The Democracy Dilemma

I ran across this quote tonight which reflects the views of many conservatives and libertarians who believe if only we would follow the Constitution everything would be A-ok. It's also the same sentiment many on the left hold.

"Democracy is popular because of the illusion of choice and participation it provides, but when you live in a society in which most people’s knowledge of the world extends as far as sports, sitcoms, reality shows, and celebrity gossip, democracy becomes a very dangerous idea. Until people are properly educated and informed, instead of indoctrinated to be ignorant mindless consumers, democracy is nothing more than a clever tool used by the ruling class to subjugate the rest of us.” - – Gavin Nascimento

So Gavin, you would rather have a whacked out billionaire and his merry gang of republicans (this time) make decisions like tax reform ripoff and nuclear war? How's that working out?

When the question of democracy has come up, the libertarians and conservatives inevitably point out that the government of this country is not a democracy but a republic. I've had the conversation with my brother a few times and their thinking about democracy, which they're not in favor of, is that the Constitution is the most perfect document ever written and it set up the government to be a republic so a majority of citizens couldn't take away the rights of the few. Of course their main concern is the majority would take away their right to own guns and AK-47's and enact laws that gave rights to gay people and weed smokers, and worse yet, social programs that might help the needy. Fuck that they say, pull yourself up by the bootstraps like I did they say, survival of the fittest is what this country is all about.

I've always pointed out that this system of government allows a severe minority, i.e., the ruling class, to make decisions that take away the rights of the majority.

Which would you rather have? A system of government where all the decisions are made by and for the rich, or a system of government where everyone gets to participate?

Granted, we do have an ignorance problem, big time. No system of government is going to be perfect. But is that a reason to continue to maintain a system of government by and for the rich? Maybe if we really lived in a democracy we could actually provide information to the citizens that wasn't full of lies and propaganda.

I'd rather take my chances with the majority of people, call it faith, call it hatred of the fucking rich bastards who kill, maim, impoverish, and steal from the rest of us, but I've had enough of rule by the rich and a few people taking away the rights, lives and "pursuit of happiness" from the rest of us.

I don't know if that's really a dilemma or not. A dilemma is defined as a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially equally undesirable ones. To me the choice isn't difficult nor particularly undesirable. I don't want an oligarchy making all the decisions, I want in on the fucking action.

Twenty seven states have direct democracy systems that allow the citizens to decide on everything from gay marriage rights to legalization of marijuana to raising and lowering taxes. Nationally we have no such system and are stuck with watching the democratic and republican parties make fools of themselves in front of the entire planet. What if we had been able to participate in this latest tax reform bill? What about Social Security? It's our Social Security dammit, not theirs.

I say we change the system to allow the people to make fools of themselves if they want. It's better than what we've got now.

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43 users have voted.

Comments

snoopydawg's picture

We just need to find a way to change our system of government. No government should be able to do what ours does without our consent. We just need to find a way to make this happen. There are a lot of people working on ways to do this. The tax bill, net neutrality and their messing with our social security and other programs has gotten people riled up and we need to work together to find answers to stop congress from being allowed to rule us this way. Both sides need to stop being divisive and realize that we have been manipulated to divide ourselves.

p.s..does your brother live in Utah perhaps? I see this way of thinking daily. Be afraid of tah gays...

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21 users have voted.

a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway

earth is the insane asylum for the universe

Big Al's picture

@snoopydawg referendum project I started.
No not Utah and he's now changed his views on that.
Something has to be organized, the question is who is going to do it. I asked that question on WSWS the other day relative to the Socialist Equality Party (SEP). Didn't get a good answer there either and they're constantly calling for an independent international working class movement.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Big Al

He just sounds like most people here.

This very long article tells us what needs to happen which we all already know, but it doesn't tell us how to accomplish this. It explains what happened and why it happened, but good luck getting politicians that will do it in power. I'm seeing a lot of articles like this. We need ideas, not explanations.

Make the Left Great

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12 users have voted.

a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway

earth is the insane asylum for the universe

The answer is not more people, it's more educated, economically secure, moral people.

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A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993

mimi's picture

@doh1304 @doh1304

The answer is not more people, it's more educated, economically secure, moral people.

If you look into Germany's times between 1933 to 1942, there were many, many educated people (academics, students, scientists and lawyers) with economically secure jobs and moral values (according to their religious affiliations), but they all failed to recognize their own moral failures and had no problems to support fascism, racism and totalitarianism. It looked, they even didn't realize what they were doing. They were not aware of their own manipulation by propaganda and participated in promoting propaganda's ideologies.

It's just one of the things one can't wrap his mind around.

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15 users have voted.

"“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” - Ghandi

Pluto's Republic's picture

@mimi

...many educated people (academics, students, scientists and lawyers) with economically secure jobs and moral values (according to their religious affiliations), but they all failed to recognize their own moral failures and had no problems to support fascism, racism and totalitarianism.

That was the privileged minority in Germany between 1933 to 1942 — and it's the privileged minority in the US today.

But the majority population in both countries were/are under severe economic stress and insecurity. They were gripped by hysterical paranoia about "enemy" countries attacking them. Both believed they were still Empires and were predestined to rule the world. Dystopia loomed in the streets. There was incoherent anger.

I can't image a more perfect parallel in pre-fascist states.

Does that not sound right?

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@Pluto's Republic and the well off republicans and democrats (party donors) settle in the same real estate enclaves, with well funded school districts. We imagine they would be at each others throats but aside from a mild contempt about politics, they get along well socially. They have the same community concerns, and their kids are on the same teams, aspire to the same ivy league schools, vacation in the same places. The one thing that unites them is their contempt for us, our failure to "be better citizens". The r's flog our moral failings and the d's fret about helping the poor, the downtrodden, "the defectives". The one thing that can absolutely not be viewed as a solution is that "their" prosperity should be shared. In the end whatever our situation, it's all our own fault.

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mimi's picture

@Pluto's Republic
majority in the 1930ies thought. I suspect that as soon as Hitler started to build the infrastructure up and people got jobs again, they were 'proud' of Germany (and with it Hitler) again. And if you are in misery you need an enemy you can blame and hate for your misery. It's probably not even important who is chosen as an enemy, as long as you can identify a group that has visibly identity markers different from those you have yourself. You chose an enemy group that has unavoidable, 'unchangeable', ie genetic or cultural, ethnic, language markers. Then it's an easy game to incite hate and create the enemy image.

In a multi-cultural, multi-ethic, multi-religious diverse population like the US is, united just by their common language (which was and still is a huge difference to the European theater), it's much more difficult to successfully find an enemy in a political party on an ideological basis, because of the diversity of people in both parties. So you have to get identity markers into the equation to "make the blame/hate/enemy" trigger work, it's much more effective to cause hate among different ethnic, religious and gender groups than to trigger hate on the base of different ideology alone.

And if the ideologies are even not different and distinguishable anymore between the parties (like it is the case between Democrats and Republicans in the US, and similarly in European countries, where parties constantly have to place themselves either left of, or right to other parties, to save their face, but in reality have so weak differences that it ends up one huge pudding for all), nothing works anymore. (which is good, if you want to promote peace and equality instead of hate and inequality).

I was for example puzzled to observe that the Turkish population in Germany (often here since three ad four generations already) say they are proud of Erdogan, because he made Turkey 'great' and 'economically flourishing' again. Despite the fact that Turkish people get arrested and surveilled in Germany to the point that they are 'snatched away and taken as hostages'.

The German TV media report clearly about Turkey's tendencies to become a police state since the attempted coup against ERdogan and Merkel supports hardline policies against Turkey.

That means the Turkish population in Germany is informed about the oppression of free speech in Turkey, but they don't seem to bother. Most say they are proud of Erdogan. May be like the Germans in the 1930ies were proud of Hitler ?

Which says to me that for most people their own economic well being in their home countries is more important than their civil rights and freedom of speech. May be that's how folks come to like their dictators and oppressors.

BTW, I like your Camus quote in another of your comments is mind boggling

“What better way to enslave a man than to give
the vote and tell him he's free.”
—Albert Camus

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4 users have voted.

"“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” - Ghandi

Big Al's picture

@doh1304 Why can we vote directly on issues at the state level and not nationally?

Ya, we need more education, information, morality.
And we need freedom from the ruling classes that are ruining this country and the planet. That's all I'm arguing.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

But there is a step that is being skipped, that naturally occurs in culturally cohesive nations. Deciding what they want and what they are working toward.

That's uniquely void space in the US. Civically, we have no set goals about a better life. No plans. No ideals. No future to create. We only have fines and punishments and a zero-sum mentality. It seems to me people must first determine what kind of country or state they want to live in and what they consider an ideal to work toward. Their collective vision should be recorded, like a party platform, so they can measure their progress over time, or alter their shared goals.

[[What is it like to live in the state, will a full time job support a family, will everyone be educated, will the education be world class? Are there parks and public spaces, do they have art? Are there parades, events, and festivals? What is law enforcement like, is it military-style? Are the poor housed or do they live in the streets, is housing affordable for everyone: are people free from hunger, what percent of people should be hungry every day? Are the sick left to die if they cannot afford treatment? Do the prisons return hopeless, helpless, savaged citizens back into society, what is the quality of former prisoners who will live in your neighborhood; would you like them to be educated with needed skills or more hardened and dangerous from the prison experience. Should they be barred from getting regular jobs? If they cannot vote, what does that tell society?]]

Once there is a vision that describes the quality of social and civic life, the look of their cities and towns, the services that are available, and the unique joys to be found there — then, I think, they can be trusted to vote. They will better understand the consequences of their choices. It doesn't matter if their ideal is a prison camp or a theme park. All that matters is that they share a vision they can enact.

But without a vision (to encourage unity), I think you end up with — exactly what we have right now. I don't think direct democracy would change that. Every vote will yank people in different directions.

On the other hand, I don't know much about the 27 states that have direct democracy. Do they have better lives and better laws? Are the people happier? Do they feel more in control? That would be good to hear.

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21 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic we had was an enemy. Since the Russian revolution and the rise of Soviet communism around WW1 it was the only thing that was a constant for the US. Once the Berlin wall went down the republicans decided we needed a new enemy and picked 1/2 of it's own country and citizens. I guess, why not, it worked for 70+ years.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Snode

...come at the same moment in time that the Industrial revolution became a money pump of vast wealth for its aristocratic investors. I think they watched serfs move from the fields to salaried positions in factories to politically active citizens — and they were suddenly horrified to realize they were in the minority. So, they established threats to preoccupy the lower classes and sponsored education for their children so they would know their position. Propaganda rose. That moment also coincides with the birth of fascism, which was a political philosophy that had never been written down, oddly enough. No past. No doctrine. No books. No discussions. It appeared fully-formed, ready to plug and play. I once read that every country in the world had a fascist Party at some brief point in the Twentieth Century. An evolutionary cut-de-sac, I suppose. Or a virus that often presents as only protection against Russia and working class thugs. The US is currently sick with that virus; as is the Ukraine and Poland.

...why not, it worked for 70+ years.

It's funny how well fascists thrive in Democracies. Can fascism even exist without democracy?

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16 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic Fascism has no manifesto, no Declaration of Fascist Rights. It's funny, I was reading about militant feminism in England in the early 20th century, and how women were attacked, sometimes killed and often jailed, during a decade long fight to be recognized and attain equal rights. What was puzzling to me is how a good number of the feminist movement embraced Fascism in when it started it's rise in Europe. There must be something that clicks in peoples minds.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Pluto's Republic

But without a vision (to encourage unity), I think you end up with — exactly what we have right now. I don't think direct democracy would change that. Every vote will yank people in different directions.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish"
-- Jewish Scriptures, Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) source

And living in a State with initiative and referendum, I can tell you that your estimation is correct here: it's a popular-democratic reflection of "what we have now" nationally. Colorado's experience is a mixed bag; the good (Marijuana legalization) along with some real stinkers (the anti-LGBTQ "Amendment 1" and the government de-funding TABOR).

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"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

k9disc's picture

@Pluto's Republic Negative Liberty, stay off my back, has pretty much run it's course, and has left us humans empty and bottomless vessels, needing to be filled and needing our holes plugged. Enter Black Friday and opioids.

Positive Liberty, together we will go to the moon, has been missing since the 60s or 70s. It's raging back, and we've got a choice to make as far as where we will go together.

The Establishment wants us to become domestic colonies complete with local strongmen and extraction of vital natural resources. The Right wants to become Imperial Rome perpetual war for perpetual peace. The Left wants to move on climate change and income inequality.

We're streaking towards domestic colonialism with a dash of Imperial Rome. The Left's vision of Positive Liberty is palpable but doesn't have the megaphone to get us in the same vehicle and moving together.

Positive and Negative Liberty are the keys to the Democracy Dilemma. I don't think you can have Democracy, representative or direct, until we have moved to some sort of Positive Liberty with a Human Agenda.
@Pluto's Republic

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Big Al's picture

@Pluto's Republic the current system?
I am in one of those states, Washington state, and yes, I'm happy, I can smoke weed without getting arrested and at least I don't have Donald Trump and the duopoly making all the decisions for me.
My point was it's better than what we have now. It really kind of amazes me others don't think so.

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detroitmechworks's picture

@Big Al than it's worth.

I mean, apart from the wars, corporate restrictions of freedom, colluding police state, wiretaps, prosecutions of whistleblowers, destruction of affordable medical care, offshoring of jobs, poisoning of the water, murder of the poor, and identity politics...

What have the Feds ever done for us?

/snark

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11 users have voted.

You can't expect to wield Supreme Military power, just cause some corporate tosser lobbed a contract at you!

Pluto's Republic's picture

@Big Al

…with low-info voters. But I've seen so many referendums turned upside down because corporate money blew into town to subvert them.

I'm just saying if the people formally establish a vision of what they want ahead of time, they can't be easily bamboozled at the polls. Direct democracy would be consistently effective.

And, then there's this:

“What better way to enslave a man than to give
the vote and tell him he's free.”
—Albert Camus

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Big Al's picture

@Pluto's Republic which is a whole different ballgame.

And I think it should be inferred that if we did go to a national referendum system there would have to be much thought into making it as fair and equitable as possible. With 27 state programs, there are plenty of examples to work from to create a final system.

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Wink's picture

@Pluto's Republic
chaos. The founders got it right. Where it goes wrong is when a minority party rules. That should never happen if over half of the voting age population actually voted. What a concept! But, when we have the majority party allowing the minority party to run roughshod over election procedures...
Thinking back, I now believe Obama Wanted that 2010 Repub tsunami so that he didn't have to make good on his campaign promises, could make excuses for not accomplishing any, just didn't have the votes. Just reelect my butt and I'll get it done in my 2nd term... And, since I can't govern I'll go play me some golf... Dems complicit in allowing a handful of fucks to ruin this country. That's right, I'm looking at You, Pelosi. But you're hardly alone.

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

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Wink

Thinking back, I now believe Obama Wanted that 2010 Repub tsunami so that he didn't have to make good on his campaign promises, could make excuses for not accomplishing any, just didn't have the votes. Just reelect my butt and I'll get it done in my 2nd term... And, since I can't govern I'll go play me some golf... Dems complicit in allowing a handful of fucks to ruin this country. That's right, I'm looking at You, Pelosi. But you're hardly alone.

So that's why we got little else besides the Unaffordable Careless Act out of the whole time Obama and his Party controlled the Government.

Gak. Bad

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"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

Wink's picture

@thanatokephaloides
the tsunami was part of it. I kept wondering during all of 2010 when this astroturf Tea Party thing was growing - and gaining momentum - "why isn't Obama saying anything. Or one of his surrogates, anyway. Or Pelosi, even. Or, hell, ANY elected Dem?" Nothing but silence from the majority party, not one stood up on the floor of Congress and said, "now wait just a goddamned minute... you 'baggers are full of $h!t, and here's why... " Nope. Instead, nothing but silence. No effort made to slow the smackdown coming that Nov. So, a year later we got little Teddy (Calgary) Cruz going nose to nose with Obama. Obama in a showdown with Teddy! And Teddy was winning! WTF?? So, yeah, I think Obama cheered on the tsunami which gave him an out Not to have to accomplish campaign promises. Or, hell, govern, even. "Sorry, Libs, I ain't got the votes... " But I got nine holes staring me in the face... Life good.

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

Big Al's picture

@Wink and initiative processes and that a national referendum process should not be pursued?

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Wink's picture

@Big Al
best left to the individual states. Who wants (the South) voting on items primarily limited to NY /New England?

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

eyo's picture

and not a symbol with/without a pile of cash behind it. I'd rather see a workplace democracy movement at this point, unions big and small, co-ops, collectives, etc.. That is where the power lies, right now inside of my own tiny mind.

As long as Citizens United is law of the land, Xillions in dark money will get flushed every two years, along with the future. "That's the system."

If you have the cash, get users to crave your democracy why not.

Our platform uses AI and Neuroscience to personalize moments of joy in your app. It adapts the rhythm and timing of (???)s to surprise and hook each user. They'll stay longer and engage more. Up to 167% more.

It's easy to install. We'll even help.

Your CTO will like it. Your CRO will love it.
But at the end of the day, only one thing matters:

Your users will crave it. And they'll crave you.

http://usedopamine.com/

WTF is a CRO? Never mind I looked it up. Responsibility ... ? Yeah I'd say the corporate ability to respond has been overwhelming. Life on earth, not so much.

250 million users on anti-depressants in the USofA is a yuge problem no one talks about, I don't know why. Legal! Put down the bottle and face reality for a change, that would get things moving.

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13 users have voted.

On a blog.

Lookout's picture

@eyo ,
did you catch Richard Wolff talking about worker coops on Jimmy's show last week? Work place democracy sounds like a great idea to me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-45IV5QV_9Y (30 min)

However, I've wondered about Big Al's idea of direct democracy too. Why not let everyone vote on issues like tax cuts, wars, social programs, etc. If we can use ATMs to keep track of everyone's money, I think we are also able to do so with direct democracy...able but not willing.

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16 users have voted.

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

eyo's picture

@Lookout thanks, I downloaded and watched the three part interview with Jimmy.

In the late 80's I worked at Alvarado Street Bakery (reported to Joe Tuck, same guy interviewed in Capitalism, A Love Story) Became a member of the collective as soon as I could so I could participate. Had to show up and vote all the time, I mean once a month, it was a real pain in the ass. haha
https://www.alvaradostreetbakery.com/
Some other c99er here may have actually been involved with a co-op, or is involved, rather than just talking about it. I can't remember who it was, sorry. You need to be living it, not just talking about it, that's what I think.

Jimmy's workers should agitate to own a piece of his business, and he should make his fundraising accounting transparent. No more clicks for youtube advertisers, do something different for change. Be the change. It's the ones who have a little capital left who can help lead the way. Don't waste paying rent to electoral politicians, pay rent to a collective future. Or do both? Me, I can do neither. Fifteen years on fixed income in califuckedupfornia means dirty ditches from here to "eternity."

good luck

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10 users have voted.

On a blog.

Lookout's picture

@eyo

and was in a food coop later. Many friends and band mates live on a land coop together. But I guess other than my electric coop I'm not involved in a formal coop organization. These days I consider informal alliances to be cooperative. Within this smaller community there are friends and resources to call on when needed, and that's cooperative enough for me at this point.

I tried throughout my career to democratize schools. Principals should be elected by the school and curricula mutually developed at the school house level...but I never pulled it off. Not even to try in one school in the state, and I had a working relationship with state board, unions, teachers. Those vested with power are loathe to cede any.

I guess everywhere has its good and bad. The commune mainly drifted your way out west back in the 70's and last I heard still lived in CA. I stayed in AL and started homesteading. I live amid great natural beauty and what is largely an impoverished and ill informed population of mostly nice people. We make our choices, we pay our price.

peace to us all...

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10 users have voted.

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

thanatokephaloides's picture

@eyo

250 million users on anti-depressants in the USofA is a yuge problem no one talks about, I don't know why. Legal! Put down the bottle and face reality for a change, that would get things moving.

If by "things" you mean suicides, you're right. Otherwise, not so much, as the power of ordinary people to improve their lot has essentially been abolished.

Bad

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"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

Wink's picture

@thanatokephaloides
HS nephews, 16, that if they think they're getting out of four years of college and going to work for $100K /yr. they're dreaming. I'll have what they're smoking. They're both solid A students and will get scholarships to decent or better colleges, but that doesn't guarantee anything. Our masters have zero intentions of paying the next generation anything close to $100 Large a year, will import cheap labor before that ever happens. I tell them if they want to earn $100 Large a year they need to create their own job /company, and 11th grade is as good a time as any to get started on that.

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

ovals49's picture

under the guise of a democratic republic that is little more than a ruse that keeps the masses ever hopeful of a better and more secure tomorrow.

The notion that we can refresh the government from time to time with representatives who actually have our best interests at heart is a carefully crafted lie that is only true in our history books.

"When you own the information, you can bend it all you want." - John Mayer

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"Humanity is just an evolutionary cul de sac."
George Carlin

divineorder's picture

@ovals49 the works.

..

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

The Aspie Corner's picture

The only thing it actually did was enshrine oligarchy. The only reasons the rich allowed Social Security and Medicare to pass was because the porkies got caught trying to install fascism by assassinating FDR. He made a mistake for letting the bastards off for their treason.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@The Aspie Corner
The Economic Fascisti just wanted FDR eased out of power (something like the oldtime Japanese Emperors who had the title and prestige but no authority, while the Shogun ruled all). Smedley Butler fortunately decided he didn't want to be a Shogun.

The gun nut was Giuseppe Zangara, possibly a lone fanatic, possibly a Mafia hitman, certainly missing a few bricks. He (may have) aimed for FDR (President-Elect but not inaugurated at the time - February 15, 1933) but got the mayor of Chicago.

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14 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

divineorder's picture

@TheOtherMaven

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5 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.

orlbucfan's picture

Rec'd for both. The siren song of lords versus serfs has been going down for centuries. I'm not sure if there is an answer to it anymore. Over-population, organized religion, and ignorance/stupidity are its bread and butter tho. :-(.

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12 users have voted.

Some yahoos make me want to change species!

divineorder's picture

@orlbucfan

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8 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.

eyo's picture

@divineorder thanks you reminded me about the Paul Chaferka pages: Factual Articles, Hopeful Articles, Less Hopeful Articles, and

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here

Population: The Elephant in the Room (May 2007)
World Energy and Population: Trends to 2100 (Oct. 2007)

A multi-part analysis of the near future:
Part 1: World Energy to 2050: Forty Years of Decline (Oct. 2007)
Part 2: Energy Intensity and GDP: To Have or Have Not (Dec. 2007)
Part 3: Can Wind Power Plug the Energy Gap? (Feb. 2008)
Part 4: Africa in 2040 (HTML) (PDF) (Feb. 2008)

Lots and lots of good reading over there, everything else seems redundant to me after reading most of it. What's the point? I don't know. Find the Gift.
His advice:

  • Stay awake to what's happening around us.
  • Don't get hung up by other people’s "shoulds and shouldn'ts".
  • Occasionally re-examine our personal values. If they aren't in alignment with what we think the world needs, change them.
  • Stop blaming people. Others are as much victims of the times as we are - even the CEOs and politicians.
  • Blame, anger and outrage is pointless. It wastes precious energy that we will need for more useful work.
  • Laugh a lot, at everything - including ourselves.
  • Hold all the world's various beliefs and "isms" lightly, including our own.
  • Forgive others. Forgive ourselves. For everything.
  • Love everything just as deeply as you can.

Because the system is already so far in overshoot, nothing can stop the coming waves of devastation. "Too many people" really has only one solution, "less people."

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On a blog.

divineorder's picture

@eyo

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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.

k9disc's picture

@divineorder

In the rich countries, contrary to what Richard perhaps thinks, it will not be possible to provide new equivalent jobs to replace those jobs we need to abolish. For such countries, reducing working hours and job-sharing in the short term, and, in the long term, ostracizing automation and labor-saving technologies, and using labor-intensive methods of production instead, are together the only solution. That is already known. Another thing that would be needed is to negate free trade and international competition. However, it must also be said openly that high wages and salaries cannot be earned under such circumstances.

Says who?
@divineorder

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

divineorder's picture

@k9disc @k9disc @k9disc

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

thanatokephaloides's picture

@divineorder

Please expand the question?

The Resilience article says: "high wages and salaries cannot be earned under such circumstances", to which divineorder answered "says who?". In other words, DO is asking the Resilience writer why this is necessarily the case.

"Please show your work."

It does seem to me that the Resilience article and its author are asserting the very harshest form of Malthusian thought, i.e., that so long as the working classes enjoy any comfort or security at all, they'll just go out and make more babies, exacerbating the whole overpopulation problem.

Some "eco-socialist"! Bad

He's eco, I'll give him that; but he's about as socialist as fucking Mussolini!

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"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

k9disc's picture

a socialist.

@thanatokephaloides

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7 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

thanatokephaloides's picture

@k9disc

A Little Stronger Than I Might State, But That Cat Clearly Aint a socialist.

Well, maybe a National Socialist.... /s

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1 user has voted.

"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

k9disc's picture

However, it must also be said openly that high wages and salaries cannot be earned under such circumstances.

That is simply an assertion with no basis in fact. I think the problem with imagining something totally different is that it is easy to assert CW assumptions as factual when, in reality, they are completely a product of the current system.

There is no reason that we could not pay garbage men top dollar for doing an ugly but important job, or pay timber workers top dollar to drop timber with very low environmental impact (by hand and ox, for instance).

I believe the assumption by the author that "high pay" could not be given in an alternate economic system to be a lack of imagination, rather than a fact. And I think that lack of imagination has to do with resilient or embedded capitalist assumptions.

@divineorder

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8 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Pluto's Republic's picture

@orlbucfan

...and do wonders for the US economy. Plus, it does not require an increase in taxes or means-testing. The work product of AIs and robots could cover the tab. It reduces government spending by eliminating most social programs.

That's the most promising solution for eliminating global poverty, delivering basic human rights, and unleashing human talent and innovation that I've seen in my lifetime.

How to Fund a Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes or Inflation

It's inevitable.

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17 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@Pluto's Republic a concurrent uptick of consumerism would occur and what it's impact on climate change would be? Hasten the death knell?

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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.

BrutallyHonest's picture

@Pluto's Republic UBI is the last tool the 1% will use to shackle and enslave us.

UBI will be used as an excuse to slowly stop paying workers.
All while the $ payed out will be slowly strangled until no money will be payed to anyone not in the 1%.
Just like they have been doing with all social programs.

The answer is simple. Workers must unite and form worker cooperatives. These worker cooperatives will empower and educate the populace. Over time the propaganda that has been internalized by the populace will have been effectively fought and changed. Then we can fully realize a society that does not value numbers and material goods over life.

Again UBI is another, stronger, chain meant to shackle us. It would give Liberals the false illusion that people are being helped (just like our social programs) and give an enemy for the wealthy/ conservatives to rally against. It would be better to just get rid of the 1% and make everyone involved in day to day life choices by making them apart of a worker cooperative.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@BrutallyHonest

UBI is just enough to scratch out a survival. People will want more out of life. They will find work or create things.

By the way, it is mandatory for every man woman and child, rich and poor alike. Nobody is giving it to anyone. It belongs to all of us.

Workers must unite and form worker cooperatives.

Yes, they must, because that issue will be very much with us after UBI. But we'll have more time and energy to hammer it out and make it work. People will be able to concentrate, instead of running scared of making the rent or finding the next meal. They will have Liberty. That's what the founders meant by that word. Liberty to forge one's reality and seek opportunity and act decisively. All men, essentially equal in that regard, at the starting point of their adult lives.

The Liberty of strength, health, and education. The Liberty to pursue happiness.

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BrutallyHonest's picture

@Pluto's Republic We don't need both because we can have worker cooperatives without UBI, however, we won't get worker cooperatives if UBI is enacted. UBI is a weapon that the wealthy are pushing to save Capitalism.

The 1%, the people in charge, the people with power, those that actually run and make the choices in our country, would still have the same power and control over us and over UBI.

Where as Worker cooperatives empower and educate the populace. Thus changing the dynamics of both economics and government in our country at one go.

While not a perfect video, there are key arguments against UBI that might be more visually descriptive for you to understand why UBI is not, and should not, be something we on the left should push for.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Pluto's Republic

From the above-linked Common Dreams article:

If demand (money) is not increased, supply or GDP will not go up. New demand needs to precede new supply. The money must be out there searching for goods and services before employers will add the workers needed to create more supply.

There is no "Say's Law" !

Ellen Brown, ego te saluto! And I thank you for debunking "Say's Law", which asserts that supply creates demand, and is a major pillar of the most heartless Austrian economics.

Bravissimo! Smile

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6 users have voted.

"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

Pluto's Republic's picture

@thanatokephaloides

…of UBI. It will be interesting to see how all the tests work out around the world. What kinds of choices people make.

Lately, there are multiple answers to the challenging questions. I guess that's what it looks like when an idea shows up whose time has come.

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4 users have voted.
detroitmechworks's picture

Until then...

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11 users have voted.

You can't expect to wield Supreme Military power, just cause some corporate tosser lobbed a contract at you!

@detroitmechworks

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5 users have voted.
SnappleBC's picture

I too want a crack at it!

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10 users have voted.

A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

Having direct or even indirect participation in making decisions would be preferable even to an enlightened system of elites as articulated by Plato. One of the issues is that democracy has come to be equated to capitalism in the popular imagination. Freedom is not what the Bill of Rights define or voter participation, but freedom is the freedom to use your money as you see fit without constraint. So the state must serve the interests of freedom around the uses of money. There are others, but that is one of the most egregious.

Bernie's campaign was dangerous to the elites in the policies he advocated, but dangerous in that he went against the was for the idea that the state should serve the interests of the people, and not of money. Hillary's arguments against single payer basically invoked aspects of the freedom of money. Who is going to give us the money to do this?

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7 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@MrWebster

Bernie's campaign was dangerous to the elites in the policies he advocated, but dangerous in that he went against the idea that the state should serve the interests of the people, and not of money.

You meant "he went FOR the idea that the state should serve the interests of the people, and not of money", didn't you?

Wink

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3 users have voted.

"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

@thanatokephaloides Was writing it too fast.

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2 users have voted.