Non-partisan, Left Leaning, Reality Based News with a Memory

Holy cow, sounds just like us.

I was led to both the Greanville Post and this David Sirota article by a friend on Facebook. I thought both were noteworthy and brought them here to share with you. Greanville Post is a reality-based blog and Sirota is a real journalist with an actual memory.

Courtesy of the Greenville Post

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.

We find the UK’s Guardian an equivocal and often downright treacherous platform for progressives, but, as is the case with many things in the media, and life itself, there are no absolutes, so this platform sometimes still publishes things that seem to flow against the global aristocracy. This is one of them. Maybe they do that maintain some of their eroding credibility. Sirota is more of an establishment liberal than we would like (that’s why the Guardian publishes him), but here he is making an important point that should be heeded by the public. In general, his work is estiable.

America’s new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone
By David Sirota

Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history.
@davidsirota

‘If there are no legal consequences for profiteers who defrauded the global economy into a collapse, what will deter those profiteers from doing that again?’ Illustration: Mark Long/Mark Long for Guardian US
When the former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was released from prison a few weeks ago, the news conjured memories of a corporate scandal that now seems almost quaint – and it was also a reminder that Enron executives were among the last politically connected criminals to face any serious consequences for institutionalized fraud.
Since Skilling’s conviction 12 years ago, our society has been fundamentally altered by a powerful political movement whose goal is not merely another court seat, tax cut or election victory. This movement’s objective is far more revolutionary: the creation of an accountability-free zone for an ennobled aristocracy, even as the rest of the population is treated to law-and-order rhetoric and painfully punitive policy.

Let’s remember that in less than two decades, America has experienced the Iraq war, the financial crisis, intensifying economic stratification, an opioid plague, persistent gender and racial inequality and now seemingly unending climate change-intensified disasters. While the victims have been ravaged by these crime sprees, crises and calamities, the perpetrators have largely avoided arrest, inquisition, incarceration, resignation, public shaming and ruined careers.

That is because the United States has been turned into a safe space for a permanent ruling class. Inside the rarefied refuge, the key players who created this era’s catastrophes and who embody the most pernicious pathologies have not just eschewed punishment – many of them have actually maintained or even increased their social, financial and political status.

The effort to construct this elite haven has tied together so many seemingly disparate news events, suggesting that there is a method in the madness. Consider this past month that culminated with the dramatic battle over the judicial nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

September began with John McCain’s funeral – a memorial billed as an apolitical celebration of the Arizona lawmaker, but which served as a made-for-TV spectacle letting America know that everyone who engineered the Iraq war is doing just fine.

Once again, the message was unavoidable: in the new accountability-free zone, companies shouldn’t be bothered to even explain – much less face punishment for – their role in a crisis that threatens the survival of the human species. Now comes the latest stage of the immunity project: the installation of Kavanaugh as the sentinel standing watch over this sprawling accountability-free zone from a lifetime perch on America’s very own star chamber. The event was attended by Iraq war proponents of both parties, from Dick Cheney to Lindsey Graham to Hillary Clinton. The funeral featured a saccharine eulogy from the key Democratic proponent of the invasion, Joe Lieberman, as well the resurrection of George W Bush. The codpiece-flaunting war president who piloted America into the cataclysm with “bring ’em on” bravado, “shock and awe” bloodlust and “uranium from Africa” dishonesty was suddenly portrayed as an icon of warmth and civility when he passed a lozenge to Michelle Obama. The scene was depicted not as the gathering of a rogues gallery fit for a war crimes tribunal, but as a venerable bipartisan reunion evoking nostalgia for the supposed halcyon days – and Bush promptly used his newly revived image to campaign for Republican congressional candidates and lobby for Kavanaugh’s appointment.
The underlying message was clear: nobody other than the dead, the injured and the taxpayer will face any real penalty for the Iraq debacle.

Next up came the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis – a meltdown that laid waste to the global economy, while providing lucrative taxpayer-funded bailouts to Wall Street firms.

To mark the occasion, the three men on whose watch it occurred – Fed chair Ben Bernanke, Bush treasury secretary Hank Paulson and Obama treasury secretary Tim Geithner – did not offer an apology, but instead promised that another financial crisis will eventually occur, and they demanded lawmakers give public officials more power to bail out big banks in the future.

In a similar bipartisan show of unity, former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn gave an interview in which he asked “Who broke the law?” – the implication being that no Wall Street executives were prosecuted for their role in the meltdown because no statutes had been violated. That suggestion, of course, is undermined by banks’ own admissions that they defrauded investors (that includes admissions of fraud from Goldman Sachs – the very bank that Cohn himself ran during the crisis). Nonetheless, Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder – who has now rejoined his old corporate defense law firm – subsequently backed Cohn up by arguing that nobody on Wall Street committed an offense that could have been successfully prosecuted in a court of law.

Meanwhile, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon garnered non-Onion headlines by floating the idea of running for president – a reminder that a decade after his firm played a central role in destroying countless Americans’ economic lives, he remains not only unincarcerated and gainfully employed, but so reputationally unscathed that he is seen as a serious White House candidate.

Again, the message came through: nobody who engineered the financial crisis will pay any real price for wreaking so much havoc.

Ironically, it is only mother nature that flogs insouciant Americans for their legendary indifferentism to global afffairs. But, as we might expect, it makes the poor pay a far heavier price.
Then as Hurricane Florence provided the latest illustration of climate change’s devastation, ExxonMobil marched into the supreme court to demand an end to a state investigation of its role denying and suppressing climate science. Backed by 11 Republican attorneys general, the fossil fuel giant had reason to feel emboldened in its appeal for immunity: despite investigative reporting detailing the company’s prior knowledge of fossil fuel’s role in climate change, its executives had already convinced the Securities and Exchange Commission to shut down a similar investigation.

Once again, the message was unavoidable: in the new accountability-free zone, companies shouldn’t be bothered to even explain – much less face punishment for – their role in a crisis that threatens the survival of the human species.

Now comes the latest stage of the immunity project: the installation of Kavanaugh as the sentinel standing watch over this sprawling accountability-free zone from a lifetime perch on America’s very own star chamber.

Kavanaugh is the nominee of Donald Trump, who as a businessman helped set the legal precedent protecting corporate titans from fraud charges, and who as president has appointed a cabinet of accountability evaders – from the treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, who escaped prosecution during the financial crisis, to the transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, who avoided consequences for her role at Wells Fargo during that company’s mass fraud. Kavanaugh is also the nominee of an accountability-free party whose last House speaker was deemed “a serial child molester” by a judge, whose potential next House speaker is named in a college sexual abuse scandal, and whose White House occupant was caught on camera bragging about sexually accosting women.

To the delight of the Republican party, Kavanaugh is not backing down in the face of multiple credible accusations of sexual misconduct. On the contrary, in a snarling refrain that must seem all-too-familiar to victims of sexual assault, Kavanaugh is angrily insisting that “you’ll never get me to quit”.

In the context of this political moment, Kavanaugh’s defiance is more than merely a plea of innocence. It is more than just an ideological warrior’s yearning to serve on a court that has been making it ever-harder for commoners to hold the aristocracy accountable. It is a grand edict detailing the entire culture of entitlement and immunity inside the accountability-free zone.

Here is a corporate lobbyist’s son armed with a prep school education, a diploma from his grandaddy’s Ivy League alma mater, a writing credit on Ken Starr’s Clinton-Lewinsky report, a law review article arguing that Congress should consider exempting presidents from indictments, and a sheaf of judicial opinions that consistently side with power.

Kavanaugh has precisely the pedigree that is the ticket into the accountability-free zone. His braying at senators, his laughably obvious dissembling, his refusal to explicitly support an FBI review of his accusers’ allegations – this is the behavior of someone who seems to believe a supreme court seat is his to arrogate.

Indeed, Kavanaugh has been inside the aristocracy’s hermetically sealed bubble for so long that he is genuinely surprised and outraged that anyone would dare get in his way – as are his biggest boosters such as the Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell. Promising a forceful defense of the accountability-free zone, McConnell explicitly lashed out at sexual assault survivors who are now begging Republicans to vote down Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“I want to make it clear to these people chasing my members around the hall here, or harassing them at the airports, or going to their homes. We’ll not be intimidated by these people,” McConnell declared.

To be sure, you could write this last month off if it was an anomaly – but it is the norm, not the exception.

Over the last decade, we saw presidential administrations of both parties decrease white-collar prosecutions and grant telecom companies retroactive legal immunity for their role in the government’s mass surveillance system. We witnessed the director of national intelligence, James Clapper brazenly mislead Congress about that surveillance, then face no charges of perjury – and then be rewarded with a CNN contributor gig.

We watched the Trump White House grant “waivers” – another word for immunity – to its own employees who violate seemingly strict ethics rules, and we watched the Obama labor department waive punishment for a politically influential financial firm after it had been convicted of operating what law enforcement officials said was a scheme that “knowingly and willfully aided” tax fraud.

We saw congressional Republicans so utterly eviscerate the Internal Revenue Service’s budget that “there may never be a better time to be a tax cheat”, according to a recent ProPublica report.

We have seen no consequences for a pharmaceutical company that made big money off peddling opioids – and now we see the same company turn the crisis into another prospective profit opportunity by patenting a treatment to help wean people off opioids.

Taken together, all of it evinces the same underlying message echoing throughout the country: to paraphrase Leona Helmsley, accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class.

If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history – the eras of violent purges, authoritarian dictators and sharpened guillotines. There is no guarantee that is our future – and let’s hope it isn’t our destiny. Whether or not things proceed in that terrifying direction, though, the moral question remains: what can be done to restore some basic sense of fairness and justice?

Of late, one proffered answer is hard-hitting journalism – and there is no doubt that righteous media vigilantes such as Ronan Farrow have occasionally sparked some much-needed paroxysms of accountability. However, for every investigative reporter doing the hard work to break open a much-needed story of corruption and criminality, there is an entire machine that continues to provide platforms to those who are firmly ensconced in the accountability-free zone.

Turn on CNN, and you will see Iraq war cheerleaders like David Frum and Bill Kristol as honored guests depicted as the new vanguard of democracy.

Flip on MSNBC, and it is much the same thing. In the morning you get economic analysis from Steve Rattner, who was given his media platform even after securities regulators charged him “with participating in a widespread kickback scheme” and he was banned from the securities industry. In the afternoon you get Nicole Wallace, who helped run the Bush administration’s PR operation during the Iraq war. And in the evening you get the news from Brian Williams, who was bequeathed a new show after he was busted for serially lying about his war reporting.

Meanwhile, if you take a peek at the business press, you will behold an entire corner of the journalism world that saw few mea culpas or firings after it missed almost all of the warning signs in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

No, if there is an answer, it will not originate from media (at least not until there’s radical change in that industry). To wedge open the gates of the accountability-free zone, everyday citizens will have to be organized enough to overcome already well-organized money.

In the political arena, that means electing pro-accountability candidates of both parties, and then forcing them to follow through on prosecuting wrongdoers and voting down aristocracy-approved nominees who represent the accountability-free zone.

In the consumer economy, it will require boycotts, pressure campaigns, union drives, #MeToo movements, shareholder resolutions and other direct actions to hold companies and executives accountable (and as the recent minimum wage campaign against Amazon proves, those efforts can succeed). It will require support for companies that offer different models of corporate behavior, and it will require swarms of cable-news-addled dittoheads to shut off the TV and instead support other forms of media that are serious about questioning, scrutinizing and challenging power.

In the job market, it will require employers to actually fire executives when they lie, cheat, steal, harass and otherwise mistreat their workers.

And at a cultural level, it will require any and all efforts to rescind and deny social status to those who have committed egregious war, financial and sexual crimes – and it will require doing that even if those miscreants wear nice suits and have gilded credentials.

This is no easy way forward and there are no shortcuts – but if we avoid this path, then the accountability-free zone will fortify itself and we will probably see the rise of an institutionalized form of moral hazard that dooms us to a tragic repetition of history.

Why are so few US politicians from the working class? Gute frage!
After all, if there are no social or professional consequences for those who lied a country into a trillion-dollar war that amassed hundreds of thousands of casualties – if that war’s architects can remain in good standing and in high-prestige jobs – what will deter any politician or pundit from supporting a similar military conflict when it is politically opportune?

If there are no legal consequences for profiteers who defrauded the global economy into a collapse, what will deter those profiteers from doing that again?

If there are no financial consequences for fossil fuel moguls who knowingly created an ecological crisis, what will deter them from continuing to try to profit off that crisis as the planet burns?

And if a petulant zealot like Kavanaugh can be credibly accused of sexual harassment, repeatedly distort the facts during his confirmation, temper-tantrum his way through congressional hearings and still get catapulted on to the nation’s highest court – what will deter any other power-hungry child of privilege from behaving in exactly the same way?

The answer is nothing – which is exactly the point for the aristocracy. But that cannot be considered acceptable for the rest of us outside the accountability-free zone.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

ALL CAPTIONS AND PULL QUOTES BY THE EDITORS NOT THE AUTHORS

Share
up
37 users have voted.

Comments

OLinda's picture

up
9 users have voted.

- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

dkmich's picture

@OLinda
He had their number long ago.

up
11 users have voted.

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

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

Big Al's picture

it's nothing new. Money talks, bullshit walks. That's as old as the hills. He's also right imo in that the only way to end the "accountability free zone" is for ordinary citizens to organize "enough to overcome already well organized money".
What to do with that organization is the question. He suggests "electing pro-accountability candidates for both parties". As stated in the Greenville intro, that's an establishment liberal solution. That's how the rich maintain their power, thru this two party system. It's going to take a different approach, and mentality (i.e., revolution) than that and until enough people decide to organize accordingly, the rich, thru our government, will continue doing whatever the fuck they want.

up
23 users have voted.

@Big Al @Big Al about the, "two party system," from of all places, Harvard Business School?

https://www.hbs.edu/competitiveness/Documents/why-competition-in-the-pol...

The political system isn’t broken. It’s doing what
it is designed to do...The starting point for understanding the problem is to recognize that our political system isn’t broken. Washington is delivering exactly what it is currently designed to deliver. The real problem is that our political system is no longer designed to serve the public interest, and has been slowly reconfigured to benefit the private interests of gain-seeking organizations: our major political parties and their industry allies.
...
By looking at our political system as the major industry it has become, the root causes of the failure of political competition become clear. The system is delivering what it has been designed to deliver—primarily, for the benefit of the duopoly and the political industrial complex that has grown around it. Most troublingly, many of the major actors in the system are thriving, even as close to 80% of Americans are dissatisfied, and political outcomes are abysmal.

Funny, I don't remember this hitting the news, coming from one of our presumably "premier" schools of upper echelon learning...

up
22 users have voted.
Big Al's picture

@ChezJfrey wealth, to keep the masses from being able to take it from them. So they're right, understanding the problem requires understanding the facts about our political system. It is not democracy, never has been and never will be so the only logical solution, for those that want democracy, is to change it. Somehow.

up
14 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Big Al
then people could organize and all could threaten not to vote if their respective representatives running wouldn't vote according to their own talking points.

There are not enough options to fire them by voting them out in the current system and not enough laws that would make the politicians' betrayal a criminal offense and as such punishable by law.

up
10 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@mimi

Quorum may not be the right word. There is no minimum number of votes required.

If only one person votes, whomever they vote for, wins.

If most of the nation refuses to vote in a federal election, and I believe that could happen, the UN would regard the election as illegitimate. I doubt the US would belong to the UN at that point.

up
15 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@Pluto's Republic  
Look at how the E.U. and NATO are pushing Macedonia to ignore the failure of the name-change referendum.

From the very beginning, the rules of the referendum said clearly that if turnout failed to reach 50%, it would be invalid.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/30/macedonia-to-vote-on-name-...

That’s the essence of U.S. power — the U.S. and its allies never follow the rules, not even their own. Adding to the absurdity is the talk from Western think tanks about the West wanting a “rules-based international order.”

up
8 users have voted.
dkmich's picture

@Big Al

a bloodbath and not theirs. I still plan to vote in 2018, but I think I'm on a path to where you are. I see less and less point in anything.

up
15 users have voted.

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

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Big Al Correct. I should have read through all the comments before adding my own version of this.

up
3 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Big Al "enough to overcome already well organized money"

I'm sure there will be some dem organization that will fund raise on this. After building a HQ for their non profit in Westport, Ct. on the water they will gladly disperse the remaining 10% of funds raised to more and better democrats, after salaries and perks for the senior management are paid out. They'll fight for us.

up
10 users have voted.
Wink's picture

post many of his tweets on FB.
His wife won her Primary, and is running for a Colo. State House seat next month, so... cross fingers.

up
13 users have voted.

the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

snoopydawg's picture

There can be no doubt that the government does not represent we the people in anyway. And it's not just this list of people who have not been held accountable for their spreading untold misery on us.

Let’s remember that in less than two decades, America has experienced the Iraq war, the financial crisis, intensifying economic stratification, an opioid plague, persistent gender and racial inequality and now seemingly unending climate change-intensified disasters. While the victims have been ravaged by these crime sprees, crises and calamities, the perpetrators have largely avoided arrest, inquisition, incarceration, resignation, public shaming and ruined careers.

One issue that has been left off this list is the police literally getting away with murder and mayhem. First they get away with murdering unarmed people and then when people gather to protest another death the police are then given permission to beat them up with no accountability.

We have been beaten down with one thing after another since the Reagan administration, but it was accelerated during Bush's tenure. Many of us felt like we had barely survived what happened during those 8 years and then we given a glimmer of hope when Obama came along with his bullshit campaign of Yes we can hope for change.

After everything that congress has done since Bush, since Obama, since Trump this is the thing that has broken me.

A Pet Food Betrayal Like None Other

Congress and FDA just eliminated laws that thousands of pets died for in 2007. We must demand those laws be put back and enforced. We must demand the pets that died for these laws be remembered.

****
Pet owners have waited, and waited and waited for assurance pet food is safe. And to make matters worse, FDA has time and time again told us they would complete the pet food safety work.

2008: “Within 2 years, FDA will issue new regulations to: Establish ingredient standards, definitions, and processing standards for pet food [animal feed].” and FDA announced a survey “to establish baseline information about consumer use and understanding of pet food labels.”

2009: “FDA continues to implement FDAAA as part of its public health mission. FDA has held numerous public hearings and meetings to address patient, consumer, health professional, and industry questions about implementation of specific provisions, particularly Title IX and Title X.” (Title X held Section 1002 (a)).

2015: FDA announced a “strategy to establish ingredient definitions and standards”.

2016: FDA stated the provisions in FDAAA Section 1002 (a) were written and important BECAUSE so many pets died in 2007. ”Overview of FDA’s Feed Safety System” “FDAAA: Title X of the Act has several provisions that apply to animal food safety that were in response to the dog and cat illness and deaths in the United States from pet food imported from China that contained melamine, cyanuric acid, and related compounds. Current Project Work Project A1. As required by the FDAAA, FDA will be establishing feed ingredient standards and definitions through the comment and rulemaking process. FDA is drafting a regulation to fulfill the mandate to establish standards and definitions.”

This is simply unacceptable for FDA to mislead pet owners for years. Further, had FDA had completed the work of FDAAA Section 1002 (a) by the deadline required, many more pets lives could have been saved…

****
More than 1,400 dogs became ill and or died linked to the above Beneful Pet Food situation. Experts estimate that the majority of the pet food recalls from September 28, 2009 (day after FDAAA Section 1002 (a) was required to be completed) to present day could have been prevented if FDA would have completed FDAAA Section 1002 (a) per the required date. We have no estimate to how many pets became ill or died due to FDA’s failure to complete this pet food safety requirement of FDAAA, though we are certain the number is significant.

Even today there is a serious pet food issue that most certainly could be the result of FDA’s failure to complete the requirements of FDAAA. FDA is investigating a link between canine heart disease and grain-free pet foods. FDA warned pet owners on July 12, 2018: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners and veterinary professionals about reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients.” Could this serious pet health issue be the result of FDA never developing ingredients standards for the ingredients in question (“peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes”)? It absolutely could be.

Our government is allowing corporations to poison our air, our water, our food and our medications and now we find out that they had not made sure that their legislation they passed to protect our pets was never put in place. Even with the weak protections in the EPA and other environmental laws that congress passed the corporations kept finding ways around them. Just look at how many people in NC are wading through pig shit, coal ash and gawd knows what other toxins. But even those weak protections cost to much profit for the corporations and they are being dismantled.

So if we have an illegitimate government does that mean that we should have to follow its laws? Where has that gotten us?

It's bad enough when we have to say goodbye to our beloved companions, it's another to watch them die painfully from contaminated food. Or contaminated jerky treats that comes from China or elsewhere.

What's in your pet food?

up
24 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

dkmich's picture

@snoopydawg

empathy? They'd rob their own mother's grave.

up
12 users have voted.

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

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

snoopydawg's picture

@dkmich

I've been calling them evil. That people put profits over every other thing regardless of how many people die because of it is evil.

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

Religion isn't the only thing that does this. As stated above politics do the same thing. I'm seeing countless comments about how if enough people get out and vote for the democrats then "we can change the direction of the country" and other such nonsense. One person said that the democrats have are moving towards socialism and have been since FDR, LBJ and Obama. I just shook my head.....

Stupid people do stupid things.

up
17 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg

I'm seeing countless comments about how if enough people get out and vote for the democrats then "we can change the direction of the country" and other such nonsense.

It's about slowing down the continual damage so that we can survive. I read in todays news that its now down to 12 years before we will be unable to prevent our destruction by climate change, according to a new United Nations report. If Republicans hold all 3 branches of government, that number could drop to under 10 years a lot sooner than 2 years from now. The fact is Obama was the main driving force behind the Paris climate agreement, Trump ripped it up. There is a critical difference in competence that could doom humanity.

up
3 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

lotlizard's picture

@Timmethy2.0  
Trump took the patient off the placebo.

If climate change were really a problem to The Powers That Be, there would be no war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia would have been told a while ago, in no uncertain terms: “You can’t afford it. All that money on weapons? You can’t afford it. You need that money to get yourself off selling fossil fuel. Those future revenues you’re counting on? They won’t exist.”

If climate change were really a problem to The Powers That Be, severe restraints on the Number One institutional user of fossil fuel — the U.S. military — would have been factored in a while ago.

The biggest producers aren’t showing any signs of stopping production and the biggest users aren’t showing any signs of stopping use.

The 99.99% are supposed to curb their energy use so that the 0.01% can continue to have it all?

I always thought the scientific case for climate change was watertight. But looking at the actual conduct of the world’s elites, I’m starting to call bullshit.

up
7 users have voted.

@lotlizard @lotlizard
Can you back up that statement a little more or is that part of a general smear campaign that you're unwittingly helping? I don't know and I'm not going to take your word for it until you tell me why the Paris Climate Agreement is a placebo and not until I hear why it isn't a placebo from the people who probably know best. After I'm informed I'll be in a better position to respond as to whether or not the PCA is a placebo. Can you at least give me some solid reasoning for why Trump ripped it up and why he has done nothing to replace it except to pretend that climate change doesn't exist? If anybody here can help me understand why no agreement is better than the PCA, given that we have at most 12 years before our fate is permanently decided, I'd appreciate that too.

up
0 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

snoopydawg's picture

@Timmethy2.0

It didn't go far enough to seriously stop the effects of climate change from happening. Even two years ago it was known that unless things were seriously changed then it's going to be too late to change what's coming. Temperatures still are still rising since the agreement was signed.

It's about slowing down the continual damage so that we can survive.

But that's the thing. This government doesn't want us to survive. IMO. Both parties take huge amounts of money from the oil and gas companies, the frackers and everyone else involved in doing things that are affecting the climate.

This is why we're seeing the massive tax cuts going to rich people while they are going to gut our social safety nets. Both parties are just as complicit in that. If democrats really wanted to stop republicans from doing this they would be on tv, twitter Facebook and telling everyone how bad it will be if they do it. The democrats are very quiet about this. Bernie is the only one who is saying anything about the massive wealth inequality affecting the country. Why is that?

The previous democratic presidents didn't do anything to help this from happening. Remember that it was Bill C who did welfare reform.

Yeah I know I threw in the kitchen sink, but the democrats won't do anything to stop the things that Trump is doing. Look at how of them voted for his cabinet picks.

up
6 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

@lotlizard

If climate change were really a problem to The Powers That Be, severe restraints on the Number One institutional user of fossil fuel — the U.S. military — would have been factored in a while ago.

The biggest producers aren’t showing any signs of stopping production and the biggest users aren’t showing any signs of stopping use.

Exactly! It's all BS when it's so obviously ignored per Pareto principle; chipping away negligible factors, here and there, does nothing, while the overwhelmingly largest and easily controllable factors are ignored, but would do the most good.

up
5 users have voted.

@ChezJfrey
and lotlizard, are you saying there is no climate crisis? Or are you saying the powers that be, led as ever by Big Oil, don't care?

When I see them behaving badly with respect to climate, I presume they don't care. Or I guess the softer view is that they don't believe there is a climate crisis. But either way, they will do nothing to change their way of doing business, especially with respect to rampaging military fueling.

up
3 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@Linda Wood  
I obviously cannot say and never will be able to say definitively what is true and not true . . .

However I now do feel in a position to say that, in my considered opinion, in the matter of climate change . . .

(1) What the (in this case, anti-Trump) elites claim to believe and say we the 99% should believe, and

(2) what they themselves truly believe as can be inferred from their actual behavior

(3) do not add up.

In particular, “believing climate change is real” is not consistent with “letting the Saudis and the U.S. military do whatever the heck they want.”

It’s just like “nuclear non-proliferation” or “a peace process leading to a two-state solution” are both revealed to be a farce by the West’s real policies, which may fairly be characterized as “letting the Israelis do whatever the heck they want.”

up
3 users have voted.

@Linda Wood @Linda Wood @Linda Wood @Linda Wood

The U.S. participation in the Paris Accord is meaningless. The NDC submitted by the U.S. consists of the following, from http://www4.unfccc.int/ndcregistry/PublishedDocuments/United%20States%20...

Domestic laws, regulations, and measures relevant to implementation:

Since 2009, the United States has completed the following regulatory actions:

• Under the Clean Air Act, the United States Department of Transportation and the United States Environmental Protection Agency adopted fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles for model years 2012-2025 and for heavy-duty vehicles for model years 2014-2018.
• Under the Energy Policy Act and the Energy Independence and Security Act, the United States Department of Energy has finalized multiple measures addressing buildings sector emissions including energy conservation standards for 29 categories of appliances and equipment as well as a building code determination for commercial buildings.
• Under the Clean Air Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of specific alternatives to high-GWP HFCs in certain applications through the Significant New Alternatives Policy program.

At this time:

• Under the Clean Air Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency is moving to finalize by summer 2015 regulations to cut carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.
• Under the Clean Air Act, the United States Department of Transportation and the United States Environmental Protection Agency are moving to promulgate post-2018 fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles.
• Under the Clean Air Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency is developing standards to address methane emissions from landfills and the oil and gas sector.
• Under the Clean Air Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency is moving to reduce the use and emissions of high-GWP HFCs through the Significant New Alternatives Policy program.
• Under the Energy Policy Act and the Energy Independence and Security Act, the United States Department of Energy is continuing to reduce buildings sector emissions including by promulgating energy conservation standards for a broad range of appliances and equipment, as well as a building code determination for residential buildings. In addition, since 2008 the United States has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from Federal Government operations by 17 percent and, under Executive Order 13693 issued on March 25th 2015, has set a new target to reduce these emissions 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Also, to include Executive Order 13693.

https://www.fedcenter.gov/programs/eo13693/
https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/19/executi...

But, what does EO13693 allow?

(c) The head of an agency may exempt law enforcement, protective, emergency response, or military tactical vehicle fleets of that agency from the provisions of this order other than this subsection. Heads of agencies shall manage fleets to which this paragraph refers in a manner consistent with the policy set forth in section 1 of this order to the extent they determine practicable.

So, tactical vehicles of the military might be exempt? Of course our military will jump on that, right? Sure enough, per the guidance documentation for MIL, Tactical Vehicles are exempt: https://www.acq.osd.mil/eie/Downloads/IE/DoD%20Guidance%20on%20EO%201369...

Never mind that all other fleet vehicles only comprise 4% of fuel usage for DoD, yet 97% of all DoD fuel consumption is from Military: https://www.acq.osd.mil/eie/downloads/reports/tab%20b%20-%20fy%202014%20...

31 Non-Tactical Fleet Vehicle Petroleum Consumption

Section 400FF of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended by EISA Section 142, requires Federal agencies to achieve a 20 percent reduction in non-tactical fleet vehicle petroleum consumption by FY 2015 compared to a FY 2005 baseline. EO13514 ex tends the reduction goal to 30 percent by FY 2020. Fleet vehicle fuel consumption accounts for about 4 percent of DoD’s facility energy consumption and largely consists of gasoline . Diesel fuel represents 21 percent of the fuel mix while alternative fuels make up the remaining fleet vehicles’ fuel mix. The Military Services account for slightly less than 97 percent of the Department’s petroleum consumption (Figure 3-8).

And 93% of the entire U.S. government's fuel consumption is due to military, burning through 90,000,000 barrels per year. Several sources, spanning different years, point to roughly the same number and ratio, here is just one:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/23/72279/

According to its own study, in 2013 the Pentagon consumed fuel equivalent to 90,000,000 barrels of crude oil.

...93 percent of the U.S. government energy consumption...

Earlier, I saw reference to:

The Department of Defense is burning through 300,000 barrels of oil a day [I calc to 109,500,000 per year], using more energy per soldier every year and its top import to Afghanistan is fossil fuels, the highest ranking US military officer said as he kicked off a Pentagon discussion on energy security.

In short, with a single stroke of the pen, a department that is under full control of our government, that would be required to adhere to any rule given by our governing body, that uses an overwhelming majority of fuel and pollution-contributing activity, is not part of the agreement and is explicitly exempt. If the objective is truly to reduce fuel consumption and reduce pollution, that would have the greatest effect and could be done easily and swiftly -- overnight. But they don't. What does that tell you?

It tells me that U.S. participation in the Paris Accord is meaningless. To demonize Trump for abandoning it is pointless, because the agreement was pointless. So what if the 4% factor of our DoD is reduced 25% per the agreement? (edit to clarify: they only measure their reduction on the applicable entities, so their stated reductions only apply to the smallest contributing segment. Since tactical are exempt, they don't factor into their "reduction" percentage calculations) What about the 97% factor that is exempt...the one that would make the best impact?

Oh, but they'll also recycle more paper, too...ironic considering that because of these new "regulations and guidance docs" we now print and distribute a million more pages, hire more "Energy Star Portfolio managers" and bureaucrats to monitor and supervise, that undoubtedly must travel to our thousands of facilities to oversee adherence.

This is all just a charade.

Rather than demonize Trump for withdrawing from the Accord, what should have happened is that millions of people and the media should have pounced on Obama for the sham to begin with; direct rage at the utter bullshit facade of "reducing" U.S. footprint by focusing on a minuscule, inconsequential factor, rather than the overwhelmingly largest, most relevant factor of the DoD's consumption and pollution. Not to mention ignoring other important facets, like the fact the U.S. Navy continually throwing a bunch of radioactive/toxic shit in the oceans and killing a bunch of marine life with explosives testing:

https://www.pacificislandtimes.com/single-post/2017/01/04/Peril-of-the-o...

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/aug/30/navy-dolphins-will-die-...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/expert-says-claim...

up
5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@ChezJfrey

it's also falling behind other country's military equipment. We're spending $700 billion a year on defense which is more than all other countries combined and yet we are losing the arms race to Russia. Russia is developing weapons that we cannot defend against and our new navy Air Force carriers are just tin cans waiting for Russian bombs to drop on them.

Israel is flying the f-35's which are no match for Russia's older missile defense systems which they just gave to Syria. Other countries are buying the newer Russian missile defense systems too. Turkey, Pakistan and some other countries have purchased the s-400's and Russia is now building even better ones. So while we whistling down the road Russia is passing us bye ....

Meanwhile as the country's infrastructure continues to decline congress passed another trillion dollar tax cut for rich people. This is not only insane it's asininely stupid.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/26/the-military-industria...

up
5 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

snoopydawg's picture

@lotlizard

If climate change were really a problem to The Powers That Be, severe restraints on the Number One institutional user of fossil fuel — the U.S. military — would have been factored in a while ago.

And not just stopping that, but stopping dropping bombs everywhere too. The amount of dust and pollution that puts into the atmosphere adds to the effect. Someone mentioned once that the week after 9/11 when no planes flew lowered the temperature or something, but it affected the climate. But using gazzillions of gallons of fuel every year to take over other countries oil fields is the most asinine act.

The Paris climate agreement went nowhere near what is needed. Kinda like the ACA.

up
4 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

@snoopydawg

But using gazzillions of gallons of fuel every year to take over other countries oil fields (and as you previously mentioned, throw tens of thousands of bombs on them) is the most asinine act.

That's all "climate/earth friendly?" NOT. Just complete bullshit.

up
5 users have voted.
Eagles92's picture

@Timmethy2.0 Voting Democratic ain't gonna "slow down" shit when it comes to climate change and the (currently inevitable) demise of our planet.

WAKE. THE. FUCK. UP.

up
3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@dkmich
Wink

up
3 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

It's amazing that the Guardian published it, they have sucked so badly for so long. Readers should boycott every ad placed in that newspaper until they stop with the sick propaganda.

Speaking of boycotts, I wanted to mention Citizen Oversight Projects, if you are unfamiliar with them. It's an approach that is changing governments, city, state, and I hope national. The idea is very simple one. Citizens simply vote on a petition to insert a citizen's oversight board into any government organization they wish to investigate.

Governments, after all, serve at the pleasure of the people.

In just the past year, citizens have voted themselves full oversight of the police departments in San Francisco, Miami, Denver, Honolulu, and New Orleans. They are seeking oversight of prosecutors, because of the corrupt way they are elected by the number of people they put in jail (with lies, threats, and plea deals). Citizens are sick of the broken lives and ruined families in their communities caused by over zealous, power-hungry prosecutors.

Citizen oversight will change the way vote counting (and election rigging) is conducted in San Diego. Oversight will define how elections are run, especially the trashing of absentee ballots and the closing of polling places to make it harder to vote in certain areas. They are building a case that will open the door to Citizen's oversight of the deepest levels of election activities throughout the nation. Similar cases are underway to oversee voting in Florida and Washington State, and many other cities and states.

Unsurprisingly, this is a backlash to the Democratic Party election rigging in 2016. Why wasn't anyone charged with that crime?

up
22 users have voted.
dkmich's picture

@Pluto's Republic

by right wingers just like the school boards. Having an open and government that truly represents the people shouldn't be this much work.

up
8 users have voted.

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

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

divineorder's picture

@Pluto's Republic

up
3 users have voted.

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

Pluto's Republic's picture

@divineorder

This is all the unintended consequences of the post-election government hoax that announced that the Russians had hacked the election results of 37 states...

But, it's a good thing in this case. Of course, a lot of people rely on the lack of paper ballots, so there will be some foot dragging....

up
0 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

it just keeps getting stalled by one trick after another. One of the judges decided to quit for no none reason.

The lawsuit against Hillary's money laundering is still happening too. I'm not sure what's going on with it, but there is still a small chance that both of them will end in our favor. $84 million isn't chump change. Plus she broke election laws by doing that and by hiring Fusion GPS to spy on Trump's campaign.

up
12 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

Centaurea's picture

@snoopydawg

I have a feeling the judge recused herself in order to delay the oral arguments until after the midterm elections. Having Jared Beck publicly exposing the DNC's shenanigans might put a damper on the "blue wave", don't'cha know. Blum 3

(The oral arguments were originally scheduled for last month. Last I heard, after the judge recused it was rescheduled for December.)

up
9 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

snoopydawg's picture

@Centaurea

I wouldn't put it past the democrats to play games like that. I don't see why they'd bother with doing that anyway. Most of the people that want to see the DNC lose will probably never vote for democrats again. Not after they pulled that stunt.

BTW. Did you hear that Perez said that he wouldn't be upset if any democrats voted for Kavanaugh*? This was about a week before anyone knew how many democrats would vote for him. Stay classy DNC.

up
10 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

Centaurea's picture

@snoopydawg

The DNC, classy. That reminds me of video I saw from the Philly convention. Hillary delegates, all dressed up in their nice suits and dresses, throwing things at Bernie delegates, many of whom were camping out since they couldn't afford the expensive hotels.

I'm sure they think they're classy, unlike us "basement dwellers" and the "deplorables" in flyover country. They really don't have a clue.

up
10 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

not Greenville...

up
4 users have voted.
dkmich's picture

@on the cusp

I could even see it written on the open tab. Woe is me. I will fiix it.

up
5 users have voted.

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

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

divineorder's picture

but I didn't get around to reading the whole thing. Thanks for the essay.

Good to see that some watchdog orgs will soldier on anyway...

up
7 users have voted.

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

The 19thy centurey Frédéric Bastia had a quote that perfectly summarizes were the West is at this point in time.,

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

I was watching the banksters in front of Congress and they truly believed their theft was morally and legally justified.

But what Sirota recommends is okay, but are the numbers there. Regardless of poll numbers about such issues as medicare for all, both gopers and democratis will not vote for politicans who advocate for their issues. Instead the voting base continues to vote for entrenched corrupted politicans.

George Orwell on purity testing.
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims... but accomplices”

up
14 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@MrWebster Where are the politicians that represent their interests for them to vote for?

They certainly tried to vote for a politician who at least said he represented their interests. Then they were prevented from voting via fraud and voter suppression, or, in caucus states, their actions in caucus were reversed by corrupt officials. They reacted with anger, understandably, and at least in one place, their anger was put on tape so they could be accused of attempting to physically harm political officials, including a United States senator.

That was all before the convention.

I admit that, once it became clear that the people were powerless, many refused to accept that and re-entrenched themselves in the Democratic party, becoming devoted supporters of the people who had just screwed them in the ear. There's a name for identifying with your tormentors. It's a syndrome, but I forget which one.

up
8 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@MrWebster I have a hard time believing George Orwell would apply such a maxim to a system that included endemic election fraud.

up
5 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

hecate's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
never applied that maxim to anything. Because he never wrote or said it. Just like he never wrote or said "in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

What he did write is that the world would coalesce into three superstates, all run by rat bastards. And: here we are.

up
6 users have voted.

@hecate
great to see you around!

up
3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@JtC
hecate in my mind was a she and I stick with that. Now you reveal she is a he and I am mad at you because you did that to me.... /s

ok, I hope you get my fake status of 'pissed at JtC' for your superman status of elite blog managers, who can kill all our dreams and aspirations with one push of a button. I had a 'man behind the curtain' once for my website and when I understood I would be dependent on his expertise, I said to myself 'forget about my website' ... I want my freedom back. That petty piece of shit freedom I 'enjoyed' afterwards, still gets my blood boiling.

Hi hecate, Wendy Davis would say Miz Hecate. I mean, I take Mister Hecate too ... I am not that 'fixed' on those gender thingies.
I just want to know why my mind and its imagination is always much stronger and more intelligent than all those other folks' ones. Smile

up
2 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@hecate Good to know.

How about this one? One of my favorites:

If there are certain pages of Mr Bertrand Russell's book, Power, which seem rather empty, that is merely to say that we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. It is not merely that at present the rule of naked force obtains almost everywhere. Probably that has always been the case. Where this age differs from those immediately preceding it is that a liberal intelligentsia is lacking. Bully-worship, under various disguises, has become a universal religion, and such truisms as that a machine-gun is still a machine-gun even when a "good" man is squeezing the trigger — and that in effect is what Mr Russell is saying — have turned into heresies which it is actually becoming dangerous to utter.

up
3 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

hecate's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
think is that said bully-worship is on this site in full display, in the slobbering lickspittle for The Hairball, Putin, and Xi. The trifecta.

up
0 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@hecate LMAO

You're welcome to think whatever you like, of course.

up
0 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@hecate This one I also like:

At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is 'not done' to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was 'not done' to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.

up
3 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal With something I was reading, yesterday, at The Saker.

https://thesaker.is/freedom-and-other-illusions-american-culture-as-illu...

No writer that I know of has laid out the role of myth within a culture with more clarity and concision than former philosophy professor John Kozy:

“Those who use Internet media to rightly point out the lies and misdeeds of both the government and the propaganda press are indefatigable in their efforts, having, it seems, adopted the maxim that says the truth will set us free. But it won’t! It never has! It never will! The claim is a legendary lie. Too few people care enough about truth for it to matter. Common people are too busy fulfilling instinctive tasks such as acquiring sustenance, shelter, and reproducing to trouble themselves with esoteric questions. So, as any social critic knows, critical efforts fall on deaf ears and blind eyes. The truth, when brought to light, is merely ignored.

In fact, no culture was ever created to discover and disseminate truth. None exists for that purpose today. A culture exists to promote a group’s existence. Cultures are instruments of preservation. Cultures are defined by myths. Unless a culture’s myths are known, its nature cannot be understood.

The myths, although obviously false, are often considered as historical truths, and a culture’s institutions are used to inculcate them. Once inculcated in the minds of people, the myths are almost impossible to expunge. Ears are deafened and eyes are blinded. The social critic is neither heard nor seen. The culture uses its ability to ignore the social critic as a defensive tactic. Ignorance defends the culture, and the culture’s educational institutions promote the ignorance. The institution cannot be divorced form its culture. In any culture, truth is something to be avoided and kept hidden.”

There exists – at least, for this writer – far more “truth” in what Kozy writes above than in what all the well-meaning people now endlessly preach to the “already-converted.” As it always was, to “tell the truth” is now synonymous with being ignored

up
3 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@ChezJfrey @ChezJfrey Well, of course I realize that the truth will not set us free. That said, I intend to continue discovering and expressing it to the best of my ability. So does the philosophy professor in question. In fact, he himself is participating in the "myth" by engaging in one of its preferred activities, debunking! I'd like to know what he thinks he's doing in that comment if he isn't telling the truth in order to enlighten others.

It's very difficult to function without a concept of truth, and those who attempt to dispense with it, or to denigrate truth-telling as a function, generally end up caught in one of these paradoxes, where they themselves are functioning as fearless debunking truth-tellers, without, of course, using the word "truth" or acknowledging that fact. Almost the entirety of the post-structural movement--at least in English-speaking countries--functioned in exactly that way for decades.

But more to the point, "truth," by itself, certainly can't set us, or anybody, free. That requires power and a plan. (Truth can help with the second of these requirements once you have the first, as a plan based on truth is generally better than a plan based on lies.) Although I suppose it depends on what you are trying to set free. Personally, I'm trying to keep my mind as free as possible, under the circumstances. That kind of freedom can, of course, be aided by individuals, and communities, dedicated to truth-telling.

If you abandon the notion of truth-telling because it has only mythical benefit, a benefit which, if you believe in it, only enmeshes you further into the service of established power, the alternative is to hand your mind over to whichever dispenser of propaganda looks nicest to you, and repeat its talking points until you reach a merciful death.

In other words, I'm not dedicated to truth-telling because I believe telling the truth, by itself, engenders liberation, revolution, or even reform. I'm dedicated to it because I intend for my mind to be as free from external control as I can manage.

up
0 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

hecate's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
The orthodoxy on this site is extreme and unnatural.

up
0 users have voted.
dkmich's picture

up
7 users have voted.

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

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

issue and his historical frame. Few people are willing to describe the shift that's happened in American society over the past 15 years, or the past 40.

That said, he of course ends with a rousing plea for republican (small r) electoral activism, where we are supposed to elect pro-accountability politicians and then "force them" to hold elite criminals accountable. The former suggestion might not be impossible, but is highly improbable, and if one needs evidence of what will happen should such a candidate arise, one need go no further than the Sanders campaign--and Sanders is, comparatively speaking, rather a milquetoast on such issues. Nonetheless, the princess-and-the-pea establishment screams like they're being stabbed even when Sanders is gently prodding them with a dessert spoon, and look where Bernie Sanders giving one speech that held the powerful accountable on a few fronts got us. Look at where it got him. We got treated to a clinic on fraud. The more recent unpleasantness in New York state indicates that such things go on downballot as well (no surprise). Neither David Sirota nor anybody else has any effective answers to any of this except to talk vaguely about it being a "hard road."

To quote the late, great Joseph Welch, "I'll say it's hard!"

But what takes the cake is his second prescription for our ills: "forcing them" to hold people accountable.

I gotta go, so I'll leave y'all to fill in why that's more than a bit unbelievable.

EDIT: OK, back from getting medical labs done for my partner. Why it's more than a bit implausible that we will "force" politicians to hold the elite accountable: we just did that. Ten years ago, we elected people on all fronts who were supposed to hold the elite accountable, at least in the sense of, in Barack Obama's words, not allowing them to buy every chair at the table. There was plenty of lobbying in favor of both single-payer and a public option; we all know how that ended up. There was massive public support for holding Wall St acountable, and we know how *that* ended up. The public was more than ready to get the military out of the Middle East, and I guess I'm supposed to cheer the fact that Obama drew down troops in Iraq. But honestly, what the hell do I care if he drew down troops in Iraq, when he just sent them to what, five more wars in the Middle East that got started under his administration? Were the warmongers held accountable?

I could go on for several more paragraphs, but the bottom line is this: the American people gave the Democrats as much power as they possibly could over two electoral cycles, and the Democrats responded by continuing Republican policies on almost every front. In fact, they often specifically continued the polices of the Bush administration. When they weren't doing this, they were wringing their hands about the Republican abuse of the filibuster, while refusing to reform it in a way that would make the Republicans unable to abuse it. In fact, Jeff Merkley got spanked and stood in the corner by Harry Reid for attempting to organize an inside/outside strategy for doing just that. They had four and a half months, total (not consecutive) of a 60-vote supermajority where they absolutely could have produced such legislation. It could have been gotten ready in preparation for the next time they reached 60 votes, and then the Republicans would have been helpless to engage in the wholesale obstruction they had decided on. But then the Democrats wouldn't have had an excuse for their failure to implement good policy.

There were exceptions, like Jeff Merkley and Henry Waxman and a few others, but all of them have by now been corralled into the party veal pens--or have sensibly retired.

There's no point in talking like Jan 2009-Jan 2011 didn't exist, but people do it constantly, every time they want to promote an electoral strategy.

up
14 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

change some of the tenses and pronouns and it reads like it could be a decree on how things are going to be. Pretty soon, there won't be too many that will remember a time when republicans weren't the center of the universe and anything before will be old, old incomprehensible history.

It's been defeat after defeat for so long, and the people that we voted for to look after our need just strung us along. So far, I haven't read any effective way to fight back. Stop buying the feel good stuff and concentrate on the essentials? Healthcare, education, food, clothing, housing...these are already becoming unaffordable. Pick 2 out of 3, but you can't have it all. How do we fight back? Eventually passive resistance and protest will come under Homeland Security and their grab bag of criminal charges, and a nice fat little digital file on you.

It looks more and more like we lost a long time ago, and game over.

up
6 users have voted.
dkmich's picture

@Snode

I often discuss with early boomer friends how sad it is that we will be the last generation to benefit from all the policies that were in place around us. We could earn a substantial living with HS degree. We had people and political parties working to protect and clean up our environment, promote civil and human rights, support education, and take care of our seniors. Now all the Millenials have is a bunch of vultures picking at their live bodies.

up
8 users have voted.

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

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

@dkmich @dkmich It is often pointed out that things were far from perfect back then, for a lot of people. It feels like we are confronting those things now, but the only people that care are the people we're allies with, and we can't help but piss each other off. The thing is, as crappy as it might have been under the surface, you could somehow find a way to get by. Now we're just up against the wall.

up
5 users have voted.
dkmich's picture

@Snode

There was an American Dream and a real middle class. It was possible to want your children to do better. Compare it to today. I won't apologize for the people who made it up and tried to make it better.

up
7 users have voted.

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

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

@dkmich What you say is true. Even if you didn't end up making it up and out you could still make a life, get by. The treatment of then minorities and women was baked in, too. Today millennials,(and us) are fighting that out, (but with allies) because the other side doesn't care, and day by day everything is slipping away. That's all. I wasn't asking for an apology, or laying down an insult or anything.

up
4 users have voted.
dkmich's picture

@Snode

I didn't take it that way from you, but I was thinking ahead to others who might begrudge it. There are people who would say it was "white privilege" and therefore somehow wrong. What was wrong about it wasn't that some had it, it was that all didn't. We always seem to want to tear things down to the lowest common denominator. As long as its fair, who cares if its miserable and useless.

up
3 users have voted.

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

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

@dkmich I go off on tangents, a lot. Been thinking a lot of the social justice thing. It's got truth to it,but.... I am thinking it's like you and your dog, You love each other, but the dog messes up and all you can think to do is yell and hit them with a rolled up magazine. That's the left today. Your neighbor next door hates you and dreams of pulling out his .357 and killing you both. That's the right. While the dogs getting trained the world outside is changing into something unrecognizable and hostile to you, and nothing you do changes it.

This prob. offends someone, but if the only thing that's important is the pee spot on the rug (democratic party) we're screwed.

up
1 user has voted.
mimi's picture

Brazil’s Bolsonaro-Led Far Right Wins a Victory Far More Sweeping and Dangerous Than Anyone Predicted. Its Lessons Are Global, I think one should listen.

As a result of last night’s truly stunning national election in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro has been instantly transformed from marginalized clown into the overwhelmingly dominant force in the country’s political life. Bolsonaro himself fell just short of winning the 50% needed to win the presidency without a run-off.

But given the margin of victory, he is the overwhelming favorite to win on October 28 against the second-place candidate, ex-São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad. Haddad is the previously unknown, hand-picked successor anointed by Lula, the ex-two-term President who had been leading all polls until he was convicted on dubious corruption charges and quickly imprisoned so as to bar his candidacy, then silenced by Brazil’s right-wing judiciary with a series of remarkable prior restraint censorship orders barring all media outlets from interviewing him.

Bolsonaro won with most demographic groups. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro won a shocking 60% of all votes cast, winning every neighborhood and district, most with more than 50% of the votes cast.
...
What was most startling was how wildly inaccurate Brazil’s typically reliable polling data turned out to be, under-estimating the far-right wave by such a massive quantity that it’s difficult to describe in words.

...
Perhaps most alarming is that the more hateful and fascist candidates proved themselves the better they did. Last week, one candidate from Bolsonaro’s party, Rodrigo Amorim, shocked and disgusted even some far-right supporters...The last line of his social media post – now deleted – read: “Get ready left-wingers: your days are numbered if we’re in charge.”
...
In sum, it is virtually impossible to overstate the threat level posed to democracy and human rights in the world’s fifth most-populous country as a result of last night’s election.
...
The standard establishment reaction in the face of rising demagogues like Bolsonaro is to denounce those who support them, to call them names, to heap scorn on them, to sanctimoniously lecture them that their choices are primitive, retrograde, ignorant and illegitimate. That only serves further to exacerbate the dynamic.
...
Unfortunately for the 210 million people who live in Brazil, last night’s election was one of the most vivid and terrifying examples yet of this proposition.

But it will by no means be the last, or the worst. It’s all part of a global trend, undermining liberal democracies, fueled by their own failures, that has no end in sight.

Quite the contrary: the trend seems to be accelerating, with each country’s similar movement synergistically feeding and strengthening one another.

We have now Jews in the AfD (the far right nazi-past-glorifying party) in Germany. To prove they are not anti-semitic. Their hate goes against the Muslims now. Call me confused.
Opinion Germany's Nazi-friendly, anti-Semitic Far Right Have a New Mission: Recruiting Jews

The far-right Alternative for Germany, in parliament and rising in the polls, wants an ethnically pure, authoritarian Europe. It feeds anti-Semitism, Holocaust revisionism and anti-migrant violence. How could a single Jew join them?

Yeah, how could they, I ask myself that too.
FUBAR.

up
9 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@mimi  
and neutralize the tendencies you mention.

If there are enough of them and they work diligently together with others both inside and outside the party, over time, they can probably force the AfD to “get its mind right” regarding Jews and Israel.

That’s what happened to the Green and alternative Left spectrum that the Taz.de newspaper used to represent.

Nowadays, Israel can massacre a peace flotilla, bomb Gaza neighborhoods to smithereens, decimate unarmed protesters with snipers — from the Greens, the alternative Left, and the Taz? At most, a few tremulous, heavily qualified expressions of faint remonstration.

Germany selling a whole fleet of nuke-missile-capable submarines to Israel? Greens, counterculture Left, what used to be the peace movement — they’re all for it.

The new, rising far Right in several European countries has close ties to Israel — for example, Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands.

The new, rising far Right in many European countries takes Israel’s unapologetic hyper-nationalism, ethnocentrism, and uninhibited pride in all things military as a role model.

“Israel doesn’t accept any immigrants that don’t belong to its preferred ethnic group and Leitkultur [meaning Jews and Judaism]. Why should we?”

Those right-wing-organized marches in Saxony that has everyone in an uproar? Look closely — here and there, a few of the supposed “neo-Nazis” are holding Israeli flags.

up
4 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@lotlizard

The AfD argues that the more Muslim migrants, the more anti-Semitism — so, if anyone is creating incubator conditions for anti-Semitism, it’s not their party, but rather all the others who are facilitating Muslim migration.

I get that and to me that just means that they use xenophobic and racist policies and feeling of some Israeli in Isreal to cause more anti-semitism by using Muslim migration to Germany as a tool to cause more anti-migrant xenophobia (against Muslims). It seems to me to be a double whammy of xenophobic assault against both, Jews and Muslims (and as a consequence an assault on Germans, who would be glad not to be drawn into that bullshit). I am sure there is a division in Israel and among Jews in Germany and Europe about the idea of joining right-wing extremist parties with the intent to reverse their right-wing policies. I think it's a quite a low and dirty move. It is new to me and rather shocked about it.

Jews (who joined the AfD) probably think they can reverse (anti-semitism) and neutralize the tendencies you mention.

If there are enough of them and they work diligently together with others both inside and outside the party, over time, they can probably force the AfD to “get its mind right” regarding Jews and Israel.

If they (the Jews joining the AfD) think that, they need to get their minds right. Horrible mistake and betrayal, imo.

But it confuses me so much that I need to read more and think through it further. Thanks for your response.

up
3 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@mimi  
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=pal%E4stinenser+berlin+israelische+flagge

https://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2017-12/laggen-verbrennung-recht...

That kicked off a discussion in Germany about whether anti-Semitism was on the rise, and whether “importing Muslims” meant “importing anti-Semitism.”

This was probably inevitable given the fact that it was Palestinian Muslims and not neo-Nazis breaking the quasi-taboo on anti-Israel symbolic acts.

up
2 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@lotlizard
Germany. Sorry, have no nerves for that.

up
1 user has voted.
lotlizard's picture

@mimi  
it was the AfD who spotlighted the case as a serious, horrible crime though.

Other voices weighing in on the case seemed strangely abstract, inclined to play it down as just one regrettable data point within a larger sociological pattern.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/suspect-in-murder-of-german-jewish-teen-ar...

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

This is one of a series of high-profile crimes by asylum seekers that has led to a fraught political conversation about German migrant policy, hardened anti-migration sentiments, and contributed to the entry of Alternative for Germany into the parliament of Germany in the 2017 elections.

The murder sparked a political debate in Germany on how [murder suspect Ali Bashar] had been allowed to remain in Germany after his asylum application was rejected in 2016. Politicians, such as Christian Lindner (FDP) also raised questions on how the suspect along with his family were able to leave Germany using fake identities.

The AfD argues that the more Muslim migrants, the more anti-Semitism — so, if anyone is creating incubator conditions for anti-Semitism, it’s not their party, but rather all the others who are facilitating Muslim migration.

up
3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@lotlizard
more closely. A rape is a rape, no matter who does the rape and who has been raped. That this is used in a political debate to promote your party's profile, just digusts me.

up
1 user has voted.
lotlizard's picture

@mimi  
a German-Jewish intellectual who sees Europe’s embrace of mass Muslim migration as self-destructive and agrees with the AfD’s stance against it.

Attempts by the Left at solidarity with Muslims and Arabs, Broder denounces as the Left linking arms with barbarism and anti-Semitism.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henryk_M._Broder

Broder maintains, and writes for, a blog called Achse des Guten (“Axis of Good”):
https://www.achgut.com/

up
2 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@lotlizard
you talk about David Broder, who was a well known journalist with the Washington Post.

Well, I guess I will try to learn a bit of his namesake Henryk then.

When I worked as a little assistant archiving and filing mouse with the dpa in their Washington office, the higher ups and in the know people there told me about one specific writer at the Washingtone Post, you almost wouldn't need to read, as his opinion pieces were predictable. He covered anything German and German history and Nazi Holocaust etc. I don't remember his name. There are just authors like that. And I don't know if he was Jewish or not. It's 27 years ago. So forgive my fading memories.

up
1 user has voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@mimi Nobody wants to talk about why this happens, beyond a general hand-wringing about the racism and xenophobia (and sometimes also sexism and homophobia)of the general public of whatever nation we're talking about. Nobody understands the racism and xenophobia that exists particularly well, either. But don't try to bring any nuance to that discussion, or even analyze it rationally, or you yourself will be called a racist or a xenophobe.

I don't agree with John Maynard Keynes on everything, but sometimes I think I know how he must have felt in the years 1918-1920. I find the lack of rational response to today's politics quite maddening. If Nazism is resurgent, surely it would be helpful to actually talk about why, and how, it is claiming such ground. Instead, much of the response appears to be basically this:

up
2 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

mimi's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
like being a Nazi or being a Commie or being a racist, doesn't touch me much. At the same token, calling someone that, isn't what I would advise someone to do, as very few people can accept it and feel insulted and get furious about it. On the other hand everybody has the right to behave like a shithead and call people names etc. What they can't do is crossing lines and act threatening.

It is quite a difference, when there is more than just name calling involved. And from the images I see in German TV coverage about the tensions of Pegida, AfD, CSU and on demonstrations and from Vox Pop (reporters taking comments from people on the streets, the voice of the people) vs die Linke etc. is more than that. There is quite some violent verbal and guesturing involved, which is scary. I do believe that these
link

link

link
show enough to understand that there is more than handwringing involved. Most people underestimate and are in denial about violent potential of haters.

I haven't been in Germany for the last 37 years. I remember demos in Berlin in 1967. They were different.

I remember how scared my mother at age 14 was back in 1934, when in her church the SS and SA were standing in the back of the church to check on Pastor Niemoeller. I can't help being reminded of those images. Today's imagery comes close to that. TV discussion panels on German TV I find actually much better than in the US. That's at least one little consolation.

As to the question of why and how Nazism is resurging in Germany, I have some vague explanations, but I don't think that those help anyone. I feel like talking is silver, being silent is gold, and walking and doing is like diamonds in the raw. (Sorry for my lacking English skills).

up
1 user has voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@mimi
What was most startling was how wildly inaccurate Brazil’s typically reliable polling data turned out to be, under-estimating the far-right wave by such a massive quantity that it’s difficult to describe in words.

I can't help but wonder if this election was graced by an accurate vote count, or whether it was fixed, as is the current fashion.

But maybe that's just because I'm an American. It's easy for us to see election fraud everywhere, because there's so much of it here.

up
3 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

mimi's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
which author you trust, not which newspaper, TV channel, magayine, blog as a whole.

What you read on the intertubes increases the insecurity to decide who and what is trustworthy.

In Cameroon they need up to two weeks to count the votes. Plenty of time to fix the count... Wink

Brazil, I have no clue, but I trust Greenwald. I trust the German voting system to be accurate so far at least... may be I learn otherwise... but don't expect it.

And so far I don't see conspiracies everywhere so far, but lots of denial and lies for the sake of saving ones face and dignity, be it justified or not. I love pigs. But actually just the real ones, not those humans who call other pigs or behave like pigs themselves.

Just for fun:
me 8 month old_edited-1.jpeg
I was always a confused baby. Nothing has changed about that. Smile

up
1 user has voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@mimi As for how they could recruit Jews, well, they probably can't recruit Jews unless they are Zionists. If they are Zionists, then they've already decided that their main problem with Nazism is that it targeted Jews. If it targets somebody else, they don't seem to mind.

up
3 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

That's the lesson of the 1920s and 30s when, even before the global collapse into the Great Depression, economic liberalization and international finance after World War One led to the erosion and disintegration of a secular, liberal order.

The Weimar Republic is merely the best known example. Like proverbial dominoes, constitutional republics and the politics of the center collapsed across Europe in the period between the World Wars.

The lesson for all us, then as now: Social Democracy is a temporary expedient, easily cast-off, to be replaced by authoritarian orders at the first signs of collapse.

Between the Wars, Far-right regimes seized power, first in Italy in 1926, leading to Fascist coups and civil wars spreading from Spain, Hungary, Greece, Poland, and Japan.

Out of World War Two, transnational capitalism emerged triumphant in the West, but temporarily constrained by the emergent power of a vast middle-class, the political parties and unions of which have been systematically coopted and declined since 1970.

This movement to the right has been in large part a conscious policy of political regime change as much as some sort of structural process determined by changes in population and prices.

We see in recent decades the same dynamic of the rise of insurgent capital and decline of democracy only to repeat the cyclical emergence of global fascism and world war half a century later.

This repeating cycle shows that alliances between liberal parties and labor and the willingness of elites to make economic concessions are temporary expedients, easily cast off.

Meanwhile, Capital is like the cockroach, which has survived even asteroid strikes and Ice Ages.

up
3 users have voted.