Open Thread - 12-09-22 - The Pendulum

My generation. Born of world war. Born of a conflagration so great it caused humanity to pause and reassess itself. Standing on the brink will do that. My generation was born of the "greatest generation", and was weaned by middle class affluence. It was one of those times in history when the pendulum swung in favor of the common man. It was a time when capitalism worked, and not just for the wealthy. Capitalism had prevailed over communism. It was that dualism that gave birth to my generation. Enlightened pols had gone against the grain of opulence and levied hefty taxes on the rich that paved the way for decades of prosperity. That prosperity defined my generation, but it also set us on the trajectory to the present.

boomers.jpg

The opulent rode the pendulum as well as the middle class in a symbiotic dance of affluence. Great strides were taken on that path of humanity. Rights were gained and codified into law. Many of the poor were lifted up into the middle class. Cooperation became the rule rather than the exception. It was, after all, the Age of Aquarius. The future was bright.

But, as pendulums do, it reaches an apex and then swings back in the opposite direction. The juxtaposition of the rich to the poor can also be described as a pendulum. Throughout history it has swung back and forth from benevolence to oppression.

The monied class, in its infinite greed, is now swinging the pendulum arm back in its favor. The fiscal regulations that fueled the middle class have been greatly diminished and in some cases done away with entirely. The wealth gap has widened, again. The middle class is disappearing. Again, as always, the monied class is reaching for the stars. And with the help of technology they may reach that goal with this swing of the pendulum.

Could it really be that simple? Can fiscal regulation return us to prosperity? Prosperity for all and not just for the rich? Can capitalism still work, if we return to high taxes on the wealthy?

If so, it will take leaders with the will to make it happen. Leaders that are not beholding to the uber wealthy. Leaders that work for the good of all of their constituents. Leaders that no longer have to chase re-election by lobbyist, spurred on by Citizens United. Leaders with a vision beyond their own greed. If not, this time, the pendulum may never swing back in the favor of the common man.

Or will it take another world wide conflagration for We The People to re-learn that lesson?

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it's a gas.

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usefewersyllables's picture

feed the poor, 'til there are no rich no more...

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

@usefewersyllables
because that digital door may be about to close.

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Once in a while there comes someone who inspires us but fails to gain traction and fades away. Mostly we have lackeys instead of leaders. The pendulum isn't swinging, it swung a long time ago. My take on the period of prosperity that built the middle class is that the tax system built in the 30's, then solidified when we went to ww2, was carried over without much question into the 60's. High tax rates on the wealthy, business oriented taxes on corporations, stock market guard rails and big reins on commercial and savings banks held the baser instincts of the greedy at bay. Millions of willing workers, just waiting to get back to their lives.

The 60's saw a president, his brother and a minister, leaders all, assassinated. There were some of the biggest demonstrations, biggest riots and biggest political involvement by ordinary people in decades. We thought we won something, but in the end we just woke the sleeping giant of wealth and power. So, here we are, after decades of both parties dismantling the framework of that prosperity, we pay the price. Our kids and grand kids will keep paying it, until there is no one left to testify that there were better days in the USA, once upon a time.

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@Snode
my friend. A great description of the ebb and flow of wealth distribution.

Do we have leaders? No. Mostly we have grifters out to enrich themselves, the raison dêtre of modern politics. Violent repression has always been their tool of power.

The modern propaganda machine fails to remind us of better days and of the importance of regulations in regards to equality. That is no surprise when the wealthy own the machine. This piece was a gentle reminder of those better days, however distant they may be.

I do hope for another swing in said pendulum.

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@JtC @JtC Acceptance of gays, cell phones recording police violence and abuse. The people ARE influencing society, asserting their sense of fairness. I think OWS could have been a turning point. It would have been ugly. It truly frightened those in power. All levels of law enforcement were primed for massive retaliation against the demonstrators, Obama authorizing it on the federal level with complete cooperation with local police. Police going undercover, seeking leaders to discredit, conspiracies to concoct, indictments to serve. If only the police were as concerned over RW militias.

There were no "leaders" to arrest, little violence from demonstrators. If lethal force was used, it would resemble Israeli troops against Palestinian civilians. It would show much of our justice system is more Abu Ghraib than a jury of peers, demonstrations more Tienanmen Square than the rights of people to protest. I am glad it didn't come to a violent end. Maybe change will come. I hope that people find more and creative ways to change things, because we proved we can still wield power in unanticipated ways.

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ggersh's picture

it's a feature not a bug of the system. Empty suit turning his
back on the people proved that voting will not change a thing.

https://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/

The suspicions that the system is rigged in favor of the largest banks and their elites, so they play by their own set of rules to the disfavor of the taxpayers who funded their bailout, are true. It really happened. These suspicions are valid.”

Neil Barofsky, TARP Inspector General

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Why is it amerika's the only country in the world who
has a military that's based on a profit motive.

@ggersh
not forget Bubba's contribution.

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@JtC to take down the "New Deal." The GWB through Biden add ons would have been ever so much more difficult to enact.

Should have voted for GHWB in 1992 -- and spent the next four years rejecting his agenda: NAFTA, cap gains tax reduction, and his stupid flag burning amendment.

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@Marie
big "yup" from me.

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enhydra lutris's picture

had a little clout and a whiff of rebellion was in the air, as always. subtly presaged by the arts; and not just painting and sculpture, but music for sure, the angry young men, the beats and eventually the hippies, whose non-political life was a massive political statement. People of all kinds were ready and willing to get out into the streets over a myriad of things, civil liberties and civil rights (not completely the same thing), labor rights and organizing, academic freedom, womens' equality, access to the trappings and activities of "normal" life for the visually, hearing and physically impaired and, of course, ending war, not just 'Nam, but all wars.

AS you note, leaders will be needed, but also vast hordes of followers and those who aid and abet, and, if history is a guide, it might be best if they brought along some at least figurative torches and pitchforks.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris
it took unions that were willing to bust heads. They were sold out.

The future belongs to the young, as it was for us back in the day. The propaganda machine has convinced many that there is no hope. We shall see, or not.

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@JtC
that declined to repeal Taft-Hartley. (Truman did his bit by vetoing it, but alas the GOP Congress was eating its Wheaties.)

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@Marie
big "yup" from me.

Thanks Marie.

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Lookout's picture

...and so offers no solution and in fact is a primary cause of the problems with our current system.

Outside of government we can build community which is a valid alternative...unless they make doing so illegal (which isn't beyond the realm of possibility). TPTB are drunk with power...
Dutch Government To Seize And Close 3,000 Farms To Comply With EU Environmental Rules
...and don't give a damn about the people (or the climate). The globalists march onward to fulfill their demented agenda. Russia has created a speed bump at least.

Rained about a 0.5" this morning and 3.3" the other day. Our water table is back up to normal. Hope TX is recharging too. Thanks for the OT!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
government is captured. I was going to make a correlation between our government and it being ran like a corporation. But in quick retrospect that notion isn't valid. Corporations are bound by law to do what's best for the share holders or face consequences. The US government not so much.

TPTB are drunk with power, and, the wish to retain power as the system they created goes belly up, and, to keep their heads from the gallows, metaphorically speaking.

We've been getting some much needed rain and more coming this weekend. Thanks for dropping in.

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@JtC that one of the most basic and essential actions that might be taken to reverse or at least slowdown the slope we've been on would be to add a clause to the statement "Corporations are bound by law to do what's best for the share holders or face consequences" which says:

Except where the actions of the corporation are detrimental to the survival of that corporation.

I would disagree a bit about the government not being subject to oversight. It is, just that somewhere along the way... and those who were paying attention knew when that was the oversight was subverted by the money class.

The subversion went into high gear with the Raygun non-presidency and from that point on the thieves and corrupters took a pivotal place in the decision centers and the principled were left on the figurative wayside.

"In God We Trust" and "Profit Uber Alles" became the nation's motto instead of "E Pluribus Unum".

The Silent Generation.

Thanks very, very much for what you do.

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@exindy
thank you for that. You're correct about the governmental oversight as well.

"Profit Uber Alles", exactly.

Thank you very much for joining in with us, exindy.

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@exindy I disagree with the comments about corporations. They are too focused upon the corporation and the shareholders.

Corporations/shareholders receive benefits from the people (through the government) (e.g. enforcement of property rights, limited liability, etc). The primary clause in a corporate charter should be that it "shall not work against the interests of the public" that is granting those benefits to it.

That might be restated as "First, do no harm".

Externalizing costs (pollution), exploiting labor and "the commons" are all in the financial benefit of the corporations and shareholders. Therefore, the goals of the corporation need to come after it has ensured that the grantors of the benefits (the public at large) are not being damaged.

It might also be good to do as was done long in the past and require that the corporation is established to work for a purpose in a designated time period. Once the goal is achieved, the corporation's business is over and the corporation is dissolved and the assets distributed to the shareholders. Immortal/eternal corporations are unlikely to be a benefit to the general public.

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Cassiodorus's picture

-- in a complete way -- when Stalin died.

One recalls Isaiah Berlin's first two visits to Leningrad, one during Stalin's tenure, in 1946, and then one in 1956. Berlin described Stalin as an erratic schoolmaster, and the Soviet people as enthusiastic students. In the visit after Stalin, Berlin experienced the authoritarian rule established by Stalin as having devolved unto routine, and the Soviet people as no longer enthusiastic.

Stalin's methods sucked bigtime, but the one thing Che Guevara had noticed about him was that he had tried, and that the Soviet Union of Guevara's tenure was not really trying to give the world socialism. Stalin no doubt thought he was being dynamic when he killed or imprisoned all the Old Bolsheviks, surrounded himself with yes-men, and went on periodic rampages against his own people, that he was being an updated version of Peter the Great or something like that. In that light, Che Guevara appears, today, as the last gasp of a sort of "do something! Anything!" notion of communism. One recalls Philip Short's biography of Pol Pot, in which Short details how Pol Pot, or Saloth Sar if you will, suddenly disbanded the Cambodian Communist Party in 1981, as if to say "ha ha, we never really meant it anyway."

Yesterday, Democracy Now had a Russian marxist on the show, Boris Kagarlitsky. Watch the linked video -- this is your chance to see this guy in the flesh. One of the things Amy Goodman asked Boris Kagarlitsky was of what was going to happen after Vladimir Putin's tenure as ruler of Russia, and Kagarlitsky predicted more chaos, instability, and decline. He did not think the Russian people were sufficiently organized to generate any other outcome.

Now, as for the monied class in the US, their domination is also complete, and the reality is the one described at the millennium by Robert Brenner in his books -- that of a vast surplus of capital looking for outlets.

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"you can say what you want about this country and I love this place. I love the freedoms we used to have..." -- George Carlin

@Cassiodorus
to "Capitalism had prevailed over communism" was more about the national question of communism that scared the bejesus out of a lot of wealthy folks and helped bring about the adoption of the New Deal and later was put to bed along with McCarthy. I wasn't clear on that in my haste to publish.

Your point on Stalin's form of communism is well taken. We really haven't had a viable example that would elicit a fair judgement.

I think there may a cadre of hardliners awaiting the day when Putin's tenure is over that would like nothing more then to resurrect the Soviet Union.

IMHO, the monied class's domination isn't complete until the CBDCs are in place.

Thanks for weighing in, Cass, I was hoping you would.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@JtC Yuliya Yurchenko details how the seeds of kleptocratic oligarchy in Ukraine were sown in the old Soviet Union. Apparently, calling it "communism" didn't stop it from being government by thieves, and privatization (at times mandated by Western banking cartels) accelerated the process of theft and embezzlement and other such activities.

Now, given that Yurchenko was a patriotic Ukrainian, her focus was on Ukraine, but I can't imagine that things were vastly different in post-Soviet Russia. I remember reading, second-hand, a CIA report that claimed that Russia under Yeltsin's tenure was ruled by over a hundred competing Mafias. I don't remember when this came out -- it came out quite some time ago.

I think there are Russian polls claiming that there are enormous numbers of Russians who want Stalinism back. It would seem, though, that those who would otherwise run a reversion to Stalinism are instead committed to privatizing Russia into their own hands.

In the Democracy Now interview, Kagarlitsky claimed that the most recent troop mobilization in Russia resulted in a situation where about twice the number of men whom they appropriated had managed instead to leave the country. Has this claim been corroborated or contradicted anywhere?

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"you can say what you want about this country and I love this place. I love the freedoms we used to have..." -- George Carlin

snoopydawg's picture

For years I’ve been hearing that the moon landing was faked. Just who did video 'man's first step out great leap for mankind'? Was he ever identified and if he video’s Buzz coming down the steps for his first walk then wouldn’t he have been the first man on the moon? Bueller?

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Rhett Butler contemptuously reminded Southern secession hot heads “There’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.”

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

@snoopydawg
this source:

How did the footage of the Apollo 11 moonlanding come about? Incredibly, NASA had initially seen ‘no reason’ for any television pictures!

The mission was already carrying a camera in the Command Module for telecasts during the flight to the Moon. Delayed by weight and fuel restrictions on the Lunar Module, a second TV camera was a modification too far.

Mission planners prioritised voice communication, vital Lunar Module systems data and astronaut biomedical telemetry.

However, just months before launch, an emergency meeting – attended by every NASA manager and a massive audience – saw ‘old timers’ fight for an additional TV camera.

Triumphantly a 3.29kg, Westinghouse designed, slow-scan black and white camera would be mounted, upside down – to avoid vibration – in the Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly left of the ladder on the Lunar Module descent stage.

Source

I've read the controversy and watched the videos and I'm not ready to make a claim either way.

It does make one wonder though.

Thanks snoops and Sam.

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@JtC is available at https://archive.org.

It takes a bit of digging and avoiding the less palatable to find some stuff but it's there.

My son says that getting stuff from some sites is piracy but I feel like I paid for its use long ago and there was no limitation at that time on the number of times I could see it. The investor class can just f'off. On so much of it they had nothing to do with making it.

Last evening I watched The Time Machine, a George Pal production, and I have War of the Worlds on deck.

My biggest complaint is that when I visit IMDB to research the old movie stuff I have to wade past the garbage that assaults my sensitivities and insults my intelligence.

What a most great creative time that was.

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