-headed hydra, nor the military-industrial complex. The last person to confront them was JFK (BTW, ALL immigration was illegal under JFK) and look what happened to him.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 1:15 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at https://www.mediafire.com/two


Speaking in Canada, Obama defends his economic vision against Trump, Ryan, and Bernie
www.vox.com/2016/6/30/12064918/obama-canadian-parliament-speech-text

Barack Obama delivered a massive dose of redistribution in the form of the Affordable Care Act, paired later with some important changes to the tax code.

But those ideas have only very partially reversed the generation-long rise in inequality that preceded them, and there’s little sign that they’ve broken the trend. What would be needed to get the job done is not one more legislative initiative but a consistently engaged governing majority committed to making it happen. Obama doesn’t have that. And even though his designated successor Hillary Clinton has plenty of policy ideas that would contribute to this vision, there’s little chance she’ll have the votes in Congress to make it happen.

The risk for Obama-style politics in the United States is that people will see that and blame Democrats for failing to deliver on their egalitarian promises rather than blame Republicans for blocking their egalitarian initiatives. This is where a country like Canada, whose more majoritarian institutions have already allowed Trudeau to enact a big progressive tax shift plus a generous new cash benefit for parents and children comes into play.

Progressive internationalists in America are going to need examples to point to of places that have put their governing agenda into practice to sustain faith that the kind of vision Obama points to is more than a mirage. Previous generations of American liberals often looked to European welfare states for inspiration, but European social democracy is in a state of semi-permanent chaos induced by its inability to offer an EU-level governing agenda. Canada in this sense, though a small country, becomes a potent example — just as Sweden and Denmark have been in the past — for politicians in bigger countries looking for inspiration.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 2:13 PM

THGRRI


Quote:

Originally posted by SIGNYM:


I would have thought .... since they are talking about you and me in such derogatory terms .... you would have had more to say than about my citations and signature. Doods, this is what the elite's intellectual butlers think of you and me.




No SIG I don't respond the way you want me to when you are posting things because you are trolling. I would never even consider such shit as news worthy and worth posting in these threads. But then again I'm not a troll.

An internet 'troll' is an abusive or obnoxious user who lives to get a rise out of others online. Trolls use shock value to promote arguments in web like photos SIG and by creating threads like this.

____________________________________________


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Saturday, July 2, 2016 7:36 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


OK, since I've been pretty busy ... I didn't post the original article because it was a one-off commentary but because there's been a relative uproar from think-tanks and pundits making the same point: we suffer from "too much democracy".

Instead of me hunting down and linking every article I've seen so far, this particular one by Matt Taibbi manages to cite a few of them.

In Response to Trump, Another Dangerous Movement Appears
The "too much democracy" train rolls on.

Quote:

Last week's Brexit vote prompted pundits and social media mavens to wonder aloud if allowing dumb people to vote is a good thing.

In "How American Politics Went Insane," Brookings Institute Fellow Jonathan Rauch spends many thousands of words arguing for the reinvigoration of political machines, as a means of keeping the ape-citizen further from power.

He portrays the public as a gang of nihilistic loonies determined to play mailbox baseball with the gears of state.

"Neurotic hatred of the political class is the country's last universally acceptable form of bigotry," he writes, before concluding:

"Our most pressing political problem today is that the country abandoned the establishment, not the other way around."

Rauch's audacious piece, much like Andrew Sullivan's clarion call for a less-democratic future in New York magazine ("Democracies end when they are too democratic"), is not merely a warning about the threat posed to civilization by demagogues like Donald Trump.

It's a sweeping argument against a whole host of democratic initiatives, from increased transparency to reducing money in politics to the phasing out of bagmen and ward-heelers at the local level. These things have all destabilized America, Rauch insists. It's a piece that praises Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall (it was good for the Irish!), the smoke-filled room (good for "brokering complex compromises"), and pork (it helps "glue Congress together" by giving members "a kind of currency to trade").

Rauch even chokes multiple times on the word "corruption," seeming reluctant to even mention the concept without shrouding it in flurries of caveats. When he talks about the "ever-present potential for corruption" that political middlemen pose, he's quick to note the converse also applies (emphasis mine):
"Overreacting to the threat of corruption… is just as harmful. Political contributions, for example, look unseemly, but they play a vital role as political bonding agents."

The basic thrust is that shadowy back-room mechanisms, which Rauch absurdly describes as being relics of a lost era, have a positive role and must be brought back. He argues back-room relationships and payoffs at least committed the actors involved to action. Meanwhile, all the transparency and sunshine and access the public is always begging for leads mainly to gridlock and frustration.


... Rauch compares "outsiders" and "amateurs" to viruses that get into the body, and describes the institutions that failed to prevent the likes of Trump from being nominated as being like the national immune system. Revolt against party insiders is therefore comparable to "abusing and attacking your own immune system."

This lurid metaphor is going to be compelling to a lot of people when Donald Trump is still moving in the direction of the nuclear football. But these "too much democracy" critics all leave out a key part of the story: It's all bull.

Voters in America not only aren't over-empowered, they've for decades now been almost totally disenfranchised, subjects of one of the more brilliant change-suppressing systems ever invented.

We have periodic elections, which leave citizens with the feeling of self-rule. But in reality people are only allowed to choose between candidates carefully screened by wealthy donors. Nobody without a billion dollars and the approval of a half-dozen giant media companies has any chance at high office.

People have no other source of influence. Unions have been crushed. Nobody has any job security. Main Street institutions that once allowed people to walk down the road to sort things out with other human beings have been phased out. In their place now rest distant, unfeeling global bureaucracies.

Has a health insurance company wrongly denied your sick child coverage? Good luck even getting someone on the phone to talk it over, much less get it sorted out. Your neighborhood bank, once a relatively autonomous mechanism for stimulating the local economy, is now a glorified ATM machine with limited ability to respond to a community's most basic financial concerns.

One of the underpublicized revelations of the financial crisis, for instance, was that millions of Americans found themselves unable to get answers to a simple questions like, "Who holds the note to my house?"

People want more power over their own lives. They want to feel some connection to society. Most particularly, they don't want to be dictated to by distant bureaucrats who don't seem to care what they're going through, and think they know what's best for everyone.

These are legitimate concerns. Unfortunately, they came out in this past year in the campaign of Donald Trump, who'd exposed a tiny flaw in the system.

People are still free to vote, and some peculiarities in the structure of the commercial media, combined with mountains of public anger, conspired to put one of the two parties in the hands of a coverage-devouring billionaire running on a "Purge the Scum" platform.

But choosing a dangerous race-baiting lunatic as the vehicle for the first successful revolt in ages against one of the two major parties will have many profound negative consequences for voters. The most serious will surely be this burgeoning movement to describe voting and democracy as inherently dangerous.

Donald Trump is dangerous because as president, he'd likely have little respect for law. But a gang of people whose metaphor for society is "We are the white cells, voters are the disease" is comparably scary in its own banal, less click-generating way.

These self-congratulating cognoscenti could have looked at the events of the last year and wondered why people were so angry with them, and what they could do to make government work better for the population.

Instead, their first instinct is to dismiss voter concerns as baseless, neurotic bigotry and to assume that the solution is to give Washington bureaucrats even more leeway to blow off the public. In the absurdist comedy that is American political life, this is the ultimate anti-solution to the unrest of the last year, the mathematically perfect wrong ending.

Trump is going to lose this election, then live on as the reason for an emboldened, even less-responsive oligarchy. And you thought this election season couldn't get any worse.



http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/in-response-to-trump-another
-dangerous-movement-appears-20160630


--------------
I'll tell you what I DON'T like about Trump: I think that he has never confronted either the international banking cartel, nor the CIA-State Dept multi-headed hydra, nor the military-industrial complex. The last person to confront them was JFK (BTW, ALL immigration was illegal under JFK) and look what happened to him.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016 8:01 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Originally posted by SECOND in the STARVATION thread

http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?bid=18&tid=60628&p=4

Intellectuals have ushered the world into a dangerous age of political nihilism
http://qz.com/721914/intellectuals-have-ushered-the-world-into-a-dange
rous-age-of-political-nihilism/

Written by Lisandro Claudio
July 01, 2016

Quote:

On the surface, it would seem that intellectuals have nothing to do with the rise of global illiberalism. The movements powering Brexit, Donald Trump and Third-World strongmen like Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte all gleefully reject books, history and higher education in favor of railing against common enemies like outsiders and globalization.


The movements powering Brexit and Trump do NOT reject higher education. They DO reject globalism.

Quote:

And you’ll find few Trump supporters among the largely left-wing American professoriate.

Yet intellectuals are accountable for the rise of these movements—albeit indirectly. Professors have offered stringent criticisms of neoliberal society. But they have failed to offer the public viable alternatives.

That's because their bread is buttered by the neoliberal establishment.

Quote:

In this way, they have promoted a political nihilism that has set the stage for new movements that reject liberal democratic principles of tolerance and institutional reform.

Intellectuals have a long history of critiquing liberalism, which relies on a “philosophy of individual rights and (relatively) free markets.” Beginning in the 19th century, according to historian Francois Furet, left-wing thinkers began to arrive at a consensus “that modern liberal democracy was threatening society with dissolution because it atomized individuals, made them indifferent to public interest, weakened authority, and encouraged class hatred.”

For most of the 20th century, anti-liberal intellectuals were able to come up with alternatives. Jean-Paul Sartre famously defended the Soviet Union even when it became clear that Joseph Stalin was a mass murderer. French, American, Indian, and Filipino university radicals were hopelessly enamored of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in the 1970s.

The collapse of Communism changed all this. Some leftist intellectuals began to find hope in small revolutionary guerrillas in the Third World, like Mexico’s Subcomandante Marcos. Others fell back on pure critique.

Academics are now mostly gadflies who rarely offer strategies for political change. Those who do forward alternatives propose ones so vague or divorced from reality that they might as well be proposing nothing. (The Duke University professor of romance studies Michael Hardt, for example, thinks the evils of modern globalization are so pernicious that only worldwide love is the answer.)

Such thinking promotes political hopelessness. It rejects gradual change as cosmetic, while patronizing those who think otherwise.

So far, the only "change" that has been going on in the west has been a change towards further and further globalism. The Obama administration, for example, has not reversed globalism in the least.

Quote:

This nihilism easily spreads from the classroom and academic journals to op-ed pages to Zuccotti Park, and eventually to the public at large.

For academic nihilists, the shorthand for the world’s evils is “neoliberalism.” The term is used to refer to a free market ideology that forced globalization on people by reducing the power of governments. The more the term is used, however, the more it becomes a vague designation for all global drudgery.

Democratic politics in the age of neoliberalism, according to Harvard anthropologists Jean and John Comaroff, is “something of a pyramid scheme: the more it is indulged, the more it is required.” They argue that our belief that we can use laws and constitutional processes to defend our rights is a form of “fetishism” that is ultimately “chimerical.”

For the University of Chicago literary theorist Lauren Berlant, the democratic pursuit of happiness amid neoliberalism is nothing but “cruel optimism.” The materialist things that people desire are “actually an obstacle to your flourishing,” she writes.

According to this logic, we are trapped by our own ideologies. It is this logic that allows left-wing thinkers to implicitly side with British nativists in their condemnation of the EU. The radical website Counterpunch, for example, describes the EU as a “neoliberal prison.” It also views liberals seeking to reform the EU as “coopted by the right wing and its goals—from the subversion of progressive economic ideals to neoliberalism, to the enthusiastic embrace of neoconservative doctrine.”

This author is really, really confused. I'll get to that in a moment.

Quote:

Across the Atlantic, Trump supporters are singing a similar tune. Speaking to a black, gay, college-educated Trump supporter, Samantha Bee was told: “We’ve had these disasters in neoconservatism and neoliberalism and I think that he [Trump] is an alternative to both those paths.”

The academic nihilists and the Trumpists are in agreement about a key issue: The system is fundamentally broken, and liberals who believe in working patiently toward change are weak.

Since about 1976, when Jimmy Carter started funding "freedom fighters" (i.e. jihadists) in Afghanistan, the west has taken a turn for the worse. And all of that "working patiently toward change" has gotten absolutely NOWHERE. The establishment took one look at the antiwar movement of the late '60s and said "NO MORE" and there has been no more experimentation with new thought, just a relentless push for mindless consumerism, rampant militarism (looking at you, Hillary!) indebtedness, and slavery to the global system. In the face of that, liberals keep repeating the same motions over and over, hoping for something different to happen. You DO realize the definition of insanity, do you not?

Quote:

For the Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos, “indifference” is the “the hallmark of political liberalism.” Since liberals balance different interests and rights, Santos writes, they have no permanent friends or foes. He proposes that the world needs to “revive the friend/foe dichotomy.” And in a profane way, it has: modern political movements pit Americans against Muslims, Britain against Europe, a dictatorial government against criminals.

Unfortunately, academic anti-liberalism is not confined to the West. The Cornell political scientist Benedict Anderson once described liberal democracy in the Philippines as a “Cacique Democracy,” dominated by feudal landlords and capitalist families. In this system, meaningful reform is difficult, since the country’s political system is like a “well-run casino,” where tables are rigged in favor of oligarch bosses. Having a nihilist streak myself, I once echoed Anderson when I chastised Filipino nationalists for projecting “hope onto spaces within an elite democracy.” Like Anderson, I offered no alternative.

The alternative arrived recently in the guise of the Duterte, the new president of the Philippines. Like Anderson and me, Duterte complained about the impossibility of real change in a democracy dominated by elites and oligarchs. But unlike us, he proposed a way out: a strong political leader who was willing to kill to save the country from criminals and corrupt politicians.

The spread of global illiberalism is unlikely to end soon. As this crisis unfolds, we will need intellectuals who use their intellects for more than simple negation—professors like the late New York University historian Tony Judt, who argued that European-style social democracy could save global democracy. Failing that, we need academics who acknowledge that liberal democracy, though slow and imperfect, enables a bare minimum of tolerance in a world beset by xenophobia and hatred. For although academics have the luxury of imagining a completely different world, the rest of us have to figure out what to do with the one we have.



Oh my god, where to begin???

First of all, let's get down to reality, shall we?

The author clearly thinks, or would like to believe, that "intellectuals" drive public discourse and public reaction. The reality is that people are flailing about because their prospects are getting meaner, smaller, and less empowered - not because intellectuals are yammering at them from the sidelines.

Secondly, in an article which castigates intellectuals for nihilism and for failing to offer a viable alternative, the author writes a nihilistic article which fails to offer a viable alternative. At what point should I take this self-canceling article seriously?

And all of this ant-like chipping-away at trying to ameliorate unfolding catastrophes is exactly where TPTB want you: Ant-like.

Now, let me say that I still recycle, I save water, I work for an environmental agency, and I vote. But I have NO ILLUSIONS that this chipping-away is going to lead to necessary fundamental change. As an article once said

Hitler would not have been stopped by dumpster-diving.

Are we taking the easy route? Dumpster diving wouldn't have stopped Hitler, and composting wouldn't have ended slavery.
http://www.alternet.org/story/141260/taking_shorter_showers_doesn'
t_cut_it%3A_why_personal_change_does_not_equal_political_change




You should read it.

--------------
I'll tell you what I DON'T like about Trump: I think that he has never confronted either the international banking cartel, nor the CIA-State Dept multi-headed hydra, nor the military-industrial complex. The last person to confront them was JFK (BTW, ALL immigration was illegal under JFK) and look what happened to him.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016 10:15 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at https://www.mediafire.com/two


Quote:

Originally posted by SIGNYM:

Oh my god, where to begin???

The reality is that people are flailing about because their prospects are getting meaner, smaller, and less empowered - not because intellectuals are yammering at them from the sidelines.

www.alternet.org/story/141260/taking_shorter_showers_doesn't_cut_i
t%3A_why_personal_change_does_not_equal_political_change

You got that right about people flailing about: When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Panic

You are also right about people thinking too small, the small kind of thinking that they can fix their lives by recycling and vegetarianism and high efficiency light bulbs.

How did the world get into this mess? It is easy to describe what is wrong in four paragraphs. Easy to imagine a fix, too, but difficult to imagine millions of citizens actually stop “flailing about”.
They desire a Superman (Trump perhaps?) to fly in and fix their government for them. They don’t want to expend any effort greater than voting for Superman once every 4 years. And while he is at it, could Superman please build them a new car, a new house, and pay them a salary in gold Superman discovered in the asteroid belt?

I’ll use the USA as my example for what is wrong.

1)
Voters have no incentive to be informed or to process information in a rational way, so they vote their “feelings”. Feelings are so much quicker than reasons. An individual vote makes a difference only when it changes the outcome of an election, that is, only if it breaks a tie. The chances that an individual voter will break a tie in a major national election, such as the US presidential election or the Brexit vote, are about the same as her chances of winning Powerball or EuroMillions. No one has a stake in her own individual vote. No voter, old or young, has an incentive to use her vote wisely.

2)
Everybody wants to pay less taxes. Politicians play upon that feeling. When the time comes to actually lower the taxes, the rich who are paying attention to the details are always pushing for a change to their advantage. The poor who don’t pay attention to the details are always completely obvious to changes in the tax code. You think the poor would band together against the rich? Doesn’t happen. So what to do? The poor pick a rich person to champion their cause. Sometimes they pick an FDR who will magnanimously help the poor. Sometimes they pick a Trump, who won’t even publicize any of his income tax returns for any year, no matter how far in the past.

3)
Along with voting and nonvoting citizens’ burning desire to pay less taxes comes another desire: feeling the need to balance the budget. It is not odd that the balance is always shifting in favor of the people who pay attention to where the budget is spent. Those who don’t pay attention get less spent on programs they feel they deserve. Then they run to the rich, a Trump or a Bush, to rebalance in their favor. I’m not surprised when government spending decisions are unbalanced. George Bush’s tax plan was terrible, before he was elected. Trump’s will be terrible. www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/analysis-donald-trumps-tax-plan Do the poor even understand what Trump has planned? No. There are no poor people reading taxes plans. There are many rich people who do read the plans and do understand.

4)
The USA is always at war because most US citizens won’t ever be wounded or killed in those wars. They won’t even be asked to fight in a war. Today there are very few US citizens who publicly protest war, unlike back during in the Vietnam War, because there are no burdens on them from wars, except for taxes. The extra tax burden is easily finessed. Citizens feel “defense” spending is good for their safety and the economy. Citizens never need proof validating their “feelings”. They “know” war makes them safe. There is an article about how the USA went from being extremely reluctant to declare war to eternally belligerent: www.dissentmagazine.org/article/war-without-politics-draft-drones-aumf

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Saturday, July 2, 2016 11:28 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Quote:

You are also right about people thinking too small, the small kind of thinking that they can fix their lives by recycling and vegetarianism and high efficiency light bulbs.- SECOND
Alas, yes. Oh, btw- my comparison to ants was an insult to ants everywhere. Ants work individually AND they help each other, but although each action is small they work with a common purpose. We, on the other hand, are like emergency-confronted ants where SOME of us are busy carrying off eggs ... in different direction, some of us are busy eating manically, some of us are frantically building more nest, some of us are looking for invaders to fight, some of us are fighting each other, some of us are running away, and some of us go on as usual. Lack of common purpose is out problem.

Quote:

How did the world get into this mess? It is easy to describe what is wrong in four paragraphs. Easy to imagine a fix, too, but difficult to imagine millions of citizens actually stop “flailing about”.
They desire a Superman (Trump perhaps?) to fly in and fix their government for them. They don’t want to expend any effort greater than voting for Superman once every 4 years. And while he is at it, could Superman please build them a new car, a new house, and pay them a salary in gold Superman discovered in the asteroid belt?

As a sideways thought: Focus on a hero seems to be embedded in western culture since the Greeks. I believe the word "hero" is of Greek origin, no? But altho the concept does trace back thousands of years, I'm not sure its universal. Do heroes figure prominently in ancient Asian, African, or American stories? Point being, I'm not sure if this is a "human" trait or a cultural one.

Quote:

I’ll use the USA as my example for what is wrong.

1) Voters have no incentive to be informed or to process information in a rational way, so they vote their “feelings”. Feelings are so much quicker than reasons. An individual vote makes a difference only when it changes the outcome of an election, that is, only if it breaks a tie. The chances that an individual voter will break a tie in a major national election, such as the US presidential election or the Brexit vote, are about the same as her chances of winning Powerball or EuroMillions. No one has a stake in her own individual vote. No voter, old or young, has an incentive to use her vote wisely.

You make two arguments here. One is that people feel that their vote doesn't make any difference, and the other is that (as a result?) people feel free to vote their irrational feelings.

The first problem (My vote doesn't count) results from TWO processes:

1) No matter what people want, whether it is universal healthcare/ public option or torpedoing NAFTA (which was a big decision in 1996) or jobs, no matter how people vote, they often don't get what the vast majority want. Like the EU, decisions are made otherwise and elsewhere. They have a true perception: THEIR VOTE DOESN'T COUNT.

2) There is a fairly impersonal problem of the decision-making process: single person such as the President or corporate CEO, will make much faster and more extreme decisions, and carry them out more thoroughly, than any deliberative body or electorate. That is why so many people focus on the President and not on their Congresspeople.

The second problem - voting irrational emotions- is a result of people being deliberately dumbed down by the system. ALL systems do that, whether it was the Mayan empire or the Chinese Middle Kingdom or the British empire or the Catholic Church or any other belief system. People need to be educated into thinking about things rationally, but now - in the days of endless media stream with people plugged in 24/7- people are more brainwashed than ever. It's a result of not facing either positive results or negative consequences as a result of their vote. Since their vote is usually disconnected from decision-making, it becomes impossible to learn from experience.

Direct democracy might get around these problems.

Quote:

2) Everybody wants to pay less taxes. Politicians play upon that feeling. When the time comes to actually lower the taxes, the rich who are paying attention to the details are always pushing for a change to their advantage. The poor who don’t pay attention to the details are always completely obvious to changes in the tax code. You think the poor would band together against the rich? Doesn’t happen. So what to do? The poor pick a rich person to champion their cause. Sometimes they pick an FDR who will magnanimously help the poor. Sometimes they pick a Trump, who won’t even publicize any of his income tax returns for any year, no matter how far in the past.
Not everybody wants to pay less taxes. Most people happily pay into Social Security and Medicare because it will get them benefits later. Citizens here have voted in several tax increases in order to support specific purposes. This whole "anti-tax" movement is just one example in a plethora of examples of how people have been propagandized against their own interests, but as hard as the right wing has thumped it, it's had an uneven acceptance.

Quote:

3) Along with voting and nonvoting citizens’ burning desire to pay less taxes comes another desire: feeling the need to balance the budget. It is not odd that the balance is always shifting in favor of the people who pay attention to where the budget is spent. Those who don’t pay attention get less spent on programs they feel they deserve. Then they run to the rich, a Trump or a Bush, to rebalance in their favor. I’m not surprised when government spending decisions are unbalanced. George Bush’s tax plan was terrible, before he was elected. Trump’s will be terrible. www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/analysis-donald-trumps-tax-plan Do the poor even understand what Trump has planned? No. There are no poor people reading taxes plans. There are many rich people who do read the plans and do understand.
Again, I don't see a burning desire on the part of most people to "balance the budget". Heck, they don't even balance their own budgets, and they have no idea about banks balancing THEIR budgets! Now, personally, I don't think it's wise to base an entire financial system on a mountain of non-performing loans, but I'm pretty sure most people would disagree with me on the issue of "non-fractional reserve banking". The concept of balancing the budget is only skin deep.

But as a form of direct democracy, I've wondered what would happen if we could, on our tax forms, allocate where we wanted our taxes to go.

The concept of legislatures was developed partly because of the difficulty in communicating with every citizen. Well, we have that facility now.

Quote:

4) The USA is always at war because most US citizens won’t ever be wounded or killed in those wars. They won’t even be asked to fight in a war. Today there are very few US citizens who publicly protest war, unlike back during in the Vietnam War, because there are no burdens on them from wars, except for taxes. The extra tax burden is easily finessed. Citizens feel “defense” spending is good for their safety and the economy. Citizens never need proof validating their “feelings”. They “know” war makes them safe. There is an article about how the USA went from being extremely reluctant to declare war to eternally belligerent: www.dissentmagazine.org/article/war-without-politics-draft-drones-aumf
The USA is always at war because TPTB want it that way. Americans have to be stampeded with endless scare stories about nonexistent WMD or fake massacres before they become engaged, and EVEN THEN there are people who object. There was in fact a fairly robust anti-war movement, and demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq. But like the Occupy movement, TPTB simply don't pay attention to demonstrations anymore, they just roll over them and go on with their plans.

--------------
I think it's time you disabused yourself of that pleasant little fairy tale about our fearless leaders being some sort of surrogate daddy or mommy, laying awake at night thinking about how to protect the kids. HA! In reality, they're thinking about who to sell them to so that can get a few more shekels in their pockets.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016 12:40 PM

REAVERFAN


I'm one of those people mentioned, too. I recycle, use efficient bulbs, went vegan, vote in everything, etc. Perhaps if everyone did the same, there would be some positive effects. I'm one of those rare people who actually cares about the future. Most people, rich and poor, don't want to think about it.

But, as was also mentioned, without a bigger plan, those things wouldn't be enough. As Steven Hawking recently pointed out, we're too greedy and stupid to unite and do what's necessary to save what little is still salvageable. http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/nation-now/2016/06/28/stephen-hawki
ng-humankind-still-greedy-stupid-greatest-threat-earth/86459578
/

With climate change and the concomitant losses of half our species in just the last 40 years, it seems doubtful that we could turn it around even if all the world suddenly united to change how we do everything in a cleaner, more sustainable way. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_b
iodiversity/extinction_crisis
/

As we continue crowding out and polluting what's left of the natural world, we'll arrive at the point where we'll simply collapse as a species. Our way of life is unsustainable, and no one seems to care, or want to do the things that could save it. We just keep breeding.

It's business as usual, with alternative ideas and energy sources actively suppressed, especially here in the US. We should be putting up solar panels, not fracking what's left of our dwindling fresh water into a toxic, radioactive soup.

But, that doesn't line the right pockets. We have a choice of Hillary or Trump for president, both of whom make me want to heave. Our choices are a warmongering oligarch or a narcissistic fascist. Yippee.

My nihilism is peaking lately, seeing the absurd clown show that is our politics, and the wanton corruption that is our business. Change is impossible, so a massive die-off is inevitable. Glad I never had kids. I'd hate to leave them with this mess.














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Saturday, July 2, 2016 3:42 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


I might choose the narcissistic fascist because I'm pretty sure he'll remain our national problem. And I suspect tptb won't let him get too far off the plan. He may even be assassinated by a lone gunman.

The warmongering oligarch I'm confident will be a global problem, maybe even a global radioactive one.




Let me just point out that the author left out vital relevant facts in the opinion piece. Doing that is known as cherry-picking. And whether you do that in the news, in discussion, in debate or in opinion, when you distort the facts, you've changed the nature of your communication into propaganda. But WE don't have any of THAT in the US, do we?!

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Monday, July 4, 2016 1:31 AM

SHINYGOODGUY


Ah, plagiarism..............it rears it's ugly head.


SGG


Quote:

Originally posted by THGRRI:
Hey SIG, you forgot to source where you got the title of this thread and who's work you cut and pasted here.


You Have Angered Your Ethical & Intellectual Superiors....

Discussion in 'The Pavilion' started by il ragno, Yesterday at 10:44 AM.

il ragno

When you have to shoot, shoot! - don't talk.

Member Since:May 28, 2010 Message Count:4,468 Reputation: 81,951,678 Ratings Received:+7,038 / 29 / -84

.....and now you must pay. No - no pleading!.....it's far too late for that, you crucifix-clutching human garbage.

It’s Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses
The Brexit has laid bare the political schism of our time. It’s not about the left vs. the right; it’s about the sane vs. the mindlessly angry.

BY JAMES TRAUB
JUNE 28, 2016

http://thebeerbarrel.net/threads/you-have-angered-your-ethical-intelle
ctual-superiors.36391
/


____________________________________________



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Monday, July 4, 2016 8:41 AM

REAVERFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by G:
Quote:

Originally posted by 1kiki:
The warmongering oligarch I'm confident will be a global problem, maybe even a global radioactive one.



Putin?

Hillary, of course.

Look at the "Arab Spring," a CIA-backed bid for anarchy that has resulted in millions killed and displaced. She loved it. She laughed about Gadaffi, ignoring the massive suffering and turmoil she caused. She's a neocon, not a liberal.
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/10/middle-east-e
gypt-us-policy/409537
/

65 million people have been displaced, largely due to her wars. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54269#.V3pY-bgrLcs

Then there's her little coup in Honduras, which has resulted in death and chaos not seen since Reagan was enjoying his little genocides in Central America.
http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/13/shes_baldly_lying_dana_frank_res
ponds


The woman is a walking war machine, and I predict she will manufacture a pretext for war with Iran, just like Bush did for Iraq.

SSDD

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Monday, July 4, 2016 9:15 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at https://www.mediafire.com/two


Quote:

Originally posted by SIGNYM:
The USA is always at war because TPTB want it that way. Americans have to be stampeded with endless scare stories about nonexistent WMD or fake massacres before they become engaged, and EVEN THEN there are people who object. There was in fact a fairly robust anti-war movement, and demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq. But like the Occupy movement, TPTB simply don't pay attention to demonstrations anymore, they just roll over them and go on with their plans.

A million people demonstrating against war will change nothing. It is not the fault of TPTB that the deep desires of a million anti-war protesters are ignored. It is the fault of the tens of millions that voted for this particular TPTB.

The Powers that Be (TPTB) wouldn’t be in power if The People would stop using their feelings to decide who should be in power. For example, the villainous Nixon and Bush were elected a second time. I ask who gave these bad men power again and again? Their first term was plenty of warning about what these Presidents would do during their next term. But before they were even elected the first time these men had a history that should have warned anybody. These two guys, temporarily at the head of TPTB, produced catastrophes that could have been easily avoided. Now we have two more sadly inadequate Presidential candidates chosen during the Primaries by The People. When the future once more goes sadly wrong, The People will be at fault for raising Hillary or Trump to be the next figurehead/leader of TPTB. But The People really don’t want to think about the Big Choices, do they? Most People didn’t vote in the Primaries because they were too wrapped up in their little tiny lives to think about Big Important Decisions that will change their little tiny lives forever.

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Monday, July 4, 2016 10:22 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


SECOND, I find you inadequately cynical about our situation!

Quote:

The USA is always at war because TPTB want it that way. Americans have to be stampeded with endless scare stories about nonexistent WMD or fake massacres before they become engaged, and EVEN THEN there are people who object. There was in fact a fairly robust anti-war movement, and demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq. But like the Occupy movement, TPTB simply don't pay attention to demonstrations anymore, they just roll over them and go on with their plans. -SIGNY

A million people demonstrating against war will change nothing. It is not the fault of TPTB that the deep desires of a million anti-war protesters are ignored. It is the fault of the tens of millions that voted for this particular TPTB - SECOND



Office-holders are mere underlings to the real PTB: the George Soros' and LLoyd Blankfeins and Laurent Gagnebins and King Salmans of the world. Now, TPTB don't give a rat's ass whether Hillary or Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio are elected President, as long as the President is sufficiently "read into" their plans for worldwide domination. Hillary is their preferred Dem candidate, Sanders barely budged their alarm needle, but reading the vitriol that they expend on Trump just makes me like Trump more and more.

http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/16/news/economy/goldman-ceo-blankfein-don
ald-trump
/
http://qz.com/656944/jpmorgan-chases-jamie-dimon-delivers-an-epic-take
down-of-donald-trump-without-even-naming-him
/
http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-03-15/soros-alarmed-by
-trump-pours-money-into-2016-race

http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/09/technology/donald-trump-elon-musk-meet
ing
/
http://fortune.com/2016/03/08/aei-world-forum-trump/

Quote:

The Powers that Be (TPTB) wouldn’t be in power if The People would stop using their feelings to decide who should be in power.
One of those "feelings" which TPTB use over and over again to sway the electorate is directed FEAR. How much of a vote for Hillary is based on FEAR?

Quote:

For example, the villainous Nixon and Bush were elected a second time.
BUSH WAS NOT ELECTED. There is undeniable evidence - that the media chooses to ignore and therefore the people forget - of vote counting fraud in FL which led to Bush being SELECTED by the Supreme Court in 2000, and even MORE widespread vote-counting fraud in 2004. And that whole problem of black-box voting STILL hasn't been cleared up, all the way into 2016.
https://electionfraud2016.wordpress.com/tag/vote/

Quote:

I ask who gave these bad men power again and again? Their first term was plenty of warning about what these Presidents would do during their next term. But before they were even elected the first time these men had a history that should have warned anybody. These two guys, temporarily at the head of TPTB, produced catastrophes that could have been easily avoided. Now we have two more sadly inadequate Presidential candidates chosen during the Primaries by The People.


The DNCs shenanigans, and it's state-level party officials, clearly skewed the vote for Hillary. Releasing the "news" that Hillary was the presumptive delegate the day BEFORE the last primaries, Google's attempted skewing of the elections, and black-box voting were the REAL PTB's tactics to make sure that Hillary got her coronation.

Quote:

The California Democratic primary has come and gone, but the mail-in ballots are still being counted. Hillary Clinton was announced the winner over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, but with each new vote tally, her lead diminishes. As of July 2, Clinton’s lead in California has shrunk from 12 percent to just 7.6 percent. In a previous story in The Inquisitr, Bernie had already flipped three counties by June 12.


Quote:

When the future once more goes sadly wrong, The People will be at fault for raising Hillary or Trump to be the next figurehead/leader of TPTB. But The People really don’t want to think about the Big Choices, do they? Most People didn’t vote in the Primaries because they were too wrapped up in their little tiny lives to think about Big Important Decisions that will change their little tiny lives forever.


You know what they say: You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. And when fooling the people doesn't work, there's always vote-rigging!

--------------
I think it's time you disabused yourself of that pleasant little fairy tale about our fearless leaders being some sort of surrogate daddy or mommy, laying awake at night thinking about how to protect the kids. HA! In reality, they're thinking about who to sell them to so that can get a few more shekels in their pockets.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016 6:06 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


MORE ELITIST WHINGING ABOUT "TOO MUCH DEMOCRACY"

Yahoo Finance Editor-In-Chief Is Sad: "We're Suffering The Consequences Of Too Much Democracy"

http://andy-serwer.tumblr.com/post/146947887160/were-suffering-the-con
sequences-of-too-much



--------------
I think it's time you disabused yourself of that pleasant little fairy tale about our fearless leaders being some sort of surrogate daddy or mommy, laying awake at night thinking about how to protect the kids. HA! In reality, they're thinking about who to sell them to so that can get a few more shekels in their pockets.

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Friday, July 8, 2016 10:59 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


That's why the US originally had such ... limited ... democracy.




Let me just point out that the author left out vital relevant facts in the opinion piece. Doing that is known as cherry-picking. And whether you do that in the news, in discussion, in debate or in opinion, when you distort the facts, you've changed the nature of your communication into propaganda. But WE don't have any of THAT in the US, do we?!

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