Tom Steyer Takes a Few Minutes out of His Bribery Schedule to Talk About Five Rights

Or more likely, I simply got a robomail from a group supporting the Blue Pig Faction calling itself "Next Gen America". Here's a little snippet:

Hello,

Injustice has existed in the United States since long before Donald Trump came around, with a Constitution containing as many flaws as noble aspirations.

As long as Mr. Trump sits in the Oval Office, our progress is stalled. But it’s our duty to demand actual improvements in the lives of the American people. While we work together as a movement to remove a criminal from our highest office, we also must have a conversation about the rights every American should be guaranteed.

To put our country back on the path toward prosperity for all of us, I am putting forward a set of protections called the 5 Rights:

The right to an equal vote
The right to clean air and clean water
The right to free, quality public education
The right to a living wage
The right to health, including universal health care

Yet, he and his fellow pigs use their wealth to make sure all of these things never happen. Saying that lacking these things is the fault of Dipshit being in office is a moot point, given the agenda Steyer and his fellow pigs follow in our Bottleneck Repiblic that only serves the 10% while ignoring the needs of the other 90%.

If Steyer and his blatantly center-right PAC were serious about any of this, they would call for the abolition of capitalism...oh, wait. To some in this community, he'd be a Bolshevik Loon if he did that, so I guess we can't have that.

No. The only thing we're allowed to beg for is pyrrhic regulation on the pigs for a decade or less that will only go away once the more authoritarian pig faction takes power again (Not that faction red ever really loses it anyway). Meanwhile, as the plebs among the red and blue pig factions continue to fight it out over which pigs get to rape them of what's left, the gold pig faction (the Libertarian donor class), just hedges their bets, ensuring they get what they want no matter which faction is in charge.

But don't worry, I'm sure controlled opposition like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will move the pigs with her pretty words just like Bernie Sanders did when Jeff Bezos killed benefits in exchange for less shittier wages. That'll show the pigs for sure.

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Big Al's picture

"5 Rights", what's next, Hillary's "12 Steps"?

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Azazello's picture


Here's the sad, sad truth and the dirty lowdown.

The only way to abolish capitalism is to outlaw private property. Marx knew this, the Bolsheviks knew it. As long as there is private property there will be capitalism in some form. Am I wrong ? Show me one country that has successfully abolished capitalism.
What about this guy ?

When you get around to hanging the pigs, will you hang him ?
He's bought a trailer, a gas grill, an awning and some chairs. He's made a capital investment. He's a capitalist. Does he hire someone to man the stand ? If so, he's an exploiter as well.
Marxism is a religion. It has its prophet, its sacred texts and its priests. It even has its "heaven": communism, where there is complete equality and no private property. The state and the family will wither away and we'll all live together in perfect harmony. "There's a better home awaiting, in the sky, Lord, in the sky."

Forgive me, I am not a religious man.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

@Azazello or socialism, the same can easily be applied to capitalism.

And as usual you go with the exact same argument far-rightists use: "Should we hang (insert small capitalist here)?"

There are some capitalists who actually do deserve hanging (For instance, Jeff Bezos, The Kochs, The Waltons, The Trumps, etc.). The guy running the junk food truck isn't one of them. Most business should be co-op based anyway. Cuba is doing that, many other socialist countries did so also:

So, since we're applying the creationist argument of "______ is a religion, too" to Marxism, let's apply it to Capitalism as well. Like Marxism, Capitalism also has its preists, prophets (Hayek, von Mises, Adam Smith, John Locke, Washington, Jefferson, Ayn Rand [who received her education under affirmative action via the Boshevik government]) and sacred texts (Wealth of Nations, The Road to Serfdom, Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead). Hell, they even have a fancy motto: solo il mercato, or, only the market in Italian.

Next you're going to regurgitate statistics and stories exaggerated by western demographers and exiles from countries that overthrew capitalism. That's how the argument always goes.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

lotlizard's picture

@The Aspie Corner  
taken wholly at face value, tend to surface in any discussion of communism. At least, that’s what I’ve noticed over the years.

The Black Book of Communism

Perhaps this is what you’re thinking of when you refer to

statistics and stories exaggerated by western demographers and exiles from countries that overthrew capitalism

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Daenerys's picture

@Azazello There's nothing wrong with private property. Should people not be allowed to own their own home? There's not even anything wrong with capitalism, in itself. The problem is corruption and greed. Capitalism needs regulations. Strict ones.
Hell, nobody really owns anything anymore these days, as it is. Got a car payment? The bank owns the car. Mortgage? The bank owns it. Rent an apartment? Your landlord owns it. The only things people really own anymore is whatever small stuff fits inside the space they are renting. Even if your home is paid for and you own it, if you're in a Medicaid reconciliation (or whatever the word is) state and you've used Medicaid for long-term care you can't pass your home on to your children except in certain situations. And now cops can come and steal your shit just because they feel like it in some places.

So no, I don't think no private property is a good idea.

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This shit is bananas.

Big Al's picture

@Daenerys called "The Happy Medium". Too long to recite and I can't remember half of it anyway, but I think that's what we're going to have to find.

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arendt's picture

@Daenerys

It can mean anything from the Robber Barons to the Mondragon cooperative.

There's not even anything wrong with capitalism, in itself. The problem is corruption and greed. Capitalism needs regulations. Strict ones.

There are all kinds of capitalism: mercantilist capitalism, industrial capitalism, and the shit we live under - financial capitalism. The only one of these three that did anything for the common person was industrial capitalism. Money was invested to create physical plant and to train workers. The result was unprecedented amounts of cheap goods.

In industrial capitalism, there was an expanding pie; and, yes, there was greed and corruption. In finance capitalism, there is a shrinking pie because finance is all about rent extraction, asset stripping, leveraged speculation and other forms of looting.

While industrial capitalism was reformable and actually gave the world thirty years of peace and prosperity, financial capitalims is a disease that must be eradicated. It has done nothing but hand exponentially increasing amounts of wealth and power to the most sociopathic people on the planet. Almost everything about financial capitalism is "wrong", to use another one of your vague words. Financial capitalism can't be reformed. It must be abolished.

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lotlizard's picture

@arendt  
People with Jewish backgrounds have a strong presence in the upper echelons of the “middlemen” professions that command the heights of financial capitalism — banking, brokerage, law, mass communication, entertainment, talent agencies, and so on.

Industrial capitalism, on the other hand, rewards and glorifies producers and production rather than middlemen. The archetypal industrial capitalist, Henry Ford, promoted anti-Jewish ideas. European fascism, with its idea of making society run like a well-organized farm or factory, or a well-oiled machine, has strong roots in industrial capitalism.

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arendt's picture

@lotlizard

the hands of the propgandists defending the bankers. (I recognize that you are pointing out one of the more odious "defences" of financial capitalism, not attacking my claim.)

European fascism, with its idea of making society run like a well-organized farm or factory, or a well-oiled machine, has strong roots in industrial capitalism.

I wrote an entire essay about the rise of the Romantic movement (which led directly to fascism) in response to the Enlightenment glorification of the individual capitalist. The opening sentences are germane to this topic.

To be historically literate is difficult. One must work hard to avoid the boatloads of elitist propaganda, and written-by-the-victors just-so stories.

The murderous trail of violent emotion in the modern era (Reflections on "The Age of Anger")

It was the philosophical attitude that the non-Enlightened were barbarians, not the fact that capitalism's organization was ready-made for fascism, which called forth the Volkish response from Germany.

----

The bankers meme is certainly part of the "boatloads of elitist propaganda". The Israeli/neocon hard right is starting to get on my nerves. Criticism of Israeli policy equals anti-Semitism. BDS must be shut down by law. (Who cares if sanctions have been a historically accepted and peacable activity?) Pro-Palestine equals anti-Semitism.

And now, demanding justice for crooked bankers is somehow anti-Semitic? Puh-leeze.

This meme is another example of professional propagandists playing word games. My favorite counter-example is:

Hitler was a vegetarian. Therefore, all vegetarians are Nazis.

I acknowledge that this rhetoric is out there, and plays well with low-information voters. It is a kind of context-switch that you have to be paying attention to notice. For example, I vaguely recall Rick Santorum making some absurd foreign policy gaffe and being attacked for it. His defence was "they are attacking me because I'm Catholic", as if he was being persecuted for his religion instead of being criticized for his dangerous stupidity.

As the electorate continues to dumb down, rational people will increasingly be driven crazy by what passes for "logic" in politics.

Thanks again for your most relevant observation/warning.

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@Daenerys capitalism is just a tool. Socialism is another tool. We need a mixed economy that puts a cap on capitalism and uses socialism where it best aids society.

So long as people can amass wealth there will always be King Rats gaming the system.

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mimi's picture

@Azazello @Azazello
The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else that his theory utterly convinced me (to my own surprise). Here is a little paragraph from Wiki about it:

The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else is a 2000 book by Hernando de Soto Polar about the persistence of poverty in developing countries. In strong opposition to the popular view that success is Edetermined by cultural differences, de Soto finds that it actually has to do with the legal structure of property and property rights. Every developed nation in the world at one time went through the transformation from predominantly informal, extralegal ownership to a formal, unified legal property system, but in the West it was forgotten that creating this system is also what allowed people everywhere to leverage property into wealth. De Soto speaks about "dead capital" that cannot be used to its full potential.

"Imagine a country," writes De Soto, "where nobody can identify who owns what, addresses cannot be verified, people cannot be made to pay their debts, resources cannot be conveniently turned into money, ownership cannot be divided into shares, descriptions of assets are not standardized and cannot be easily compared, and the rules that govern property vary from neighborhood to neighborhood or even from street to street."

It's a long time ago I read it, but he described the transformation started when coutnries started to actually measure the land people lived on in rural areas. where native folks lived and survived without having land cut out for them as their property.

As I have seen villages in Central Africa where people (my in laws) lived like that, I also remember that different tribes and family clans just lived in one area of a village and others in another without having property rights on their corners. Amazingly the village folks didn't fight over property back then, even when 'foreign' tribes from other countries moved in and claimed a little area on the coast or forest near them. They COULD live in peace with each other.

So to me it made perfect sense what de Soto was writing. He related to areas in South America with his examples, if I remember correctly.

I recommend the book.

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arendt's picture

@mimi

I read his first book when it came out, and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

De Soto’s thesis is one he’s been peddling for a long time. It basically goes like this: give the poor ownership of whatever small corner of life they have—shanty homes, rural farms—and this type of “property formalization” will unleash their entrepreneurial spirit and thus increase standards of living for them and billions of poor around the globe.

No need for radical wealth distribution (conveniently enough for his target audience), the poor, if provided the property, legal tools and micro-loans, will collectively bootstrap their way into the middle class. Naturally de Soto is the darling of the bipartisan corporate center in the United States. He’s been called “the Friedrich von Hayek of Latin America” and former President Bill Clinton praised de Soto as “the world's greatest living economist.” It’s a model he’s been pushing for some time, despite being generally bunk, but the rise of ISIS over the past two years marks the first time he’s repackaged his capitalism-saves-all pitch as way of defeating the Muslim terrorist baddies. And it’s here his ideas go from toxic to laughable.

Guess How This Neoliberal Guru Thinks the World Can Win the War on Terror?
Meet Hernando de Soto.

He was responsible for ruining Peru.

Yale University political scientist Susan C. Stokes believe that de Soto's influence helped change the policies of Alberto Fujimori from a Keynesian to a neoliberal approach.

- Wikipedia

ON EDIT: NEW STUFF

During those first two years when De Soto served under Fujimori, human rights abuses were rampant. Fujimori death squads—with names like the "Grupo Colina"—targeted labor unions and government critics and their families. Two of the worst massacres committed under Fujimori’s reign, and for which he was later jailed, took place while De Soto served as his advisor and drug czar.

The harsh free-market shock-therapy program that De Soto convinced Fujimori to implement resulted in mass misery for Peru. During the two years De Soto served as Fujimori’s advisor, real wages plunged 40%, the poverty rate rose to over 54% of the population, and the percentage of the workforce that was either unemployed or underemployed soared to 87.3%.

- Mark Ames, The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar

More from the Mark Ames story, which shows just how reactionary this glib fake leftist sounds:

In 2004, the libertarian Cato Institute (neé "The Charles Koch Foundation") awarded Hernando De Soto its biannual "Milton Friedman Prize"—which comes with a hefty $500,000 check—for "empowering the poor" and "advancing the cause of liberty." De Soto was chosen by a prize jury consisting of such notable humanitarians as former Pinochet labor minister Jose Piñera, Vladimir Putin’s economic advisor Andrei Illarionov, Washington Post neoconservative columnist Anne Applebaum, FedEx CEO Fred Smith, and Milton Friedman’s wife Rosie. Milton was in the audience during the awards ceremony; he heartily approved.

Indeed, Hernando De Soto is de facto royalty in the world of neoliberal-libertarian gurus—he’s been called "The Friedrich von Hayek of Latin America," not least because Hayek launched De Soto’s career as a guru more than three decades ago.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

@arendt ....yet more blood left in the Chicago/Austrian School's wake. Fuck those assholes.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

arendt's picture

@The Aspie Corner
than Milton. Milton's dad was a small sweatshopper; and Milton had a chip on his shoulder about unions all his life.

Meanwhile:

De Soto was born into an elite "white European" family in Peru, who fled into exile in the West following Peru’s 1948 coup—his father was the secretary to the deposed president. Hernando spent most of the next 30 years in Switzerland, getting his education at elite schools, working his way up various international institutions based in Geneva, serving as the president of a Geneva-based copper cartel outfit, the International Council of Copper Exporting Countries, and working as an official in GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs).

De Soto didn’t return to live in Peru until the end of the 1970s, to oversee a new gold placer mining company he’d formed with a group of foreign investors.

- Mark Ames, The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar

Same shit as Milton in a nicer wrapper. Strangely, the president ousted in 1948 was a moderate leftist and he was ousted by a rightwing military coup. His background doesn't explain why de Soto is so vile and manipulative to the poor.

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arendt's picture

@arendt

Proponents of neo-liberal “market” policies, which appear to be on a constant rampage to commodify every last inch of the planet, have happily encouraged the “opening” of the Amazon to foreign capital investment. Peruvian proponents of such policies, including President Garcia, have argued that such investment is the way to “modernize” the Amazon and make it productive. Anyone who impedes such noble “progress” is seen as selfish and a traitor. In fact, as if Garcia’s disdain and disrespect for the Native people of his country were not obvious enough through his classification of them as “second class citizens,” two years ago, Garcia wrote an opinion column in which he compared them to a gardener’s dog...

While Garcia’s lack of sophistication has made his argument easy to pick apart, leading Peruvian economist, Hernando De Soto, has framed his push toward neoliberalism in a much more favorable light. Instead of blatantly embedding his argument in Garcia’s racist discourse, De Soto has cleverly co-opted the language of leftist intellectuals...

Contrary to De Soto‘s vision, however, most indigenous groups hold their land under common title and many even chose to hold and work the land in a communal format. For De Soto, this communal land is unproductive, because individuals are unable to use it to produce more capital without the permission of the entire community. What he so often fails to discuss, however, is that in risking your land for credit, you can potentially lose it. Thus, it becomes evident that with private interests salivating at the chance of getting their hands on a piece of the Amazon, it is likely that communities would be greatly disturbed by even one or two individuals being forced to default on their loans. By individualizing and privatizing indigenous land, extractive industry would be able to apply a new version of their divide-and-conquer tactics, as indigenous groups would have little legal ground to stand on when opposing the sale of the neighbor’s land to an oil company. If even very few individuals in desperate situations could be bought off, the entire community could be at risk of being destroyed through the impacts of the extractive industries.

-from 2009, The Neoliberal Crusade For Resources on Indigenous Lands in the Peruvian Amazon

Feel free to add other info. Just google {"hernando de soto" neoliberal} and you will get literally tens of thousands of hits.

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mimi's picture

@arendt
I am sure you know way more about him and his theories and economics. All I can say is that I read his book as a lay person and he didn't cross over to me as saying "give the poor ownership of whatever small corner of life they have—shanty homes, rural farms—and this type of “property formalization” will unleash their entrepreneurial spirit and thus increase standards of living for them and billions of poor around the globe. Au contraire.
I didn't even know that he was praised by Clinton etc.

Well, thanks for pointing out your opinion about him. I need to read a lot more and refresh my memories. I just remember vaguely that measuring land actuall started the misery of poverty,because it started the possibility of creating wealth for the few and poverty for the many. Those who then could sell the land that was measured and those who never would own land.

I don't remember that he said it would "unleash their entrepreneurial spirit" and "increase their standard of living". Contrary, before measuring the land the peasants lived on, they were better able to feed and shelter themselves than after measuring it out. May be I mistook the book or don't remember it anymore correctly.

It is definitely about time for me to educate myself better and read your links and read the books. Thanks for guiding me in that direction. And btw. I know nothing about South America. I am just not edcuated enough.

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arendt's picture

@mimi

when I was young and naive, I fell for a lot of the carefully crafted BS of Michael Novak, who presented himself as a liberal theologian who just happened to be thick as thieves with the right wing:

Novak served on the board of directors of the now-defunct Coalition for a Democratic Majority, a conservative anti-Communist faction of the Democratic Party, which sought to influence Democratic Party policies in the same direction that the Committee on the Present Danger later did.

- Wikipedia

But I do encourage you to readup on de Soto, on the micro-loan scam that has ensnared so much of the third world, and on Pierre Omidyar.

As for de Soto, read the part of the Mark Ames story I've been quoting that tells how de Soto was up to his eyeballs with the US Deep State.

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mimi's picture

@arendt
in my old age (am 70 now), because I knew I had to. I didn't consider myself a naive person when I was around thirty to forty years old and never were able to "educate myself" and talk smart about all the different economic theories and solution models etc. (I was a mommy, a low hourly wage earner with a degree that was worthless, had to cook, work, raise my kiddo in environments that were foreign to me and also was educated more in science and math than history, economics and political science in different educational systems than the US one, on top of it). I thought of myself displaced, educated in the wrong field to make something with it in other countries than my home country Germany, but I didn't consider myself necessarily as naive.

Others hopped from country to country as economists being employed by those international organizations (hated by many) to "implement programs" that were designed to fight against poverty in rural areas. Those programs never worked and did't do what they were supposed to achieve. To say or write so openly for some meant to endanger your job.

I couldn't read the books the way I wanted to, but could watch people from around the world, working together and make some mental notes about their tensions with each other. Gender competition, power struggles among the genders, professional competition among French, German, American and African economists, what kind of family roots those economists had and how they were brought up, was way more important to explain divisions than the different theoretical economic models they discussed or wrote about. At least that was the impressions I got watching them.

I alos watched more or less close-up and personally what's the difference between hiding your thoughts in your professional environments of experts to not get fired for your true thoughts, being co-opted or brainwashed mentally, or being bribed and worse being an active traitor to harm your colleages (or constituents if you were in politics) in the backdoor rooms or underground. And I watched those traits in all races, ethinicities, nationalities and social strata. Not in detail, but enough to 'get the picture'.

I might have been uneducated, but I had my eyes to watch and listen to everyday conversations among experts, while being a 'dummy' just to become a not-so-naive and a non-believing bystander in the background.

God willing, I will get my mind together to dig into the books and theories. It's about time. But more often than not I ask myself: "What for?" these days.

Thanks for the conversation. I need another nap now. Smile

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mimi's picture

@arendt
uneducated and had no idea. I will read and follow your links. Thanks.

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the back and forth on this site! Twist one up, pour your favorite beverage, sit back and LEARN some Shit!
DAMN but it's Fun.

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Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

mimi's picture

at the mental health asylum.

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Big Al's picture

@mimi Got to have the drugs in there somewhere.

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lotlizard's picture

@mimi  
Ensuring a better user experience as we writhe against our restraints.

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