Spitballing a New Left Politics

I've been somewhat out of pocket the past couple of months, avoiding politics and current events to a great degree. Have had a few changes in my work life as well, which will give me a little more time for my family and my thoughts. I've been doing some reading here at C99 and at a few other places, but mostly stepping back. As a result, I've found my political views evolving somewhat beyond the direction they were taking around the time of the November election. A little slow to the table, but this essay is an attempt to begin sorting my thoughts.

It's clear to most of us that the Democratic party has outlived its usefulness as a vehicle for our political aspirations. The Sanders campaign outed it as primarily a veal pen intended to catch and neuter the left, delivering it to the same oligarchic interests that run the Republican party and the corporate media. I've read some thinking lately that debates the virtues of this politician or that, or the pros and cons of founding a new political party vs. trying once again to reform the Democrats. This all misses the point, as I now see it.

One of my favorite political observations is the famous one from Frederick Douglass:

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.

An essay by the wonderful maggid today, Mom and Dad are getting divorced: A family dynamics analogy, provides another meaty quote, from Slavoj Zizek:

The marriage between democracy and capitalism is over.

Both of these quotes point toward a new direction in politics, it seems to me, away from a focus on electoral results and toward an issues-based, activist political era. The best result of the already-disastrous Trump presidency could be a new era of activism analogous to the 1960's, when millions demonstrated and held their politicians of both parties to account for their actions on the most burning issues of the day, civil rights and the Vietnam war. Today we have no-less burning issues, climate change and economic inequality. Neither political party has any significant interest in addressing either, so the people must make demands. What should those demands be?

Given the scale of our challenges, I'm currently thinking we need two central demands:

1. Removing carbon from the atmosphere.

2. Creating an economy that works for all of us, rather than one that we work for.

To create a carbon-negative human world, we need several uncompromising policies:

  • Phase out the internal combustion engine.
  • Phase out carbon fuels for electricity generation.
  • Reduce beef and other livestock production, focusing on sustainable animal protein sources.
  • Heavily tax fossil fuels commodities.
  • Punitively tax corporations that extract fossil fuels.
  • Invest in reforestation, soil and marine carbon sequestration, and combating desertification.

Reorienting our economy away from predatory capitalism to serving the people is even more complicated, and will be more heavily resisted in the US. I believe the most important steps in beginning this process would be to focus on one issue: a guaranteed living income for all Americans. Economic inequality has produced a profoundly cruel and unjust economy in America, in which some have wealth far in excess of any good it might do for themselves, and most have far too little to see to their needs in anything approaching a humane way. We have chosen to live in this kind of a country; we should strongly advocate a different choice.

A guaranteed annual income would insure food, shelter, health care, educational opportunity, and basic dignity to all. It has been proposed occasionally by Republicans and Democrats in recent decades, but never taken seriously. I believe it should be a bedrock principle for a new leftist politics, a non-negotiable demand.

Other issues which would help reorient our economy in a democratic direction:

  • A guaranteed jobs program for those who can work, with income augmenting the basic income guarantee.
  • A revised income tax exempting the guaranteed income, and starting with a low rate at the 50th income percentile. It should rise first gradually, then very steeply at high incomes, reaching perhaps 90% above $10 million.
  • An annual wealth tax on the order of 1% of in-country or expatriated assets above $10 million, 3% above $100 million, 5% above $1 billion and 8% above $5 billion.
  • Laws and tax policies that promote domestic employment and severely penalize offshoring to reduce labor costs or evade environmental regulation.
  • Revision of corporation law to reorient corporate obligations: highest priorities to avoid adding carbon to the atmosphere or seas, and to bring economic benefit to communities in which they operate. Shareholder value would be statutorily secondary.
  • Medicare for All healthcare program, providing comprehensive health and dental care for all citizens, including elder care expenses.
  • Public financing of daycare, primary and secondary education, and college or technical school. Severe restrictions on for-profit educational alternatives.

Other issues are also vital to a new leftist politics, including public financing of campaigns, nonpartisan redistricting, universal voter registration, expanding anti-discrimination protections, making the criminal justice system accountable, etc. But any new politics must have a clear focus on one or two issues, ideally of greatest importance to young people.

Bernie Sanders' campaign gave us a peek at what might work. His campaign made the perhaps fatal error of joining the Democratic party, which made good tactical sense but was a poor strategic decision. Our new politics must follow the 1960's model, appealing directly to the people without the intermediation of politicians or parties. If we can create a strong movement, the political parties can either come to it or die and be replaced. That question is of secondary importance at this time. How to build the new movement, identifying who's already doing it, helping them build their strength and create interconnections are far more critical for us now.

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Not much original here, but I've put it down to begin organizing my thoughts. Many in this community have thought far more deeply than I have, and I will look forward to your critiques and suggestions.

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WaterLily's picture

@Dallasdoc And thanks for the organized outline. You sense, as many of us do, the current difficulty in herding the cats into a coherent movement. Yours could be the rallying cry we all need.

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sojourns's picture

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"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
John Cage

@sojourns It sort of feels like I'm starting over, as so many of the contributions I've made in the past belong in a political world that feels dead. I don't know what comes next -- don't know if anybody does. But one great thing about this community is that it's interested in thinking and talking about such questions. It's nice to read and write here.

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sojourns's picture

@Dallasdoc A undeniable malaise has cursed the land! The result of untenable people in office. People that should be exiled to some barren isle in a cold climate.

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"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
John Cage

Steven D's picture

@sojourns where Satan is frozen in ice, then yes, you are correct.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

sojourns's picture

@Steven D Now where is my copy of Tchaikovsky's rendering of Dante's Inferno? It has to be here somewhere.

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"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
John Cage

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

we're not facing a policy crisis, no matter how much it seems we are. We're facing a political crisis. I guess I'm going back to your first quotation: Power concedes nothing without a demand. For it to be a demand, rather than a request, there have to be some consequences if the answer is no. @sojourns

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Alligator Ed's picture

@WaterLily @Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal Yesterday, Robert Reich, in the name of MoveOn said that we should pressure spineless Dems (i.e., almost the entire upper echelon) of course by mounting a campaign (please donate, please /s) to tell them to grow a spine. Bull. If the campaign doesn't involve primarying the bastards it will never work. If you wanna get better Dems, throw out the current lot. I don't think that will work but do support anyone willing to make the effort.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Alligator Ed I guess he's running for the office of First Pleader Before the Emperor if the Dems ever win an election again.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@sojourns Frankly, I'd be OK with them just taking their blood money and retiring to some gorgeous tropical island they own, and leaving us to repair their fucking damage.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@sojourns Not that I wouldn't like some just punishment for these bastards, but really, at this point, all I want is for them to get out of my fucking way.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Which would also take them out of their purportedly-feared pitchfork-range. Why the heck don't they go to those 'emergency escape' places in New Zealand now, rather than polishing off the rest of civilization and any chance of planetary life surviving first? Why are they so intent on draining everyone else of every last cent they have, to the point of globally placing everyone's money exclusively in the hands of financial institutions, via a 'cashless society' scheme rendering everyone penniless, starving and helpless at any major power-outage/hack/'lost electronic records' claim by banks/the US-'legalized' bank robbery of their own depositors money if they ever run short by recklessly crashing or whatever, as they're soon expected to do?

How much, I wonder, does it cost to buy into the 'immortality tech' which various billionaires have been suckered into investing in for some time, and which the White House-integrated Google is working on?

Apparently a few of the very wealthiest and would-be very wealthiest do-anything-for-money types want to live forever in the hell-on-Earth they're creating in the process, substituting 'Virtual Reality' for the reality they anyway refuse to accept, and I'm seriously wondering how much this has to do with the current lunacy.

Googled: Billionaires invest immortality research - maybe try it and see what you get?

If possible, these are best read in full at source, should whatever device used be able to manage it.

Please note names and occupations involved and especially the emphasis on surrendering life in order to 'live forever' as a machine/computer program with their characteristics realistically reproduced, apparently under the notion that they themselves will not still die with their bodies, even though a recording of their personalities may continue to play while power lasts.

Obama has suggested that he's interested in joining other politicians from the Bush Admin and elsewhere as a hedge fund manager in Silicone Valley, because this matches his interest in genome research and (magical) science.

But this does nothing to improve human life-spans, rather it's eliminating life to be replaced with 'better-than-life' robots/computers. The ultimate meritocracy, in which life simply does not deserve to exist because robots/computers 'can do anything better than humans can'.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/20/the-immortality-financi...

The Immortality Financiers: The Billionaires Who Want to Live Forever

We all want to live forever, but some of us have the means to actually do something about it. Adam Gollner, author of The Book of Immortality, profiles five billionaires pouring money into longevity research.
Adam Leith Gollner
08.20.13 3:45 AM ET

... To this day, gerontology pitchmen assure us that we’re about to solve aging—an opportunity, they inevitably add, we should seriously consider from a business standpoint. This same narrative keeps repeating itself. ...

... Death isn’t easy to contend with. Imagining that we’ll live forever—whether physically or spiritually—is an elemental solace. No matter how wealthy we may be, we still can’t bribe our way out of dying. But that isn’t stopping the these five ultra-rich immortality financiers.

Larry Ellison

“Death makes me very angry,” admits Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation and the fifth-richest person in the world (his net worth is $43 billion, according to Forbes). ... With that in mind, Ellison has set up a foundation dedicated to ending mortality, or at least to “understanding lifespan development processes and age-related diseases and disabilities.” They spend real money, too: the Ellison Medical Foundation gives out more than $40 million a year. Ellison’s biographer Mark Wilson notes that Ellison sees death as “just another kind of corporate opponent he can outfox.” It’s a Silicon Valley take on The Seventh Seal, with Ellison as the crusading knight and the grim reaper cast as a pasty, wan CEO at a rival software company.

Paul F. Glenn

Santa Barbara–based venture capitalist and investor Paul F. Glenn is the bank account behind a nine-figure endowment that supports laboratory research at institutions like Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, and more. Alongside the five-year, $5 million grants the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research gives out to their consortium of labs, they also regularly award unsolicited $60,000 prizes to individual scientists doing peer-reviewed work that they believe deserve support. ... Alongside his donations to Ivy League institutions, he’s also made contributions to the Methuselah Foundation, whose cofounder Aubrey de Grey claims that “the first person to live to be 1,000 years old is certainly alive today.”

Dmitry Itskov

Thirty-two-year-old Russian multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov started the 2045 Initiative with the goal of helping humans achieve physical immortality within the next three decades. According to his manifesto (at www.2045.com), Itskov’s main aims are “to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality.” For us to evolve into neo-humans, he says we’ll need to give up on biological bodies and make a leap into artificial, machine bodies as soon as possible. Once our minds are backed up in cyberspace, we’ll just download ourselves into bionic avatars whenever we get a hankering for the thrills of materiality. How seriously does he want to become a cyborg? Itskov, a transhumanist, says he is “100 percent certain” that humans will attain immortality by the year 2045.

Peter Thiel

“We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” That’s the motto of Founder’s Fund, the hedge-fund managed by PayPal cofounder and Facebook board member Peter Thiel. The future was supposed to be more tricked-out than this, and well-known libertarian “wackaloon” Thiel wants to use his $1.6 billion to do something about it. He’s throwing his fortune behind a number of obsessions, as The New Yorker reported in their 2011 profile of Thiel. First, he’s against higher education, and his 20 Under 20 fellowships are dedicated to keeping promising youngsters out of universities. Then there’s his support for seasteading communities, floating city-states in international waters, and hence not subject to governmental laws and regulations. Most important, Thiel has invested heavily in enterprises dedicated to physical immortality, such as the SENS Foundation. How successful have his efforts been thus far? After he sank millions into a Silicon Valley nanotechnology start-up called Halcyon Molecular, its founder, William Andregg, told TechCrunch.com he plans to live for “millions, billions, hundreds of billions of years.” Halcyon Molecular quietly went out of business last summer.

Sergey Brin

Of all the moneybags encouraging immortality research, there’s one in particular who has the strongest chance of lending legitimacy to the quest for eternal life: Google cofounder Sergey Brin. While his partner Larry Page has focused more on the business side of things, Brin’s role has been to explore technology opportunities he deems to be “on the cusp of viability.” This means backing everything from synthetic test-tube burgers to prototypes of Google Glass, robotic eyewear permanently synched to the Internet. Under Brin’s aegis, Google has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Singularity University, where executives pay five figures for weeklong seminars about technology’s capacity to solve “humanity’s grand challenges” (including aging and death). Google recently hired the radical futurist Ray Kurzweil to be their director of engineering: he famously claims humans will merge with computers over the next few decades to become immortal superbeings. ...

Why would anyone want to outlive their bodies by nano-teching their brains, experimentally messing with what makes each of us human individuals? Sponsoring the Zombie Revolution for real?

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-12/billionaires-scramble-immortali...

Billionaires Scramble For Immortality (Literally)
by Tyler Durden
Apr 12, 2015

Money can't buy me love... happiness... or class; but, as The Washington Post reports, the billionaire chase for the fountain of youth may just mean that money can buy immortality. For example, "death has never made any sense to me," stated Oracle founder Larry Ellison who has donated more than $430 million to anti-aging research and has proclaimed his wish to live forever. And doctors seem to be a step closer to performing the ultimate breakthrough surgery in anti-aging (nicknamed HEAVEN): transplanting a human head onto another body.

Peter Thiel and the tech titans who founded Google, Facebook, eBay, Napster and Netscape are using their billions to rewrite the nation’s science agenda and transform biomedical research. As The Washington Post reports, their objective is to use the tools of technology — the chips, software programs, algorithms and big data they used in creating an information revolution — to understand and upgrade what they consider to be the most complicated piece of machinery in existence: the human body.

While most are rightly skeptical about achieving immortality; science and technology could help us live longer, to, say, 150 years?

The entrepreneurs are driven by a certitude that rebuilding, regenerating and reprogramming patients’ organs, limbs, cells and DNA will enable people to live longer and better. The work they are funding includes hunting for the secrets of living organisms with insanely long lives, engineering microscopic nanobots that can fix your body from the inside out, figuring out how to reprogram the DNA you were born with, and exploring ways to digitize your brain based on the theory that your mind could live long after your body expires.

“I believe that evolution is a true account of nature,” as Thiel put it. “But I think we should try to escape it or transcend it in our society.”

Oracle founder Larry Ellison has proclaimed his wish to live forever and donated more than $430 million to anti-aging research. “Death has never made any sense to me,” he told his biographer, Mike Wilson. “How can a person be there and then just vanish, just not be there?”

And now, as RT reports, perhaps the ultimate 'fix' for an ailing body is about to come true...

Doctors seem to be a step closer to performing a breakthrough surgery: transplanting a human head onto another body. A Russian man with a rare genetic muscle-wasting disorder has volunteered to be the first to try the procedure.

“I’m very interested in technology, and anything progressive that might change people’s lives for the better,” Valery Spiridonov from the Russian city of Vladimir, told RT. ...

A major problem with their theories is that - as is typical in the branch of the petrochemical/GMO/nanotech industry we term Big Pharma - they prefer to ignore biology. I've heard what we think of as aging described as being the result of insults which the body has been unable to heal - and 'cost-cutting' industrial pollution, inadequate nutrition (such as that supplied by profitable factory-farmed/GMO/petrochemically affected foods, such as with pesticides which prevent the uptake/function of essential dietary minerals) are indeed major impediments to optimized cellular-and-up biological function, to say the least. But these are so profitable to the few - the only thing to do is to ignore reality and create more 'virtual reality' to substitute for real reality and science, the latter involving the study of the former and how it works in reality. What could possibly go wrong?

Another is that these life-despising personalities are to be programmed into theoretically immortal machines forming the Singularity - what could possibly go wrong there, either? I suppose that 1984 wasn't enough of a text for them...

http://www.newsweek.com/2015/03/13/silicon-valley-trying-make-humans-imm...

Tech & Science
Silicon Valley Is Trying to Make Humans Immortal—and Finding Some Success
By Betsy Isaacson

Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, plans to live to be 120. Compared with some other tech billionaires, he doesn’t seem particularly ambitious. Dmitry Itskov, the “godfather” of the Russian Internet, says his goal is to live to 10,000; Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, finds the notion of accepting mortality “incomprehensible,” and Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, hopes to someday “cure death.”
These titans of tech aren’t being ridiculous, or even vainglorious; their quests are based on real, emerging science that could fundamentally change what we know about life and about death. It’s hard to believe, though, since the human quest for immortality is both ancient and littered with catastrophic failures. ...

...But historical precedent hasn’t dissuaded some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. Thiel, for example, has given $3.5 million to the Methuselah Foundation. Aubrey de Grey, Methuselah's co-founder, says the nonprofit’s main research initiative, Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), is devoted to finding drugs that cure seven types of age-related damage: “Loss of cells, excessive cell division, inadequate cell death, garbage inside the cell, garbage outside the cell, mutations in the mitochondria, and crosslinking of the extracellular matrix.… The idea is that the human body, being a machine, has a structure that determines all aspects of its function, including its chance of falling apart any time soon, so if we can restore that structure—at the molecular and cellular level—then we will restore function too, so we will have comprehensively rejuvenated the body.” ...

...Perhaps the fix is to replace bodies—these unreliable vessels, plagued with problems!—altogether. That's the goal of the most ambitious billionaire-backed immortality investment of them all, Itskov’s 2045 Initiative. Founded in early 2011, the initiative has already collected an impressive set of experts in specialties ranging from robotics and neural interfaces to artificial organ creation. Their goal: replace our current meaty cases with robotic or holographic avatars by (you guessed it) 2045.

But even if such robot avatars get cheaper and experience a sudden upswing in use, consciousness is still tied to our meaty, messy brains—and thus far, no one's yet made headway in transferring it to a more durable medium.

That's not to say no one's trying. Tech giant Intel is aiming to have an “exascale” computer—a computer that can operate at the same speed as the human brain—by 2018. And in August 2013, researchers from Japan and Germany used Japan's K supercomputer to simulate 1 percent of brain activity for one second. That may not sound like much to be excited about, but with exascale machines on the horizon, it’s surely a sign of what’s to come. Markus Diesmann, one of the scientists involved in the K supercomputer experiment, told The Daily Telegraph in 2014, “If petascale computers like the K computer are capable of representing 1 percent of the network of a human brain today, then we know that simulating the whole brain at the level of the individual nerve cell and its synapses will be possible with exascale computers—hopefully available within the next decade.” ...

...Perhaps the most worrying question that arises with the prospect of having millions (and even billions) of multi-centenarians running around on Earth is whether the planet can support this kind of growth. Current projections suggest that the world’s population will rise from 7 billion today to about 9 billion in 2050—at which point it will more or less level out. And abundant concerns have already been raised about what all these billions of people will do for work, not to mention where they will get safe drinking water and the food necessary to live healthily. But those forecasts don’t consider the possibility that we’ll stop dying. If we do, the next generation of innovative health-tech entrepreneurs will face perhaps an even greater challenge: redesigning the planet to accommodate its massive population of Humans 2.0.

...

Nah, that's not for the non-billionaire proles, or for those who love and do not fear life.

In this scenario, there will be nothing left on greed-destroyed Earth but a few programmed machines with the personality disorders of a few billionaires having the option of running endless virtual reality scenarios until the power runs out... and just maybe a few frantic trapped and disintegrating personalities in glitching nano-trapped artificial-brain-cages, possibly forever?

And I am seriously wondering if some form of nanotech experimentation may potentially have been responsible for Planned-President Hillary's glitching health issues, (with her daughter apparently having purchased an apartment in which she could recover, with a clinic inside the building?) after reading a reference to the new President Trump's claimed concern about ramps and stairs and his prompt vacation and Obama joining Bush Admin and other high public officials in Silicon Valley? Is the 'human' part of some high public officials now being 'nano-machined' out of existence? Since that's what Google's working on doing (having become so closely entwined with Obama's White House and all) and so many billionaire donors are pouring funds into?

The only thing I'm sure about is that this transfer of the actual consciousness, rather than a personality record and characteristics, of people into machine form to let them specifically live forever cannot actually work - precisely because biology and machinery are not the same, any more than corporations or machines can ever be human.

Unless, of course, it was really true that the existence of photographic images actually can steal people's souls, as was once thought by comparable earlier magical thinkers, who in this case would probably have figured out the 'transfer' scam after realizing that they still remained in their own bodies, however many copies of their image were made.

And within the world such profiteers are so eager to pollute and destroy for literally insane profits, quite possibly to buy a postulated immortality within their very own created hell.

Explains a lot, doesn't it, if they think they'll no longer need human things?

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Steven D's picture

@sojourns and good to see you back.

This quote:
"It's clear to most of us that the Democratic party has outlived its usefulness as a vehicle for our political aspirations. The Sanders campaign outed it as primarily a veal pen intended to catch and neuter the left, delivering it to the same oligarchic interests that run the Republican party and the corporate media."

... accurately depicts my current sentiments. The Democrats meed to go the way of the Whigs. They serve no useful purpose other than as a foil for the GOP and a way to block progressive voices and policies. They even sold out cheap to the big money interests (other than the Clintons, of course, who are master grifters).

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

sojourns's picture

@Steven D I needed to look up the whigs to learn a more about them. They were exactly as you said. Much like the contemporary Democratic party. Farmers being the blue collar workers of the day, they were ignored by the Whigs -- and so on.

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"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
John Cage

@sojourns @sojourns Here's an old idea that should be recycled.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundationalism

I'm a big believer in it. It would be a good start in the financial world, the medical world, the dietary world, the educational world, the arts, etc......

Doc, don't agree with you on live stock. Grass feed livestock as our main source of food would be 1000 times better for the planet and our health than the agricultural nightmare we have created. Just take a look at the palm oil disaster in Malayasia. Beef is now the liberal way of thinking. Vegetarian is almost Reaganesque it's so old and conservative.

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"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho

@the_poorly_educated

Grass feed livestock = cycle of life. When honestly and properly done, of course.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

CS in AZ's picture

Really happy to see you again and read your thoughts. Like many people, I too am searching for what to do, other than give up. I'm short on time now so will just say two quick thoughts for now.

First, I think the great contribution of Bernie's campaign was to finally and completely unmask the Democratic Party. I don't know if that was his intention or not, but he did. Many newly opened eyes now, and it won't be as easy for the party to keep pretending to be something they are not. And Bernie showed that millions of people do want something else, and will open their wallets to support a candidate who rejects corporate funding.

Second is that I fully and strongly agree with the guaranteed minimum income for all idea, and with the way you defined it. That is exactly what we need in order to get past the deadlock where capitalism = jobs and we can't scale back on anything that costs jobs, because people will die without those terrible jobs, and therefore will fight to the end for them, no matter how destructive in the big picture.

Thanks so much for writing today. I'm uplifted by your words.

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@CS in AZ It performed two vital services: it showed the continuing power of the left in the public imagination, despite decades of both parties doing their best to smother it. And Bernie showed how corrupt, dishonest and anti-democratic the Democratic party is. Quite a few people knew these things before, but millions upon millions more know them now.

I hope the Left has the wit to go forward, not back, as it reforms and gathers strength. The wonderful young people drawn to Bernie's campaign encourage me that this will happen. I'm getting on in years, and the future is really in their hands. Between the Democratic party's recent performance, and the Trump Republican party's present and future performance, I have great hope that the young will rise again to stop the madness. I watched it happen before, and I know it can happen again.

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sojourns's picture

@CS in AZ This must be done. If the captains of industry are going to continue to automate everything, then all working people are at risk. Not limited to blue collar workers either. Computers write better code than people.

I'm all for it, other than the scary AI skynet element that should not be dismissed as mere sci-fi folly. Look as what the NSA is already capable of doing. Why should people toil if machines can do the work -- on an elevated level? Guaranteed income or no, most people want to work at something.

This guy, Jacques Fresco has been envisioning this for decades. I keep plugging him because I think that not enough people know about him.

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"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
John Cage

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@sojourns That's what people used to say the age of automation was going to be. Everybody from the Jetsons to Gene Roddenberry. They didn't say the rise of technology was going to result in the owners basically setting up workers to die in extremely large numbers, because they didn't need us anymore.

I haven't forgotten the older idea either.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

sojourns's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal I'm confused by what you are trying to say here?? Are you at all referring to the Luddites, who were really just in fear of losing their hard earned, polished craft and not necessarily anti-technology.

Elucidate! Please.

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"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
John Cage

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@sojourns No, I'm just saying that I, too, remember the older idea that the age of automation was going to provide a kind of eudaimonia for the human race, in which everybody gets to pursue their highest self, while all the dirty work gets done by the machines.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

sojourns's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal Music theory teachers wrote in his textbook. Something to the effect that when mankind advances enough to alleviate us from the toils of life, we should all be able to have the privilege to study music.

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"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
John Cage

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@sojourns I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

I remember Barney Franks talking about OWS, how it was important but doomed to fail, since didn't call for a particular vote, or target a politician to bring something to a vote. Maybe on Maddow's show?
I hate to agree with him, but we have this horrid governmental system where redress and reform has to result in a vote by people who are adverse to everything your movements propose.
I said adverse. Perhaps averse?
I love movements. I love your pecking order.
Nobody in power will be pressured to go our way.
Why would they?
As long as my neighbor is not in congress, but his boss is, we are stalled out.
Revolution.
Let's do this this thing.

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@on the cusp He was a creature of the system, and was blind to any value or virtue outside of it. OWS clearly didn't have the vision to build on their start in a politically potent way, and I suspect its successors will not make this mistake.

The anti-Vietnam and civil rights movements didn't start by lobbying politicians for particular bills. They got out in the streets, braved dogs and firehoses and bullets, and changed people's minds through direct action and a challenge to the status quo. Once the requisite power and attention were attained, the lobbying and horse-trading were possible. You don't start in the halls of Congress, you end up there. Barney forgot that.

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gulfgal98's picture

@Dallasdoc First, it is great to see this essay from you, Doc. Your voice is always so lucid and pitch perfect on these issues. This essay is a great distillation of the issues that social movements must address to effect change.

Second, I have always believed that all meaningful change comes from the ground up via social movements. Politicians act as the gate keepers to the status quo and only react when a social movement becomes too large or too strong to ignore. This is why the government from the federal level on down worked so hard to crush Occupy. Occupy had the potential to become a social movement that could not be ignored. My own personal belief is that the next social movement may not be so easily crushed.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

@Dallasdoc knock the desperate people who stared OWS?

The dems kneecapped them too.

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dfarrah

Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

@Dallasdoc @Dallasdoc occurred in a different time and under different circumstances. Unlike Iraq, every family in America ran the risk of losing a son or a brother or a classmate with the draft and the lottery. TPTB recognized that fatal flaw to their global plans and got rid of it. If the economy remains a wasteland for the 99%, they will always have a successful "economic draft" where people will enlist in order to get education and experience. (Hmm.. come to think of it, free university tuition might be a huge threat to maintaining a volunteer army in the future.)

Civil Rights was simply an undeniable moral imperative that could not be denied any longer and like Viet Nam, the lives of the participants were on the line as was society in general since at some point, if peaceful protest failed, we would experience the alternative.

Those two issues were crisis points, the likes of which we haven't seen in decades although we may not be far off. BLM shows that despite civil rights, massive suppression of a race continued apace, just quietly, one black man arrested and incarcerated at a time.

I also think at some point the economic despair caused by debt peonage, inadequate incomes, high costs of shelter, astronomic health costs, etc. if not stopped, should accelerate to the point of riots, but where and when and if, I cannot say. Currently the masses are expressing their despair through killing themselves with opioides or other forms of suicide or allowing poor health to carry them off.

This is one of our problems which OWS highlighted - it's much harder to agitate against these direct causes of middle-class mayhem which appear to be indirect simply because they are not as obvious as sending us to foreign countries to be shot at or shooting us themselves in the streets.

TPTB have successfully told Big Lies about how it's all so complex that the little people keep thinking people have done illegal things while screwing them over (which they have) but it's really only unseemly and immoral and unethical and reprehensible. Eric Holder himself defined the policy that economic crimes that are massive are not to be prosecuted because of the resultant economic fall-out and disruption - to TPTB, not to us, the victims. Thus, we ignore personnel at our peril. Since personnel IS policy, why should we rely ever on the wrong people to implement the right policy? And right now we have two houses of Congress and the Presidency filled with all the wrong people.

I agree completely that all the most effective and long-lasting change has percolated from the bottom-up, but we need to replace the people responsible for the implementation as well.

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

@Phoebe Loosinhouse I think our error in recent years, though, has been to work primarily on the inside-politics game, which is seriously gamed against us. Outside issues-based political efforts have generally taken a back seat, and this has proved to be a serious error.

For grassroots folks like us, I've come to believe that our efforts would be better leveraged by joining non-partisan (even anti-partisan) issues movements, and building coalitions between them outside party politics. The inside game isn't ours to win at this time. If we can build a critical mass of outside pressure, I suspect the inside game will become a lot more winnable. Right now, it's not. But once we have the power in the streets and in social media, politicians will find us.

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gulfgal98's picture

@Dallasdoc I joined dkos back in early to mid 2008 after watching and reading there for a while. One thing that always bothered me was the entire focus upon electoral politics. I can clearly remember that Markos did not believe in grass roots movements outside the Democratic party framework. I watched how he and most of the front pagers openly dissed the Occupy movement as being a waste of time. I was too naive to understand that was a purposeful decision. By keeping the framework focused upon the Democratic party, electoral politics, and other narrow social issues, any meaningful change was automatically precluded.

A couple of years ago, I sent Markos an email asking that the site spend more time on its front page focusing upon real issues such as income inequality, wars, and climate change. I laid out a compelling reason why I thought it was important. Markos completely ignored my email and that is when I decided that dkos was irrelevant to me. I also predicted that it would become irrelevant in 2016, based upon the assumption that Hillary Clinton would become elected President. Well, my basis for the irrelevance of dkos was wrong, but dkos has become irrelevant, not just to me or many members like me who have left, but also in having real effect in other media too.

People are desperate for real and meaningful change that will make their lives better. Identity politics can only go so far in a vacuum. It becomes simply a shiny object only when a person does not have a living wage job, or cannot put food on the table, or cannot afford an education for their children, or cannot afford clean drinking water and/or real health care.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Dallasdoc But in this case, you're not going to end up in those halls unless most of the people currently there are gone. And, under current conditions, you're not gonna get them out. We have to change the conditions. Scary and challenging time.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Creosote.'s picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
one I desperately needed to hear, in part to understand better some of your recent posts - and I thought I had a solidly dark perspective. Genuinely looking forward now to the 'Deep State for Dummies' material she mentioned.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Creosote. I know I've been more depressing than usual of late. Watching the establishment create puppet versions of real fights for social justice has gotten me down, and watching the people I care about buy into it is not only demoralizing, but also puts me in a really bad position. I'm the jerk who gets to tell them that their protest is actually serving the establishment and maintaining the status quo. Or, I can just talk less, which sometimes seems to be the right course, because there's no point in repeatedly telling people something that they don't want to hear. But if I fall silent in response to this psy-op, then the psy-op is successful. It's very much like what was done through Barack Obama. There's this category of people and actions that left-wingers have designated as sacred cows, and that sacred cow designation has gotten extra vehemence behind it because people are desperate for anything positive. I mean, the very fact that some people felt the need to rally behind Hillary Clinton because she doesn't believe in the state-sanctioned murder of Black children shows you where we are better than anything I could say. It's like me saying "I don't believe in killing babies with a shovel," and everybody on C99 saying "Wow, CSTS *doesn't* believe in killing babies with a shovel! Hail to the Chief! Get that girl into the Oval Office toute suite!" Although, really, it's not even that. If I were to make my allegory really accurate, CSTS would be against killing babies with a shovel stateside, but entirely OK with killing babies with a shovel in foreign countries.

The question is, how much do you have to ignore to support a given person, organization, or movement? And what, specifically, are you being asked to ignore? Sane Progressive has laid out what we have to ignore about Justice Democrats, and it's the same thing we're being asked to ignore about Brand New Congress and Our Revolution. There's a lot of things I've been asked to ignore about the Women's March, and even some things I've been asked to ignore about the immigration protests, which are admittedly better than the Women's March in that at least they have specific goals and DON'T have Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on the stage, but which are still based on a disingenuous double standard--and are being treated entirely differently by the corporate media than progressive protests usually are, which should be a red flag to any progressive or leftist.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Creosote.'s picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
One view Sane Progressive stated twice has to do with the present need for not-doing (my term) contra the pressure to "act now" or to know right away or align with what must be done, as if a recipe existed. Yet there she is, and in her shoes one can watch one fireman analyze how best to enter the burning building.

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Wink's picture

@Dallasdoc If Bernie was (and is) about anything, he's about taking it to the streets. His campaign was all about bottom up politics and said so. "This ain't about me, it's about us."

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

@on the cusp OWS while not having an impact on this or that particular policy, did something amazing. It gave the American people a language on how to talk about class warfare and a rigged economic system that could not be dismissed with red baiting by both republicans and democrats. I would claim that Bernie's campaign is a descendant of OWS. Bernie was the electoral expression of OWS--economic populism. In fact, I would say OWS gave Obama the victory after the Rommey taped comments about 46% of democrats are like on welfare: OWS gave people a language to understand Rommey's comments. How much more odious was Hillary's obedience to Wall Street with OWS. OWS was the first crack in the cultural imperialism of crony capitalism.

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@MrWebster OWS and their rallying cry of the 99% gave this community its name. It powerfully and universally placed economic inequality at the center stage of American political life, reversing decades of corporatist propaganda. It also invalidated the Obama administration's claims to be doing most Americans any good, because the gains remained concentrated at the top, and income inequality only continuously rose from the depths of the 2008 crash.

OWS changed the battleground on which politics will be fought. Hillary Clinton lost because she refused to recognize that, and dug in her heels when her challenger tried to bring the campaign where it needed to go. Everything we do going forward will owe a debt to OWS' contribution. I hope the near future will see an equally seminal moment for the climate change movement.

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@MrWebster
Bernie's candidacy was a descendant of OWS. Though I don't think Bernie was a hippie, his political philosophy is archetypal Sixties moderate leftist. I don't think he inspired or gave birth to OWS or it to him. I think they developed in parallel lines, with OWS's "line" beginning much later than Bernie's. I totally agree that OWS created a way of thinking and speaking about financial policies that made Bernie's message easier to deliver and perhaps made it more resonant. However, I think Bernie could have run as successfully as he did, even if OWS had never happened for the simple reason that he was selling what Americans have been longing to be able to buy.

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@on the cusp

this board shows. (the "99%" is from Orwell, but no one was using it before Boston Occupy.) Even though media tried to ignore OWS as long as possible--and dissed it when it finally began covering it-- Occupy changed the national conversation about money and jobs entirely in a matter of a few weeks, without buying TV ads or spending any money to speak of. Madison Avenue would give its eye teeth to know how to pull off something like that.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@on the cusp That was actually Frank complaining because OWS wasn't willingly trooping into the Democratic slaughterhouse along with all the other progressive movements.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

ngant17's picture

for a new direction. And it simply reinforces concepts which have already been stated elsewhere. You've compiled all the rational demands which need to be immediately addressed in the near future. It's not necessary to have a crystal ball to see this. It's all self-evident to any informed, reasonable and thinking citizen.

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@ngant17 ... is the difference between knowing something and needing to hear it anyway. Putting words on the page has a value, even when they seem self-evident. That's why I wrote this: to see how it looks and reads.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@ngant17

It's not necessary to have a crystal ball to see this.

Or Krystal Marie Ball either, for that matter.

Wink

It's also not rocket surgery!

It's all self-evident to any informed, reasonable and thinking citizen.

Which is why so many of TPTB are hell-bent on destroying everything which leads to the reation of just such people.....

Diablo

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"US govt/military = bad. Russian govt/military = bad. Any politician wanting power = bad. Anyone wielding power = bad." --Shahryar

"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

is that we need to adapt to the 21st century. We need to go green, incorporating all your well laid-out plans/ideas. Leave the fossil fuels behind. Easily understood. And possible steamroll in the right direction(s).

The only thing I would add is the military. It seems to me that they have taken over what, 50% of our budget. And honestly, to me it's not the money. It's the murdering from Libya to Iraq and I pray not Iran. Obama's greatest achievement was the treaty with Iran. IMHO

Peace.

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@p cook I think a left agenda needs to be intellectually and ethically consistent, and it takes some real work to put all our problems in an easily understood framework.

De-globalization and local self-reliance may provide an organizing framework in a climate-change challenged world. We don't need to be shipping crap all over the world just so mindless consumerism can make profits for the way-too-rich. Devolution has already begun in the EU, and it may make sense for the US to embrace political devolution as well. But first we need to redefine the country as a compassionate one, in which we're all in this together even if we rely more on ourselves in some respects.

If we stop depending on Middle East oil and East Asian sweatshops, and focus more on making our own country better, I would expect what the international meddlers call "isolationism" to reassert itself. This is a strong traditional strain in American politics, and I think it's long overdue for a comeback. Pushing back on the national security state's endless domestic spying is a natural pairing for a de-militarization campaign.

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@p cook @Dallasdoc I was in those anti-Vietnam protests. I am lucky I didn't get kicked out of college or shot.
All I am saying is those people in power way back then did not have the lobbies and PACS and cush "member of the board" at Monsanto, etc...expectation that they do now. They just didn't.
Well, they do now.
Barney was right. Not that I admire him in any way, but it is what it is.
Basically, you want a movement to bring about change? About anything?
It will come to a vote.
I am very depressed that my heart, soul, my wishes and desires, are in the hands of Congress.

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Hillbilly Dem's picture

I read C99% every day, but haven't commented too much in the past couple of weeks as things have been hectic for me lately. I second everything that you've written in your piece. As usual, your comments are insightful and would go a long way to turn this country in the direction that it needs to travel, if only they were followed.

My problem is that America may have already crossed the Rubicon, that even our institutions cannot save us. I am concerned that America is getting exactly what it wants.

Americans howled with laughter when Kim Jong-un announced that he went to an 18 hole golf course and carded an 18. Yet. Despite photographic evidence that would leave only one interpretation to a 1st grader, Trump supporters failed/refused to call him out on his insane claim that his inaugural crowd was bigger than PBO's. That silence extended to GOP elected officials, too. His spokespersons say he's entitled to his own interpretation. Alterative facts.

I am confident that I am on the right side of history, and so are you and about 99% of Caucus99%. I will fight. You will fight. C99% will fight. And if we "go down the shit chute" as a country, I will be thankful that we didn't abide its demise and that we did what we could.

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"Just call me Hillbilly Dem(exit)."
-H/T to Wavey Davey

@Hillbilly Dem We've seen some pretty horrible things in our history, and been in worse shape than we are now. We've managed to make things better despite those jams, though usually only through a lot of pain and desperation and sacrifice. It may come to that again, but I still hope we will see that sacrifice fall in a Kent State/Watts range rather than a Great Depression/Civil War range.

That said, my husband and I are still talking about visiting France to look for a retirement home/bolt hole. Don't want to stick around if it's looking too 1937-ish around here. I'm old, and have the means to contemplate an escape. It would be foolish not to check it out.

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@Dallasdoc If you're on Netflix, check out Spiral, a Paris-based detective show. 4 seasons. It's informative about France in the same way American crime shows are about us. Word.

Another great European Netflix show is Merli, set in Barcelona. Really, check it out, he's a leftist High School teacher; delightful!

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@p cook Netflix has a series called "Wild France," in which a pudgy British naturalist visits some French national parks. It's transfixing, and makes me want to live there even more. I'll check out your suggestions.

It's funny, I hardly speak any French, but I figure the only way to learn is to move there and have to. I figure I have one more transplantation in me, and I want to be mindful about where I want to spend my last years.

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@Dallasdoc @Dallasdoc Aging. I am a trained geologist; did it for 17 years. I quit and am now a happy cook. I know you're a MD but hear me out. To keep your mind clear use cooked cilantro to clean out the metals (Hg, Pb). Stir fry is great. Step two is nourish it with fish, coconut, and olive oil. My motto is, "Nothing with regard to the human body is irreversible." With all due respect...

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@p cook I eat quite a bit of fish, and living in New Mexico cilantro is pretty much a staple. Olive oil is all we have in the house. Can't abide coconut, but I do eat a bit of avocado.

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@Dallasdoc coconut oil is the great lubricant! and for the face/scalp! And dry hands. and any crepe skin... Word.

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@p cook

Slather on globs of it after I shower.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

@p cook

Yes! Thank you for bringing this up! Among other things, as my mother's caregiver, I gave her coconut oil and Chia seed in her then-predominately organic/range-raised diet every day. We had to be careful with supplements and at times certain nutrients due to medication issues, but good nutrition and the avoidance of any avoidable industrial toxins is obviously essential to cellular, etc., function/health.

We need to know this, especially in the face of Monsanto's (et al) disinformation; we are highly complex biological creatures and the body has an immense capacity for healing, given the right nutrients and other conditions.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

divineorder's picture

@p cook Whew, we have stopped in Paris on the way back from Paris each year for the last 4 and have taken a different view of walking around late at night after Spiral lol.

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

WaterLily's picture

@Dallasdoc After decades of saying I'd do it, I just submitted my application for Ireland's "Registry of Foreign Births." At the very least, I can get an Irish (EU) passport. At the very best, I can move to Ireland or elsewhere in the EU and legally work. Not that I want to do this ... but contingencies are helpful.

Concurrently, I'm plotting out our new front-yard vegetable garden. Resilience.

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@WaterLily What does it take? I am more than 50% Irish.

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WaterLily's picture

@p cook Check this link. Pretty straightforward ... toughest part is hunting down the documentation.

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LeChienHarry's picture

@Dallasdoc The exchange rate is good right now and houses can be very reasonable compared to the US if you stay outside of Paris, Toulouse, Lyon, Strasbourg. There are some active and lively villages with access via rail, autoroute, to the cities. It does take some staying in likely locations before deciding where feels right. Things can be quite different department or village next over.

PM me if you have questions.

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You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again you did not know. ~ William Wiberforce

If you can donate, please! POP Money is available for bank-to-bank transfers. Email JtC to make a monthly donation.

LeChienHarry's picture

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You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again you did not know. ~ William Wiberforce

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Ken in MN's picture

You were always one of my favorites at Little Orange Footballs...

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I want my two dollars!

@Ken in MN ... that looking back over there, they were kind of embarrassed that they'd been a part of it for so long. Definitely felt as though they'd outgrown the place. That observation summed up my feelings very well.

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maggid's picture

I'm honored to get a shout-out. That was also my first post in a while after a hiatus of several months. For a while I felt like I just didn't have anything to contribute that wasn't already being said. I also felt like my thoughts weren't very well formulated, and that the discussions going on, while casting light on events, were largely reactive.

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The marriage between capitalism and democracy is over. –Slavoj Zizek

@maggid This one grew out of a comment I was going to put in it, but I realized it was outgrowing the comment format. Thank you for getting me started -- it's nice to flex the fingers again.

Your essay about family dynamics was important. The Republicans are definitely the Dad party, but the Democrats I'd look at more as the step-mom who's on Dad's side instead of mom's or the kids'.

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mhagle's picture

I would add the need for small silent community grassroots efforts . . . so we don't need big oil and big ag and global clothes.

With my immediate next door neighbors out here in rural Texas . . . we are going for greater food production and sewing or remodeling existing clothes.

And someone needs to create a gas to electric conversion kit for existing cars.

I have started receiving Texas Green Party emails. They really make sense. I am trying to figure out how I can participate.

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

@mhagle Her husband was a drunk, and would usually drink away the money the kids made picking cotton. I have only the greatest respect for people in rural Texas, thanks to her and to my mother's examples. I don't agree with the politics of almost any of my cousins, but I know the resourcefulness and toughness of the people. If anybody can make the transition to a sustainable, local world, they're right up there with Native American communities in my book.

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@mhagle
Recently, i noted in a comment that solar can be used generate inorganic fuels and then also a link to an article that detailed the soon to be mass produced hydrogen based vehicles.

Current generation of electric vehicles are limited to around 100 miles on a charge. That doesn't cut it for roadtrips (think public transit and cargo transport), family vacations, and fully loaded vehicles.

Liquid fuels happen to be a very portable source of energy. While hydrogen is quite volatile, there is already existing infrastructure to support distribution of hydrogen fuel and hrdrogen fuel stations for vehicles.

There are others more knowledgeable about chemistry than myself, so feel free to note what other inorganic fuels should be considered.

Fuels like this should be encouraged, as it makes arguments for dapl/keystone XL and fracking look short-sighted and foolish, without mention of supporting tyrants in distant lands and killing the environment.

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Fighting for democratic principles,... well, since forever

@mhagle

Dunno anything about this stuff myself, and I do tend to get older stuff turn up in my searches so these undated examples might be outdated for all I know, but there are at least some kits out there. You can probably search out much better yourself though.

http://epiccarconversions.com/

http://epiccarconversions.com/battery/

... Do the batteries have a warranty?

Yes, currently 3 years; extended warranties are also available.

How long do the batteries last?

10 years / 200,000 KM (124,275 miles) [calculated based on 100km battery pack]
2000 charges & discharges at 100%
This means approximately 10 years of normal use 200,000 KM (124,275 miles)
Normal use is defined as 20,000km/year (12,500 miles/year)
After 10 years, the batteries will retain 80% capacity for 3000 additional cycles, that is an additional 240,000km ...

http://www.electric-cars-are-for-girls.com/electric-car-conversion-kit.html

Electric Car Conversion Kit
(for beginners)

http://e-volks.com/

Welcome to Wilderness Electric Vehicles!

Based on global demand,
we are proud to introduce the all new...
***International Small Car Electric Vehicle Conversion Kit***

http://www.autos.com/car-buying/using-gas-to-electric-car-conversion-kits

Using Gas to Electric Car Conversion Kits

Posted on Autos.com Editor in Car Buying on October 7, 2013

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Big Al's picture

when it comes to forming a movement to overturn the power structure, which is what in my opinion needs to be done first before we can address climate change and the economy, among other things, like war and imperialism. The people need to decide on the issues but first we need the ability to decide.

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@Big Al The willingness to demand to decide has to be there. But that's where the specific demands become so important. The War was one of the main flash points in the 60's. Social justice was the other. I look at climate change as this generation's Vietnam war: it's literally a matter of life and death to young people today. And the economic injustice of our capitalist system is becoming almost as intolerable as Jim Crow was then, only for a lot more people.

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Big Al's picture

@Dallasdoc competing with other factions/parties within this corrupt political system. It might work with something like addressing climate change, although it would be a slow go working within this system, and surely inadequate if left up to Congress. Maybe anything we try will be a long, slow process. I'm more about trying to stop these fuckers (the ruling elite) from their destroying and killing of the planet and lives. Which means they have to be removed from power. I guess that's another faction.

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@Big Al That's why I think it's important to coalesce around a very few organizing principles. Alliances are how factions gain power and exert influence in a complicated political system. That's going to be the tricky part, as the powerful are ever-adept at divide and conquer strategems.

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divineorder's picture

@Dallasdoc emphasizing a small number of important issues.

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Big Al's picture

@Dallasdoc democracy. We need another revolution rather than trying to demand our politicians do something. That doesn't work. This has to be about power to the people, then the people can decide what they want to do about the planet and the economy.

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Creosote.'s picture

@Dallasdoc
"1. Removing carbon from the atmosphere." just thundered off the screen.
We need a way to see that's constantly mentioned first, in Overpass Light Brigade letters everywhere.
And great thanks. You once wrote that you didn't often write essays - so this one too strikes even more deeply.

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acquisition and ownership. We are, unfortunately, quite sucessful in these pursuits. It seem that the extraordinary stress our "successes" have put on the the biosphere are now about to bear their awful fruit.

Will we be both able and willing to become conservators above consumers? Can we begin to take the measure of our lives in the quality of our collective wellbeing rather than in our individual success and material acquisitions? Can sustainability replace "sucess" as our reason to live? I hope so, for this is the shape of the sea change that is needed.

I applaud your exploration of new possibilities and musings on what shape a governance system might need to be in order to support such a radical transformation. I am with you thus far, very much so, though I feel quite completely stuck within the box of my life and my upbringing and may have very little to contribute by way of original thinking.

But I do see a glimmer of something almost like hope in your writing, and I thank you for that!

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“We have a very small window in which we need to make a fundamental shift away from capitalism.” Kshama Sawant

@ovals49 I like hope better.

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@Dallasdoc It requires a-n-g-e-r. Hope is a passive state, dependent on the actions (usually inactions) of others. Despair is a null state of low energy and depression. Now anger, that's rocket fuel.

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Roger Fox's picture

Only the occupations were a phase, and they were a rehearsal for 2016.

During Bernies campaign I met young millennial college students who said :

I grew up with OWS, I have been waiting to vote for 3 years.

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FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

@Roger Fox ... and have had some similar conversations myself. Now those young people have voted, and many have felt their first political love. Young people today, growing up in our relentless consumer culture, generally have finely tuned bullshit detectors, and I have great hope that they will change politics as the 60's generation did, only better and with more sustained effort. The Vietnam war came to an end, but we'll never stop fighting climate change. The young are still on the front line.

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gulfgal98's picture

@Roger Fox @Roger Fox I saw the same things with my local Occupy group which was not very large, but the focus that the younger members (millennials) brought to it was amazing and up lifting. The four and a half years I spent with the weekly Peace vigil showed me the same thing. I will never forget the day that two fifteen year old skate boarders stopped by to talk to us. These two boys were of the age when most kids I grew up with were clueless. I could not believe how well informed they were. We asked them where they got their information from and they replied "the internet." They said they did not trust the main stream media.

If these kids and the ones I met in Occupy are any indication, I think the next generation will not be so easily bull shitted. They give me a lot of hope that the people will prevail against the evils of our system.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Redstella's picture

But I can't help think that one of the ways forward is for everyone to become a bit more sustainable than they are right now. We are on a road trip in New Mexico just now and went to the Pecos river valley where there are still irrigated fields that people farm. But our friend said, most people used to grow alot of their vegetables and now they do not. Most people really have forgotten how. Well, that seems a shame. And that is true for most americans.

Many years ago, when I was a LA suburbanite, ( and ridiculously young) I left the LA basin for northern California and began to grow gardens. I learned how. Now, we grow quite alot of our yearly amount of vegetables and fruits. Low carbon footprint. Food security ( alot of hard work, admittedly) I can't help but think this is a political act. One of my goals is to grow a garden every year that I am alive. This may be a silly stupid little act, but it is something I can do, without a societal change. Because I have lost hope in any politcial change coming my way.

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@Redstella and a lot of older people still grow tomatoes and chiles, some grow corn. These are vestiges of those old practices, but younger people don't seem to maintain them. The growing demands for (and price of) water here make it fairly uneconomical, but it's a point of pride with many who grew up that way.

Years ago I lived on Cape Cod, and built soil out of dead yellow sand with green manuring and scanty applications of mineral fertilizers. It was a great practice to till in 2 crops of hairy vetch a year, which fixed nitrogen and dramatically increased the organic content of the soil. I had great vegetable crops in the years after I'd built that soil.

If I retire somewhere water is more plentiful, I'd like to do it again. Digging in the dirt and watching things grow is one of the most deeply satisfying things I've found in life. There are some giant pine trees on the hill in back of the tract house where I grew up I planted when I was nine years old. They remind me that the trees I've planted will be some of the few traces of my life after I'm gone. That thought makes me want to plant more trees.

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WaterLily's picture

@Redstella I'm in the midst of planning my second-ever (and slightly expanded) vegetable garden. And it also feels to me like a political act, even here in Vermont.

It's one small thing I have control over -- whether it survives or fails -- and I believe that personal and local resourcefulness and resilience will be increasingly important moving forward. (If I'm making any sense).

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@WaterLily Great practice to plant a fall cover crop after you harvest, either a nitrogen fixer or a winter crop like kale. Some mineral fertilizers like greensand (potassium) or rock phosphate can also help, depending on your soil analysis.

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WaterLily's picture

@Dallasdoc Love any and all advice. I feel as if this is my 6th-grade science fair project ... except I actually care about the outcome.

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Oldest Son Of A Sailor's picture

@Dallasdoc Might be available from the state. In Connecticut the State Agricultural Experiment Station offers Free Soil Analysis with recommendations for fertilizer for specific crops.

YMMV depending on your state, some may also have this available through State Colleges & University Ag Programs...

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"Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."

~John F. Kennedy~
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