+- +-

+-User

Welcome, Guest.
Please login or register.
 
 
 
Forgot your password?

+-Stats ezBlock

Members
Total Members: 52
Latest: Carnesia
New This Month: 0
New This Week: 0
New Today: 0
Stats
Total Posts: 16222
Total Topics: 264
Most Online Today: 2
Most Online Ever: 201
(December 08, 2019, 11:34:38 pm)
Users Online
Members: 0
Guests: 3
Total: 3

Author Topic: The American Dream  (Read 691 times)

0 Members and 0 Guests are viewing this topic.

Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 936
This Week In Doom, October 27: "Get Over It"
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2019, 03:44:57 pm »


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Like us on Facebook

 

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on October 27, 2019

“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell”  ― Carl Sandburg


Last night, Trump tweeted "…." An ellipsis. Later a message that "Something very big has just happened!" Today, Trump says that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of the Islamic State, has been killed after a U.S. special operations mission targeted him in northwestern Syria. Trump claimed credit, declaring that U.S. forces have brought "the world's No. 1 terrorist leader to justice." 

This latest announcement is part of a diversion to hijack the narrative of the past week, and change the subject from a devastating confirmation of his misdeeds, corruptions and felonies while in office. After several weeks of having both the facts and the law go against #TeamTreason, Trump and his gaggle of dead-enders are reduced to hijacking the narrative, pounding the table and stealing the valor of American servicemen. Because the facts are in, and Trump's impeachment is a certainty.


During this week's closed-door testimony of William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, the so-called “quid pro quo“ was defined point by point. Taylor illustrated how Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in the hope of pressuring president Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations into a thoroughly discredited conspiracy theory about the 2016 election, in the hopes of reversing the “Russia did it“ narrative and smearing the candidacy of Joe Biden.  Thus did he effectively bring down the teetering remains of the Trump administration, even though Trumpsuckers and nearly 40% of the population will have never heard of Amb. Taylor or his testimony.

When you can make John Bolton look like the Voice of Restraint, you’ve really gone far afield. Yet here we are. Taylor reported that when Bolton got wind of a meeting with Ukrainian officials at which Gordon Sundland, the US ambassador to the EU, brought up the investigations, he shut it down, and later referred to the scheme as an “drug deal."

The extent to which the House investigation has uncovered one aspect of the criminal Ukraine grift after another stems from actions taken after Trump's first year. When Trump named a government, he put a number of people in place no longer working for a notably high-turnover administration. Names like Tillerson, Mattis, McMaster, even Flynn, Bannon, et all have come and gone. Even the acerbic John Kelly, who replaced the ill-fated Reince Priebus, had to go.  

Trump made repeated attempts to rein in or fire Mueller during the investigation, and was saved from that misconduct only by the refusal of people around him to incriminate themselves (including former  White House counsel Don McGahn; Rob Porter, his staff secretary; and even Corey Lewandowski, who was otherwise eager to punch a female reporter in his zeal to obey Fat Orange. Even Kirstjen Nielsen, executrix of some of the most heinous American human rights violations ever perpetrated on the helpless since the genocide of native peoples, proved neither compliant nor extreme enough.

During the first year to 18 months, rumors leaked to the White House that Trump was chafing at being told "no" so often by his advisers. Reportedly he wanted to “let Trump be Trump,“ and that he was restive at those telling him he couldn’t do something because of the “Law.” Like most petty autocrats, Trump has no use for the law aside from bankruptcy law or stiffing contractors, or for those who traffic in it, (except for pet Attorneys General and hand nominated supreme court judges.)

As a result, during the worst crisis of this “administration,” (which might more properly described as opera bouffe about a bumbling, mid-level mafia crew if the stakes for the rest of us weren't so high) Fat Orange has no staff depth, and makes it up as he goes along.

Trump has run this administration as if it was a reality TV show; this illustrates that he understands the psyche of the average American pretty well, since most people figure if they haven’t seen it on TV, it doesn’t exist. A generation that has either given up on or reading newspapers as they shrink their way to irrelevance, has fewer sources of information. And after three years of multiple-times-a-day confrontation with vulgarity and brazen mendacity, most prefer to tune out rather than have their precious spare time soiled by T-Rex. Yet the law and the courts operate outside of the range of the television cameras and grind away according to the dictates of black letter law. This is where Trump will be up against it, not matter how furiously he pounds his tiny orange fists on the table.

Returning to the testimony of William B. Taylor: NBC News reported Taylor told the committee about the order to withhold military funding to Ukraine:  Taylor said that an unnamed Office of Management and Budget official told him that “the directive had come from the president to the chief of staff to OMB.” This makes clear that the order came from Trump himself. This means Trump can’t claim that he didn’t know what Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was doing and can't simply scapegoat Mulvaney or others for the Ukraine quid pro quo, because it’s clear that people within OMB were well aware that the order came from the top.

What you might call a "smoking howitzer."

For all of this, Trump bet the house on getting a CNN soundbite from Zelensky.

These ass hats were concocting a Q Anon-level fiction to prosecute a conspiracy theory which holds that Ukraine hacked Democrats emails and set up Russia to get blamed for it  during 2016. For this, we are all fortunate that Trump has such a fragile ego, and is so desperate for redress and validation. A better politician would’ve told Democrats and critics to go **** themselves.

Notice how Barr keeps popping up, Zelig like, in many of the stories. First in Ukraine, then in Italy, chasing down various threads intended to go into the conspiracy theory voodoo doll. Taylor also ratified the fact that Bill Barr is up to his beefy jowls in the entire mess, since the Justice Department has tried to keep this entire crockpot buried, by advising the acting director of national intelligence to not transmit the whistleblower complaint sounding the alarm about it to Congress. I’m not an attorney, but that looks like obstruction of justice to me. Barr would do well to measure for curtains in John Mitchell's old cell.

If you look forward to what comes ahead, it’s pretty clear the Trump (and was left of his team) realize that this is all going to play out in a court of public opinion, everything that Trump has done in terms of propagandized ring this, including his execrable “lynching“ tweet several days after the passing of Elijah Cummings, has been about distracting from the evidence emerging from hearing rooms by casting doubt on the process, discrediting the whistleblower, serial tweeting, and so on. Looks very much like when Trump goes down, Barr is going with him.


"Conservatives who for eight years sowed the dragon's teeth of partisan politics are horrified to discover they have grown an actual dragon."       -- Stephen King

Why are Ukraine  and Russia story one story? After the Russia-backed government falls in Kiev, Russia invades and annexes Crimea, which had been part of Ukraine. The world community cries foul. The US and others ultimately sanction Russia for the invasion. the sanctions bite. Putin tries to get them lifted. Think back tom 2016, and recall not on ly the trump Tower phone call organized by Fredo Jr. and attended by Kushner and Russian proxies, but also recall that the only point of interest for #TeamTreason in the Republican party platform was the change relative to Ukraine.

In July 2016, WaPo reported:

The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.

Manafort exited the campaign shortly thereafter, but his work had been done. This change confused many, and was greeted with incongruity by others. But for those who possess memory, the liberal superpower, October, 2019 is when a number of other shoes dropped. 

“All roads lead to Putin.”  ― House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  

On October 18, Trump met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Dems in a Cabinet meeting, ostensibly to talk about Trump’s widely opposed pullout of U.S. forces from northern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey’s bloody attack.. The resultant picture was tweeted by Trump as evidence of Pelosi’s weakness. Pelosi posted the image across the top of her Twitter page. It's been downhill for Trump ever since, at least in the court of legitimate public opinion.

The resultant picture (caricaturized at top) has been subject to as many alternative, self-serving, and contradictory interpretations as Rashomon.

The dramatic official White House photograph shows Pelosi standing and pointing at the seated president across the Cabinet Room table. Although the two are separated by only a few feet, the space illustrated a yawning divide and chronicled in a flash the state of a nation convulsed by impeachment, the prominence of women in politics and the 2020 election.

The reaction to the image, from the top down, also reflected the Rohrschach-type reality that even an image can be narrated in vastly different ways...

The photo shows Pelosi standing, finger pointed at Trump, who is saying something back.

“I think I was excusing myself from the room,” Pelosi said. “At that moment I was probably saying, ‘All roads lead to Putin.”


All of which comes after "Get Over It, " in which: Mick Mulvaney admits, then denies, quid pro quo. The acting White House chief of staff said on Thursday last that the U.S. had withheld nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine to further President Trump’s political interests, effectively confirming a key premise of the impeachment inquiry. Mulvaney later tried to reverse his comments, saying that “there was absolutely no quid pro quo.” Read his conflicting statements. By this time the toothpaste had left the tube. A White House spokesman had not made such a public ass of themselves since Ron Ziegler in 1973 saying that"a prior statement was "inoperative."


It's not opera bouffe without elements of farce. Bringing us to Rudy Giuliani.

3 big reasons why Rudy Giuliani is the weakest link in Trump's inner circle as the Ukraine scandal widens

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested on October 10 trying to board an international flight with one-way tickets at Dulles International. They were headed to Vienna, the home of Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who reported ly has been bankrolling their schemes, which include illegal political donations. Parnas and Fruman, have been indicted on campaign finance charges. They were part of the pressure campaign on Ukraine to investigate President Trump’s political rivals, including Joe Biden.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York said. Parnas and. Fruman “conspired to circumvent the federal laws against foreign influence by engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and state office,” including by making donations to a pro-Trump super PAC. Read the indictment.

The indictment refers to a “Congressman-1” — identified as former Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas — who was the lucky beneficiary of approximately $3 million that the super PAC spent during the 2018 cycle. The men sought Sessions’s help in removing the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, “at least in part at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials,” according to the indictment.

Parnas and Fruman were arrested on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.


 

FBI counterintelligence bombshell just landed on Rudy Giuliani’s head

After Rudy announced that he no longer had a lawyer and didn’t need one, yet another person tied to his Ukraine scandal was arrested. This came amid news that Rudy tried to get Donald Trump to take a guy in Pennsylvania and sell him off to Turkey. Now the news has somehow got even worse for Giuliani.

It’s not just that the SDNY is deep into investigating Rudy Giuliani’s criminal finances, which we’ve all known for a few days. It’s that the FBI is also running a counterintelligence probe into Rudy’s international antics, according to a CNN bombshell this afternoon.

This means the Feds aren’t just looking to nail Rudy for having committed financial crimes by taking payoffs from foreign governments and entities. They’re pursuing Rudy for the crimes he committed against the United States, on behalf of the nations that were paying him off.

 

And of course, Trump said he had no idea who Rosencranz and Guildenstern were, nor had he ever met them. Not so much.

Rudy Giuliani was carrying out his Ukraine antics at Trump’s instruction, while Rudy was being bankrolled by Parnas’ hilariously named company Fraud Guarantee. We’re supposed to believe that Trump didn’t know Rudy was relying on Parnas, even though Trump has spent years posing for pictures with Parnas? 

And why Rudy Giuliani and his arrested henchmen were planning to flee to Vienna?

Because that's where the money is. 

Vienna is where wealthy Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash is currently being held under house arrest. Now it all makes perfect sense.

Rudy’s associates weren’t just trying to flee the country because they were trying to avoid arrest. Rudy and his associates were planning to go to Vienna so they could huddle with Firtash, who has long been suspected of being knee deep in the Trump-Rudy criminal conspiracy in Ukraine.

Recently the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, met with a small group of Republicans at Camp David.This after Gen. William McRaven’s Op-Ed:  “Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President”


Had enough yet?

The testimonies of William Taylor, Fiona Hill, and others have confirmed that while official American policy was to encourage democracy in Ukraine to help it fight off Russia, the Trump administration ran a shadow foreign policy team, headed by Rudy Guiliani, and including special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, the Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Trump did not want "to provide any assistance at all" to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia. Trump personally intervened to withhold money that Congress had appropriated for that struggle until Ukraine leaders promised to state publicly that they were opening an investigation into the company for which Joe Biden's son Hunter worked. 

Trump's position that there was "no quid pro quo" is in the shredder. Taylor kept proof in the form of a paper trail: what the young people call, "the receipts." This. Is. Huge. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tried calling leaks from Taylor's testimony "a coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats waging war on the Constitution," but Taylor's statement was explosive even without hearing what he said behind closed doors. 

Note, though, what Taylor said Trump wanted in exchange for the release of military aid. He didn't demand actual dirt on Hunter Biden (again, there is no evidence that Biden did anything illegal), but rather he wanted a public declaration that Ukraine was investigating the company for which Biden worked. This all came down to getting a soundbite on CNN with which he could compromise the candidacy of a political opponent. An announcement that Ukraine was investigating the company, dumped into the media, would swamp Joe Biden's presidential candidacy. 

This is important. Trump understood that the idea that Ukraine was investigating corruption was the story, not that actual corruption existed or could be foujnd, let alone proved. This is 2016 redux with the story of Clinton's emails, which continually dominated 2016 election coverage, and which we now know was a complete non-story. Trump wanted to skew the public narrative before the 2020 election, and he pressured a foreign government to help him do that. Look for the coming impeachment battle to be waged on television.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.


AGelbert

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 33007
  • Location: Colchester, Vermont
    • Renwable Revolution
Re: This Week In Doom, October 27: "Get Over It"
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2019, 04:34:30 pm »
Trump and his Wrecking Crew of crooks and liars get more brazen all the time. Unless the U.S. military backs Trump going full Head Banana of the U.S. Banana "Republic", I just don't see how most of them can avoid the big house.



Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 936
The Year in Doom 2019
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2020, 08:04:08 am »


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Like us on Facebook

 

 

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on December 29, 2019

"Violence is as American as cherry pie."  --H. Rap Brown​  


2019 has been a year of notable accomplishments and disasters: China became the first country to gain access to the far side of the moon, thus announcing itself in the space race, the Ebola epidemic continued in the Congo, birds and insects continue to die at alarming rates, upsetting natural ecosystems everywhere, drought continued in southern Africa and, more recently, Australia, in combination with ruinous bush fires. California continue to burn during the autumn months.

War continued in Yemen, with millions on the brink of famine and starvation. Protests swept the world, from Haiti to Hong Kong, also making appearances in Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia. (It seems some folks don’t like neocolonialism as much as the west does.) Migrants continue to flee from the Middle East and Africa, and Central America, to places with more hospitable climate and arable soil; Nationalists shrieked in horror, rushed to build walls and whip up furor against potential newcomers. Brazil’s Boisonaro continued to burn the Amazon rainforest; people around the world wringing their hands. United States declared a trade war with China, beginning with the US charging Huawei with fraud. Suicide attacks sparked Indian conflict with Pakistan, which seems like a headline which could be reported every year. India made bold to enact new nationality laws which would exclude Muslims. Terror attacks continued, As a white nationalist killed 50 in New Zealand in March. The first image of a black hole was created. California had earthquakes. Trump shut the government down in January and reopened it several weeks later.

A man killed 22 people In a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso. Enthusiast planned a “raid“ on area 51, which started as a joke but later went viral. It fizzled. Julian Assange was arrested in the UK and held for extradition. Fire broke out at Notre Dame cathedral, A comedian was elected president of Ukraine, and would find that his dealings with United States were anything but funny, and Trump met with Kim Jong-Un after they “fell in love.“ Kim Jong-Un later met with Vladimir Putin, sending a message that he was not prepared to go steady. The US attempted to foment a coup in Venezuela against President Nicolas Maduro, but failed, but managed to foment one in Bolivia to oust Evo Morales, and succeeded. Narendra Modi won a landslide victory in the Indian general election. Theresa May resigned, unable to wrangle Brexit, but Boris Johnson succeeded her, and won an election with enough of a mandate to put Brexit on a path to becoming reality.

Robert Mueller testified, and was a snooze, but Fiona Hill testified and was riveting.  Millions thought Mueller was going to emerge from his prosecutor's office and slap a pair of cuffs on Trump, but forgot that he reports to Bill Barr, Trumps Roy Cohn, and the most corrupt Attorney General of a lifetime, and this includes John Mitchell. Perhaps the biggest political news was a shifting power dynamic in Washington DC, as the consequences of the 2018 elections came to bear in the house brought articles of impeachment against Fat Orange, and at years end they sat on the edge of Nancy Pelosi‘s desk, awaiting Mitch McConnell‘s next move. Trump‘s approval fell to 39% during January‘s partial government shut down, and support for impeachment and removal rose to 55% at years end.

Just to review the bidding, ​One person compiled a list of 100 impeachable offenses by Trump. Here are the top 50.

The ordeal of Trump and his impeachment has been dealt with to death by other sailors with better maps. So this Year end review will not deal in depth with the many depravities of the Trump Crime Family, or with the cottage industry of racists, opportunists buffoons, failkids and grifters who have seen their profiles undeservedly elevated as a result of the Trump presidency: pardoned war criminal Edward Gallagher, Ben Shapiro, Matt Gaetz, Tucker Carlson, Charlie Kirk, Milo, Candace Owens, Stephanie Grisham, Jordan Peterson, Diamond and Silk,  Joseph-Goebbels-cosplayer Stephen Miller, Jim Jordan, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that chattering set of dentures Rudy Colludy, Meghan McCain, Scott Baio, and the entire extended Trump family.

There is plenty to consider apart from our politics as we lift our gaze from our black mirrors, blinded by normalcy bias and unable to imagine changing any of our carefully-calibrated plans to consider harbingers of doom and collapse. I have reviewed a year's worth of postings within the Doomstead Diner Forum and the Doomstead Diner Daily to compile the stories that marked our slow and steady descent. One thing is certain: no one will be able to say "they didn't know" as we spin down from a high-energy  post capitalist civilization to an uncertain, uncharted future where there will be less of everything for everyone.

William Kunstler, in a break from his usual obsequious Trumpsucking, paints the picture as well as anyone in, "There Is No Normal."

We landed in the New World five hundred years ago. It was full of good things that human beings had barely begun to exploit, laid out like a banquet. There was plenty of good virgin soil for growing food, the best timber in the world, clean rivers and great lakes, ores full of iron, gold, and silver, and down deep a bonanza of coal and oil to drive the wheel through very flush times. The past century was particularly supercharged, the oil years.

Imagine living through the very start of all that, the blinding, fantastic newness of modernity...An emergent cavalcade of wonders: electricity, telephones, railroads, subways, skyscrapers! And in a few more years movies, cars, airplanes, radio. Even the backstage wonders of the day were astonishments: household plumbing for all, running hot water, municipal water and sewer systems, refrigeration, tractors! It’s hard to conceive how much these developments changed the human experience of daily life.

Even the traumas of the 20th century’s world wars did not crush that sense of amazing progress, at least not in North America, spared the wars’ mighty wreckage. The post-war confidence of American society achieved a level of in-your-face laughable hubris — see the USA in your Chevrolet! — until John Kennedy was shot down, and after that the delirious moonshot euphoria steadily gave way to corrosive skepticism, anxiety, acrimony, and enmity. My generation, booming into adulthood, naively thought they could fix all that with Earth Day, tofu, and computers, and keep the great wheel rolling down into an even more glorious cybernetic nirvana.

Fakeout. That’s not where the wheel is going. We borrowed all we possibly could from the future to pretend that the system was still working, and now the future is at the door like a re-po man come to take away both the car and the house. The financial scene is an excellent analog to our collective psychology. Its workings depend on the simple faith that its workings work. So, it is easy to imagine what happens when that faith wavers.

We’re on the verge of a lot of things coming apart: supply lines, revenue streams, international agreements, political assumptions, promises to do this and that. We have no idea how to keep it together on the downside. We don’t even want to think about it. The best we can do for the moment is pretend that the downside doesn’t exist.

This is where we are. If you are reading this, you know it. The following sections and articles document what's happening to us. Some of the stories have some exposition. Others do not. Follow the link if the headline interests you.


Breaking Apart

Some years ago a Russian, former KGB operative Igor Panarin, predicted that the US would break up into separate countries.  Panarin is a Russian professor and political scientist best known for predicting that the United States would disintegrate within the next few years.

The Wall Street Journal reports: "Panarin is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations."

Lately other writers are expanding on this concept of Balkanization of the US. According to author Colin Woodard, the United States can be divided into 11 distinct sub-nations (see the above map). Woodard takes Panarin's idea to another level, and is far more granular. Panarin posited that parts of the balkanized former US would affiliate with other countries; Woodard does not. 

Woodard defined and illustrated the regions in his 2012 book "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America." Some regions sound familiar, like the "Deep South"; others might surprise, such as the "Midlands" region that stretches from New Jersey to northeastern New Mexico. 

"The country has been arguing about a lot of fundamental things lately, including state roles and individual liberty," Woodard, a Maine native, told Business Insider... In order to have any productive conversation on these issues, you need to know where you come from. Once you know where you are coming from, it will help move the conversation forward."

Whether fact or metaphor, the image of a country coming apart is useful in order to understand what follows.

Demography is Destiny

In an Atlantic article, How America Ends- A tectonic demographic shift is under way. Can the country hold together? Yoni Applebaum writes,

As partisans have drifted apart geographically and ideologically, they’ve become more hostile toward each other. In 1960, less than 5 percent of Democrats and Republicans said they’d be unhappy if their children married someone from the other party; today, 35 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Democrats would be, according to a recent Public Religion Research Institute/Atlantic poll—far higher than the percentages that object to marriages crossing the boundaries of race and religion. As hostility rises, Americans’ trust in political institutions, and in one another, is declining. A study released by the Pew Research Center in July found that only about half of respondents believed their fellow citizens would accept election results no matter who won. At the fringes, distrust has become centrifugal: Right-wing activists in Texas and left-wing activists in California have revived talk of secession.

Secession notwithstanding, demographic shifts seem to fueling the white rage and nationalism that ignites the pyre of our current politics. ("You...will NOT replace us!") The theme of her article is that moderate Republicans can "save America." The fatal flaw in this argument is that there are no longer any "moderate Republicans," and that the Republican party is the party of Trump, meaning the party of Atwater, Rove, and ascendant white nationalism, who having tasted power are loath to give it up. The Rs have the power to nominate and approve unqualified right wing ideologies to pollute the federal bench for generations, and if they have to resort to right wing paramilitaries to keep it that way, so be it. Stories that moved this year that illustrate this:


The US white majority will soon disappear forever

The relentless factories of hatred, fear and lies: on the ultraconservative and reactionary waves

Yes, America is divided. The real story is how, why, and who benefits

Will America’s billionaires start a second Civil War to protect their wealth and power?

Trump Voters Driven by Fear of Losing Status, Not Economic Anxiety, Study Finds

The ‘Russia Hoax’ Is a Hoax

Donald Trump Is the Mad-King President Our Founders Feared Most

“We’re Americans, And We’re Fascists”: Inside Patriot Front

Top Military Officers Unload on Trump

The commander in chief is impulsive, disdains expertise, and gets his intelligence briefings from Fox News. What does this mean for those on the front lines?

This article was timely given Trump's announcement regarding removing American troops from Syria. Since they should not have been there in the first place, this seems a good thing. Except that we left the Kurds (who have fought wars for the Empire in pursuit of their own autonomy and based on American promises) in the lurch and to the tender mercies of Erdogan. I am old enough to remember how the Americans recruited the Hmong in Vietnam and Laos, then abandoned them after their utility in the US's "secret" wars was spent. 

As we speculate on next steps for what the military will do when Trump refuses to leave, I found this article instructive. On the other hand, I wish Mad Dog Mattis were still part of Pud's cabinet, as I deemed him most likely offer him the vigorous backhand of common sense.

If Trump Rage Brings ‘Civil War,’ Where Will Soldiers Stand?

The moment may come when soldiers have to choose between the Constitution and Donald Trump. No doubt most will embrace the Constitution. But some will see that as a tough call.

Trump Is ‘Last Hope for White People,’ Said Police Chief on Trial

Russian Secret Weapon Against U.S. 2020 Election Revealed In New Cyberwarfare Report

You Can Smell the Fear

8chan Is a Normal Part of Mass Shootings Now

Three white-nationalist shooters appear to have posted manifestos on the same troll forum. Here’s how 8chan became a meme-filled refuge for hate.

This Billboard Is a Sign of the Wild and Dangerous Forces Surging Through the Country

Forces that Donald Trump, American president, is actively stoking. Welcome the harvest sown in the wake the USA PATRIOT Act and follow-on legislation, by those who want to offer aid and succor to white supremacists while criminalizing opposition to them. The families of Eric Garner, tamer rice, Sandra Bland, et al were not asked for comment.

Two senators want antifa activists to be labeled ‘domestic terrorists.’ Here’s what that means.

The lack of a central governing system for antifa creates the risk of wrongly applying the label to all counterprotesters of white supremacists, according to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that opposes anti-Semitism. This kind of mislabeling, the ADL said, could cause police to violate the civil rights of peaceful activists.

The ADL said antifa activists’ violent tactics are wrong, but that antifa and white supremacists are not equivalent. Far-right extremists have killed hundreds of people in the past decade, the ADL said, while there have been no known antifa-related killings.

Fascist Activists Have Spent The Last Year Trying to Win Over Police

Trump-Drunk Republicans Are Choosing Russia Over the Constitution

If the Republiconfederates thought about it, they would be attempting to insure that this was a nation of laws rather than men so that their descendants would be treated equitably. But no one in this country engages in thinking about anything except making the quarter, so it is probably unfair to single outright wingers for being guilty of short-term thinking. Instead, they line up in unthinking support of El Jefe, because they are terrified of opposing him, and getting primaried from the right. 

The Day People Disappeared and a New Strategy for Stealing Votes

Broken white men and the racist media that fuels their terrorism

America's Cult of Ignorance

More people are better educated than ever before, and knowledge is easier to come by. So why do we so often scorn those who plainly know more than we do? File under, "The Death of Expertise."


Unrest Everywhere

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

W.B Yeats

This oft-quoted poem is a relevant today as it was when written 100 years ago. Protests raging on the streets of cities around the world in the past months have  triggers that vary with the locale. But what fuels them are common themes: stagnating middle classes, stifled democracy, economic inequality and the bone-deep conviction that things can be different – even if the way forward is uncertain.

More than 500,000 people rallied in Barcelona ...amid a general strike after Spain sentenced Catalonia’s former separatist leaders to prison.

In Hong Kong, the police fired tear gas and anti-government protesters lit fires as tens of thousands of people marched today despite an official ban and attacks on the march promoters.

Chile declared a state of emergency after a transportation fare increase set off violence and looting. Subway stations, banks, buses and the headquarters of the country’s largest electricity provider were burned. Lebanese protesters enraged by corruption and dysfunction marched in Beirut and other cities, calling for the government’s overthrow.

Knowing about what happened to Allende was one of the ends of my innocence, and one of my way-stations on the road to collapse. Learning this story drove home what US foreign policy REALLY meant to a 23 year old with **** for brains, as well as the important lesson that Henry Kissinger was the spawn of Satan. The US was not going to tolerate a Marxist in Chile; but a fascist was just fine. Pinochet was Nixon's man. So they sponsored a coup.

Pinochet's Chile featured crimes against humanity, persecution of opponents, political repression, and state terrorism for openers. From Wikipedia:

The most prevalent forms of state-sponsored torture that Chilean prisoners endured were electric shocks, waterboarding, beatings, and sexual abuse. Another common mechanism of torture employed was "disappearing" those who were deemed to be potentially subversive because they adhered to leftist political doctrines. The tactic of "disappearing" the enemies of the Pinochet regime was systematically carried out during the first four years of military rule. The "disappeared" were held in secret, subjected to torture and were often never seen again.

We'd later learn that coup plotting, torture and wet work were the curriculum at the School of the Americas (now rebranded a la Blackwater, "The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation." Your tax dollars at work.

And an added bonus, Chile got the classical unrestrained “free market” policies of Milton Friedman, enforced by the military junta, which yielded a bumper crop of  human rights violations, institutionalized brutality, and drastic control and suppression of every form of meaningful dissent. The fact is, the truth of what happened in Chile was not that hard to find inside the US. Another fact is that no one cared.

And Haiti is on the brink of collapse because of a power struggle between its president and a surging opposition movement that has led to weeks of violent demonstrations and left streets across the country barricaded. Related stories from 2019:

Human Rights Watch supports US-backed far-right coup in Bolivia, whitewashes massacre of indigenous protesters

Media Silent as Bolivia's Coup Gov't Massacres Indigenous Protesters

Suppressing Dissent Guarantees Disorder and Collapse

The FBI’s Long History of Treating Political Dissent as Terrorism

Civil Unrest Is The New Normal Out There

A world on fire: Here are all the major protests happening around the globe right now

Tensions High as Far-Right Rally Tied To Threats Hits Portland

FBI Received Reports That Border Militia Was Training to Assassinate Prominent Democrats

Larry Hopkins, the leader of an extremist militia group known as the United Constitutional Patriots was arrested by the FBI in April after videos emerged of the group rounding up and detaining migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico. According to the New York Times, the FBI first became aware of Hopkins activities in 2017, when they received reports that his group was “training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama because of these individuals’ support of Antifa,” according to newly unsealed court documents.

49 killed in terrorist attack at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand suspect inspired by French writer who fears ‘replacement’ by immigrants

Ocasio-Cortez hits NRA after New Zealand shooting: 'What good are your thoughts and prayers?'

As QAnon Goes Mainstream, Trump’s Rallies Are Turning Darker

Under Trump, conspiracy theories and an all out assault on the truth have created a strange new reality.

‘I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth’ 

A self-proclaimed white nationalist planned a mass terrorist attack, the government says

Imagine what we have to look forward to in an election year.


Environmental Collapse

“A society’s fate lies in its own hands and depends substantially on its own choices.” 
― Jared Diamond

Few know what COP25 stands for (COP means Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.) The 25 stands for the 25th year that such an annual conferences has taken place, each year in different country, a tourist bonanza for the thousands travel but light on results and bereft of action steps.The COP 25 Failure in Madrid this fall encapsulates the impotence of governments around the world to acknowledge there is a problem with climate change, much less summon the will to do anything about it.

It is an illusion to believe that Big Business, Big Industry, Big Finance - and Big Growth-driven Profit - will yield to environmental or climate concerns. In spite of attracting 27,000 attendees, including Time Magazine's Person of the Year Greta Thunberg, the conference achieved alomst nothing.

Ultimately, however, the talks were unable to reach consensus in many areas, pushing decisions into next year under “Rule 16” of the UN climate process. Matters including Article 6, reporting requirements for transparency and “common timeframes” for climate pledges were all punted into 2020, when countries are also due to raise the ambition of their efforts.

UN secretary general António Guterres said he was “disappointed” with the results of COP25 and that “the international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation & finance to tackle the climate crisis.”

This section has many links. The headlines tell a story of their own, with news that is almost unremittingly bad.

Sea Level Rise

The Arctic Is Undergoing Changes Scientists 'Never Expected Would Happen This Soon'

With Sea Level Rise, We've Already Hurtled Past a Point of No Return

Global Warming Will Drown Bangkok, Shanghai, Mumbai

150 million people are currently living in places that will be below high-tide in 30 years, according to new research

Nine climate tipping points now 'active,' warn scientists

IPCC report: Sea levels could be a metre higher by 2100

Sea Level Rise Maps

Speculative maps showing the changes to our world from an 80m sea level rise. Effectively all ice on earth having melted. Created with a variety of climate science reference, digital elevation models, and Photoshop.

Alaska’s Sea Ice Completely Melted for First Time in Recorded History

Big Heat

The hellish future of Las Vegas in the climate crisis: 'a place where we never go outside'

‘Bleak’ U.N. Climate Study: World on Track for Up to 3.9 Degrees Warming by 2100

In Greenland’s Melting Ice, A Warning on Hard Climate Choices

Melting permafrost in the Arctic is unlocking diseases and warping the landscape

A Weather Station Above the Arctic Circle Hit 94.6 Degrees Fahrenheit

Over the past year, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg gained increased global attention for her work. From speaking in front of the United Nations to creating Fridays for Future,

Greta Thunberg Speaks the Horrific Truth of Humanity’s Fate

Xraymike returns to the keyboard with another lighthearted frolic.

We'd Better Retreat from the Coasts While We Still Can, Scientists Urge Amid Climate Crisis

Do it now or do it later, with much, much worse outcomes.

Degradation

Soil in the Arctic Is Now Releasing More Carbon Dioxide Than 189 Countries

Oceans losing oxygen at unprecedented rate, experts warn

Following a Familiar Script, U.S. Withdraws From Paris Climate Pact

Experts declare climate emergency and warn of 'untold human suffering'

EPA to Weaken Public Protections Against Toxic Coal Ash in Water

Insects are going extinct in DROVES, finds new study

Dark money is pouring in to protect the "worst energy policy in the country"

Report Shows 'Stunning and Dramatic' Scenes of Thawing Permafrost in Siberia That 'Leaves Millions on Unstable Ground'

There used to be 4 billion American chestnut trees, but they all disappeared


Goldman Sachs released a 34-page analysis of the impact of climate change. And the results are terrifying.

When the Vampire Squid says it's bad, perhaps even the elites will listen. They won't listen to Greta, but when the Squid speaks...

 

Global Burning

Welcome To The Third World, Part 30: California Burning In The Dark 

We’re About to Become People Fighting Desperately Fighting For Survival on a Dying Planet, and It’s Not Going to Be Pretty

Or, When Self-Preservation Takes Over, It Usually Takes Civilization, Democracy, Decency, and Sanity With It

Experts Brace For An Apocalyptic Future As Earth’s Forests Burn To The Ground

Amazon fires could accelerate global warming and cause lasting harm to a cradle of biodiversity

Amazon on fire: 'The earth isn’t dying. It’s being killed.'

Scientists shocked by Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years sooner than predicted

(How) Climate Change is a Hangover of Colonialism, Exploitation, and Slavery

(Why) Climate Change Isn’t About Your Burger — It’s About (Centuries of) 10% of the World Growing Rich by Leaving 90% of the World Poor

Europe is burning just as new research offers a chilling truth about the volatility of climate change

Cooler years mask the underlying behaviour of the system. As natural variations move in the other direction, they can unleash a period of supercharged heating

Satellite Images Show Vast Swaths of the Arctic On Fire

Vast stretches of Earth’s northern latitudes are on fire right now. Hot weather has engulfed a huge portion of the Arctic, from Alaska to Greenland to Siberia. That’s helped create conditions ripe for wildfires, including some truly massive ones burning in remote parts of the region that are being seen by satellites.

The New Trail of Tears: How climate change is forcing the relocation of species, including our own

Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change

The North Atlantic ocean current, which warms northern Europe, may be slowing

'We are 50 to 100 years ahead of schedule with the slowdown of this ocean circulation pattern,' says climate scientist Michael Mann.

Heatwave: Think It’s Hot in Europe? The Human Body Is Already Close to Thermal Limits Elsewhere

Earth's Ancient Life Forms Are Awakening After 40,000 Years in Permafrost

By 2050, many world cities will have weather like they’ve never seen, new study says

Humans destroyed 10% of wilderness in just 25 years

The poisons released by melting Arctic ice

This remarkable Greenland photo highlights extreme Arctic melting

Report: Prepare for the Climatic Collapse of Civilization

The end of the Arctic as we know it

Arctic Is Thawing So Fast Scientists Are Losing Their Measuring Tools

Previously thought stable permafrost terrain high in Arctic is melting due to increased summer temperatures

Start planning for catastrophes, new EPA document says

Release of a government report means that even the last to know, know. regardless of their public posturing. Research details how human-caused climate change is contributing to record heat, more-intense storms, more-severe flooding and other events.

 

Biodiversity

'What Could Be More Important?': World Leaders, Media Ignore Biodiversity Report Detailing Mass Extinction Event Now Underway

California's monarch butterfly population drops 86% in single year

'Almost certain extinction': 1,200 species under severe threat across world

Climate of North American cities will shift hundreds of miles in one generation

Science, Sensationalism, and the Lessons of 'Insectageddon'

Humans Are Wiping Out Species So Fast That Evolution Can't Keep Up

Arctic sea ice loaded with microplastics

Plants are going extinct up to 350 times faster than the historical norm

 

Food and water

Water is a growing source of global conflict. Here’s what we need to do

Climate crisis reducing land’s ability to sustain humanity, says IPCC

Why does Stamford company director say: "We are going to starve to death?"

'Biggest Crisis No One Is Talking About': Quarter of Humanity Faces 'Extremely High Water Stress' Intensified by Climate Emergency

The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but it's rapidly disappearing

Ruined crops, salty soil: How rising seas are poisoning North Carolina’s farmland

Climate Change Is Here—and It Looks Like Starvation

Over One-Tenth of Global Population Could Lack Drinking Water by 2030

First global look finds most rivers awash with antibiotics

Almost two-thirds of the rivers studied contained enough antibiotics to contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Victoria Falls dries to a trickle after worst drought in a century

Himalayan glaciers that supply water to a billion people are melting fast

Expert Says Indians Will Soon Become Water Refugees Heading for Water-Rich Europe

Rajendra Singh, also known as the “Waterman of India”, says over 70 percent of the country has dried up, and this may lead to climatic migration to other countries.


The Great Culling: They Don't Give a Flying **** About You

“If people feel lost and alone and helpless and broken and hopeless today, what will it be like if the world really begins to come apart at the hinges?” 
― Brandon Andress​

****-nra-e1577400440560.jpg" rel="" style="" target="" title="">****-nra-e1577400440560.jpg" style="" title="" width="420" />

If you’ve made it this far, you had an opportunity to contemplate the many vectors of environmental ruin headed our way, at a time when collectively we are at one another’s throats with an enthusiasm and sense of purpose rarely seen since the last Civil War.

The current world population is estimated to have reached 7.7 billion people as of April 2019. It took over 200,000 years of human history for the world's population to reach 1 billion; and only 200 years more to reach 7 billion. We are now faced with automation and AI, at a time of profound income (and thus power) inequality. connect the dots to see that robots and algorithms can replace a lot of labor, which is occurring as we speak. And what happens when any private industry takes over a public one? They slash payroll, loot pensions, and rid themselves of "useless eaters," and redistribute the savings to "investors." Wash, rinse, repeat.  Thus, whether by design or default, the Great Culling is Coming To a Theater Near You. "The Great Culling" is not about putting fluoride in your drinking water so much as a plan to reduce earth's population over generations.

RationalWiki calls this a conspiracy theory. And you won't easily find much credibly written on the subject. Yet it is difficult to consider the toxic hellbroth of the rise of ethno-nationalism, climate emergency, the increasingly oppressive tone and tenor of life under increasingly straightened circumstances, the ethics of investment banks and the logic of the spreadsheet, and conclude that such a plan is not in effect as a practical matter. If this hurts, you can always get some Oxycontin from kids at your local middle school. Here are stories that moved in 20019 that illustrate the point.

Sackler Embraced Plan to Conceal OxyContin’s Strength From Doctors, Sealed Testimony Shows — ProPublica

Opioid epidemic may have cost states at least $130 billion in treatment and related expenses – and that's just the tip of the iceberg

The blood of poor Americans is now a leading export, bigger than corn or soy

Good to know the FSoA can still make something that other people in the world want to buy. Besides arms, that is.

Harvesting the Blood of America's Poor: The Latest Stage of Capitalism

When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested

Welcome to Coffeyville, Kansas, where the judge has no law degree, debt collectors get a cut of the bail, and Americans are watching their lives — and liberty — disappear in the pursuit of medical debt collection.

Just 100 Companies Will Sign Humanity’s Death Warrant

Digital dystopia: how algorithms punish the poor

Turkish Scientist Sentenced to Prison for Publishing Paper Linking Pollution to Cancer

The Secretary of Agriculture Just Came Out and Said America Is for Big Business

Interesting tack at a meeting of small farmers who are already in trouble.

How Capitalism Torched the Planet by Imploding Into Fascism

Why Catastrophic Climate Change Is Not A Problem For Fascists — It Is A Solution

Martial law masquerading as law and order: The police state’s language of force

The gloves are off: 'predatory' climate deniers are a threat to our children

"The Public Is Now Aware That the Elites Are Taking Them To Their Death!" Roger Hallam, Extinction Rebellion

NASA Study Concludes When Civilization Will End, And It's Not Looking Good for Us

Pentagon Wants 16-Year-Old Kids To Fight The Empire's Wars

I am among those who think that launching a gratuitous, meat-grinder war in spring of 2020 to self-anoint as a "wartime president™" is completely within Fat Orange's capability. It may already be part of his campaign plan, given the sheer evil of his administration.

For me here is the money shot:

If The Donald gets us into a big shooting war over in the Middle East or in the South China Sea, the mandatory servitude of conscription will be required. It won’t be a turkey shoot like Iraq or Libya. It will be an existential threat, so all males —criminally inclined or not — between 16 and 45 will be inducted, same as they were after FDR tricked the Japanese into invading Pearl Harbor, or Johnson said the North Vietnamese attacked our warships in the Gulf of Tonkin. 

Anyone who thinks that Iran is going to do an "el foldo" like Saddam Hussein did in Iraq is sadly mistaken. Unlike Iraq, which was cobbled together via the Balfour declaration and held together by Saddam's brutality, Iran has a long, continuous history as a people and are not going to be exterminated quietly. Since Iran is surrounded by American bases, the outcome will never be much in doubt, but the costs will be extreme and the fighting scorched earth. Victory will be had, at the cost of your last grandson or granddaughter, so there is little doubt that Uncle Cracker will be looking for fresh meat.

Savage tick-clone armies are sucking cows to death; experts fear for humans. 

Everyone’s Got a “Surveillance Score” and It Can Cost You BIG Money

Congress Targets Middle-Class Retirement Savings

A Stealth Levy on IRAs and 401K Plans to Pay for Corporate and 1% Tax Cuts. Because the Waltons Just Don't Have Enough.

Humans consume the equivalent of a credit card worth of plastic every week

Mitch McConnell is Making the 2020 Election Open Season for Hackers

Millennials are ‘canaries in the coalmine’ for toxic economic trends, say Stanford scholars

A new report by Stanford scholars lays out the problems U.S. millennials face as a result of decades-long rising inequality. Problems they experience include rising mortality rates and increased poverty among those without college degrees.

Audit: Pentagon Cannot Account for $6.5 Trillion Dollars in Taxpayer Money

Banned bread: why does the US allow additives that Europe says are unsafe?

U.S. HAS SPENT SIX TRILLION DOLLARS ON WARS THAT KILLED HALF A MILLION PEOPLE SINCE 9/11, REPORT SAYS

From New York’s fake heiress to Donald Trump, we’re living in the age of the scam

Everywhere you look, there are people who have figured out ways to game our shoddy system

List of mass shootings in the United States in 2019

Our Towns: What Happens to Abandoned Malls?

Meet the precariat, the new global class fuelling the rise of populism

Suicide, alcohol, drug deaths reach all-time high

When the Interests of Monopolists and Authoritarians Coalesce 

 The U.S. is funding dangerous experiments it doesn’t want you to know about

No One Trusts the US Government, Not Even the American People - PaulCraigRoberts.org

Crumbling infrastructure is a hidden tax on all Americans

10 Mind-Blowing Pentagon Audit Reports All Americans Need to Know

Dutch historian Rutger Bregman goes viral after challenging Davos panel to talk about taxing the wealthy

Where he said, unforgettably:

I mean, 1,500 private jets flown in to hear David Attenborough speak about how we're wrecking the planet.
"I hear people talking the language of participation and justice and equality and transparency.
"But then almost no-one raises the real issue of tax avoidance, right, and of the rich just not paying their fair share.
"It feels like I'm at a firefighters' conference and no-one's allowed to speak about water."

He made the mistake of telling the truth.

USDA says filler once known as 'pink slime' can be labeled ground beef

E Coli is a vitamin under Trump. 

"Beef trimmings are easily contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella, so they need to be sterilized with "a puff" of ammonia..."

Bon appetit.


Lying Corporate Media

"Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."

-A. J. Liebling

The news media in this country is under assault both from the political establishment and from the same market and technology forces that have disrupted other business sectors. Newspapers are shrinking, press jobs lost, and many towns are without a daily paper in print. And for those that remain are a hollow, shrunken version of their former selves. Smaller, fewer sections, reliance on wire service content: "yesterday's news tomorrow." Accelerating their demise is their adherence to a radically false doctrine, that of "Both Sides Do It" and thus "both sides" deserve to be treated with fairness and balance. But that doesn't work when one side works in relentless bad faith.

The bad faith works as follows: "We are not bound by what you call facts. We have our own, and we will proceed to put them out regardless of the evidence. We’re not trying to 'win the news cycle,' or curry favor with you. We’re trying to demonstrate independence from and power over you people, and stick your own rules up your nose. Your program is a theater of resentment in which you play a crucial part, and since our base hates your guts, we get to score points with them by displaying our contempt for you."

Here's an excellent analysis of the failures of Chuck Todd (and by extension, the rest of the corporate media opinion-manufacturing industry) by one of the country's best observers of the press, Jay Rosen.

The Christmas Eve Confessions of Chuck Todd

After the better part of a career of allowing republican politicians to posit falsehoods as divinely-received wisdom, Chuck Todd had an epiphany:

Three years after Kellyanne Conway introduced the doctrine of “alternative facts” on his own program, a light went on for Chuck Todd. Republican strategy, he now realized, was to make stuff up, spread it on social media, repeat it in your answers to journalists — even when you know it’s a lie with crumbs of truth mixed in — and then convert whatever controversy arises into go-get-em points with the base, while pocketing for the party a juicy dividend: additional mistrust of the news media to help insulate President Trump among loyalists when his increasingly brazen actions are reported as news.

Note that the very guy who has made a living inviting pathological Republican liars to be on his TV show continues to feign shock at the discovery that they pathologically lie when they're on his TV show. Since taking over the Meet the Press chair from David Gregory, Chuck Todd has displayed the sense of "both sides" faux  balance that has made him one of the Republican party's favorite towel boys. This it would be amusing  to see ol' Chuck protesting and trying to push back with his atrophied, baby arms now that the Republican grifters and Trumpsuckers who come on his show for the purpose of extruding the propaganda do so with the same impunity that he has provided them.

Since 2007 Todd has been NBC’s political director, which means he has influence over all coverage the in-house expert and decision-maker. You don’t get to claim you are naive about politics in such a role. Well, that’s the job. The truth is It’s not naiveté. It’s a willful blindness to what the Republican Party has become.

As such Todd provides a template for most the mass media, whose behavior can be observed (and predicted) though the filter of a quote by Noam Chomsky:

The major media-particularly, the elite media that set the agenda that others generally follow-are corporations “selling” privileged audiences to other businesses. It would hardly come as a surprise if the picture of the world they present were to reflect the perspectives and interests of the sellers, the buyers, and the product. Concentration of ownership of the media is high and increasing. Furthermore, those who occupy managerial positions in the media, or gain status within them as commentators, belong to the same privileged elites, and might be expected to share the perceptions, aspirations, and attitudes of their associates, reflecting their own class interests as well. Journalists entering the system are unlikely to make their way unless they conform to these ideological pressures, generally by internalizing the values; it is not easy to say one thing and believe another, and those who fail to conform will tend to be weeded out by familiar mechanisms."

Oc course, none of this is new. It was observed by muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair in The Brass Check, a book few of us have ever read, let alone heard of. For those of us who virulently distrust corporate media, it's good to know that one of the pillars of the muckraking era exposed it all a century ago and despite being on elf the literary lions of the era, had his book constructively buried and erased from history.

A brass check was the token purchased by a customer in a brothel and given to the woman of his choice. Sinclair implies that, in a similar fashion, the owners of the mass media purchase journalists' services in supporting the owners' political and financial interests.

Sinclair criticizes newspapers and the Associated Press (owned by newspapers) as ultra-conservative and supporting the political and economic powers that be, or as sensational tabloids practicing yellow journalism, such as newspapers run by William Randolph Hearst. In both cases, their purpose is to promote the business interests of the paper's owners, the owner's bankers, and/or the paper's advertisers. Clearly, some things never change.

For his trouble, Sinclair challenged those who charged him with inaccuracy to review his published facts and to sue him for libel if they found him wrong. None did. But because Sinclair was denied access to the mainstream media to refute such charges, they assumed an aura of truth and gave the book a reputation for inaccuracy that have caused it to be largely forgotten.

Those who reviewed the book found The Brass Check's analysis of the media accurate and valuable, "astonishingly prescient in its critique of the coziness of big media and other corporate interests."

The stories:

Newsweek Journo Quits After Editors Kills Report On Syria Chemical Attack Scandal

The Media Yells Cut Whenever Trump Challenges War and Militarism

Who Will Tell the Truth About the Free Press?

The False Balance Between Fascists and Antifascists

Former Israeli Intel Official Claims Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell Worked for Israeli Intel

A former high-ranking official in Israeli military intelligence has claimed that Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual blackmail enterprise was an Israel intelligence operation run for the purpose of entrapping powerful individuals and politicians in the United States and abroad.

The Incredible Belief That Corporate Ownership Does Not Influence Media Content

The Pentagon Wants More Control Over the News. What Could Go Wrong?

The Pentagon is using a moral panic over “fake news” to gain influence over the domestic news landscape

Corporate Media Filled With Nameless Voices Attacking Progressive Democrats

Of Two Minds - It's Not Just the News That's Fake--Everything's Fake

Tiptoeing around Trump’s racism is a betrayal of journalistic truth-telling

Asymmetry between the major parties fries the circuits of the mainstream press - PressThink

Per one source, Russia has seen 42 Journalists killed during Putin's Rule

Trump and Putin Joke About 'Getting Rid of Journalists' on Anniversary of Capital Gazette Shooting

Some Real News About Fake News

It’s not just making people believe false things—a new study suggests it’s also making them less likely to consume or accept information.

Fake Has Become Realer Than Real And The Dogs Of War Are There To Keep It That Way

This is long; you may want to pack a lunch, but it is well reported, and I'll bet you've never heard a bit of it. By design.

 


Economic Fix is In

"The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing."

--Frank Zappa

“If you sit in on a poker game and don’t see a sucker, get up. You’re the sucker.” Crony capitalism that in which businesses thrive not as a result of risk, but rather as a return on money amassed through a nexus between a business class and the political class. Typical tools include permits, government grants, tax breaks, or other forms of state intervention, especially where the state can confer public goods. Think "looting of the commons."

America's economy was a success in the 19th century due the plunder of a pristine environment and abundant natural resources. Before the frontier was closed, all one had to show up and build wealth using what was at hand. The world wars finished off Europe as an economic dynamo, bankrupted the British empire, and put economic and financial supremacy in Washington’s hands.  The US dollar became the world reserve currency, enabling the US to pay its bills by printing money. And enabling the US to plunder foreign resources the way vanishing American resources had once been plundered. We plunder in a more sophisticated way now; see John Perkins in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man for how that works.

As it gets harder and harder for corporations to make an honest buck, they have to go "where the money is," much like bank robbers did before credit card fraud. And tht means you: your pension, your Social Security, your 401K. They want it, and they'll get it. Meanwhile, economic life in the "Home of the Brave, Land of the Free" means death by a thousand cuts for too many people. Here are 2019 stories that make the point:

The US Economy Is a System of Plunder

We Can Only Choose One: Our National Economy or Globalization

The world is sitting on a $400 trillion financial time bomb

Why the middle class can’t afford life in America anymore

Fed Ups Its Wall Street Bailout to $690 Billion a Week as Media Snoozes

Connecting the Dots to the Budding Wall Street Crisis

The Dirtiest Secret Capitalism Doesn’t Want You to Know

Have the Slow, Catastrophic Costs of Capitalism Exceeded the Long-Term Benefits? Or, Why Capitalism Failed Spectacularly as a Global Economy

The Repo Loan Crisis, Dead Bankers, and Deutsche Bank: Timeline of Events

This is (just another) absolutely terrific by the Martens. If you read nothing about money, read this.
The timeline is particularly telling, especially this gem:

May 19, 2019: The New York Times’ David Enrich writes the bombshell report describing how a Deutsche Bank whistleblower, Tammy McFadden, and four of her colleagues, had their efforts blocked by the bank when they tried to file suspicious activity reports on bank accounts affiliated with Donald Trump and his son-in-law/advisor Jared Kushner. The suspicious activity reports (SARs) should have been filed with the Federal agency known as FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) but were quashed by a unit of the bank that manages money for the super wealthy. The article appeared in the print edition of the New York Times on Monday, May 20, 2019. The stock closes that day at $7.43.

We're back to counting dead bankers. It may be that having HIV is safer than working for Deutsche Bank

Day After Trump Said 'Inequality Is Down,' Federal Data Shows US Income Inequality Highest Since Census Began Measuring

How Much (Money) Does America Really Have to Invest in its Future? 

The answer, of course, is the triumph of libertarian PR. Every man an individual, in the endless war of all against all. 

America’s Collapse: An Economy Based on Plunder

Noam Chomsky: “Worship of Markets” Is Threatening Human Civilization

Revenge of the Power Grid

The ‘giant sucking sound’ of NAFTA: Ross Perot was ridiculed as alarmist in 1992 but his warning turned out to be prescient

New Survey: 69% Of U.S. CFOs Believe That A Recession Will Start "By The End Of 2020"

The Wealth Detective Who Finds the Hidden Money of the Super Rich

Social Security Benefits Have Lost 33% of Their Buying Power Since 2000 

Economic Hitman John Perkins reveals US-led Blueprint for Acquiring Countries

The Coming Generation War

Russia tops global gold buyers list as it turns away from US dollar

Deep adaptation, post-sustainability and the possibility of societal collapse

The Internet Knows You Better Than Your Spouse Does

Found this article on Scientific American this morning while compiling the paper. Gives a glimpse at the sort of tools already in use to track us, sift and resell our preferences, for purposes unknown. What could possibly go wrong? The traces we leave on the Web and on our digital devices can give advertisers and others surprising, and sometimes disturbing, insights into our psychology

"Middle Class" Once Meant Stability and Now Means Fragility


What Don't fit

This is a grab-bag where a number of doom- and collapse-related stories of note that don't fit the other categories have gone to die.

The Ultimate Doom Post | Just kidding, it's worse than that.

2019 hasn't been easy and the word of the year proves it

The mainstreaming of Occupy Wall Street: How rethinking American capitalism became the most important debate of the 2010s

Fleecing the Flock: A Snapshot of America's Richest Pastors

Even among people who observe and measure how the wheels are coming off the wagon, plenty of disagreement. An old Diner friend Ugo Bardi makes an appearance in this article.

The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun

Scientists disagree on the timeline of collapse and whether it's imminent. But can we afford to be wrong? And what comes after?

All Great Civilizations Fall. Is America Next?

Read Sacha Baron Cohen's scathing attack on Facebook in full: 'greatest propaganda machine in history'

We're running out of time to stop killer robots

A new report warns that they're coming sooner than you think

CIA, the Real Lords of The Poppy-Fields & Striking White Gold in Afghanistan

‘OK Boomer’ Marks the End of Friendly Generational Relations

How America Failed to Understand its Own Collapse

Google Is Coming for Your Face

Personal data is routinely harvested from the most vulnerable populations, without transparency, regulation, or principles—and this should concern us all.

Did a large meteorite hit the earth 12,800 years ago? Here’s new evidence

Democracy Is Now a Hindrance to the Imperial State

Democracy is the coat of paint applied for PR purposes to the Imperial State.

White House Pressed Agency to Repudiate Weather Forecasters Who Contradicted Trump

Why “Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself” Became a Populist Battle Cry

‘This Will Teach You Next Time,’ 911 Dispatcher Told Arkansas Woman Who Later Drowned. 

Debbie Stevens was delivering morning newspapers in her S.U.V. when she was swept away by floodwaters in Fort Smith, Ark.

‘We are moving into a new, controlled society worse than old totalitarianism’ – Zizek on Google leak

Study Finds Rise In 'Doomsday Prepping' Due To Mainstream American 'Culture Of Fear'

The Granddaddy of American Conspiracy Theorists

Decades before QAnon, false flags, “crisis actors” and Alex Jones, there was Milton William Cooper. An exclusive excerpt from ‘Pale Horse Rider’ 
Long before there was a Diner, long before 9-11, there was Milton William Cooper. His book was an underground sensation. The Hour of the Time radio program was also circulated and downloaded long before podcasts existed; I have them all. He was right about so many things, including 9-11, and the fact that he knew that by telling the truth, they would come for him and kill him. Which they did.

First human-monkey chimera raises concern among scientists

Researchers reprogrammed human cells before injecting them in the monkey embryo

This is what algorithms see when they spy on you in public

They see a lot more than you think and can make inferences about everything from personal relationships to life expectancy to “social worth.”
 

Why an “AI Race” Between the U.S. and China Is a Terrible, Terrible Idea

‘Years and Years’ is TV’s most haunting show

Foreskin reclaimers: the ‘intactivists’ fighting infant male circumcision

The U.S. Military Will Have More Robots Than Humans by 2025

We spoke to survivalists prepping for disaster: here’s what we learned about the end of the world

ARE WE LIVING IN THE DAWNING OF ALFONSO CUARÓN'S CHILDREN OF MEN?

The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps

China forcefully harvests organs from detainees, tribunal concludes

Organ transplant trade is worth $1 billion a year. 

Senators get classified briefing on UFO sightings

Tennessee Pastor Who Repeatedly Raped Daughter, 14, Gets Light Sentence Because Jesus

Was Shakespeare a Woman?

A thousand guns were found in an LA mansion. Then the mystery deepened

Trump Wants to Make It Legal for Debt Collectors to Text You “Where’s the Money, A$$hole?”

Ethiopian Bible is oldest and most complete on earth

Scientists Call for a Moratorium on Editing Inherited Genes

Amid a controversy over gene-edited babies, leading researchers want to call a halt and install a global governance process.

Opium-Addicted Parrots Are Terrorizing Poppy Farms in India

The Inconvenient Truth of Modern Civilization’s Inevitable Collapse

Medieval Letter Reveals Bawdy Nun Who Faked Her Death to Escape Convent

When the Trucks Stop Delivering, ‘The System’ Will Collapse

And that's a year's worth of doom. As we head into a pivital year of impeachment, elections and the usual schemes, here's hoping we're together back here next year "pretending that the downside doesn’t exist." Enjoy your new year!

 


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.


Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 936
The American Dream
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2020, 09:39:36 am »

 

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Like us on Facebook

 

[caption id="attachment_41749" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Photo Illustration by Alicia Tatone[/caption]

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on January 26, 2020

"People who claim guns make America safer are currently threatening violence and are openly threatening to use their guns to kill Americans they disagree with and shoot down the democratically elected government. This rally is a perfect example of why these murderous fanatics shouldn't be allowed to have guns, ever, or carry them anywhere near the rest of us." –Jim Wright


The most important doom-related story from my perspective this week was the so-called "gun rally" in Richmond, Virginia on Monday.  Richmond had not seen so many armed men downtown since it fell to Grant in 1865.

Since my daughter lives and works in Richmond, and reported meeting some of the attendees out on the town on Sunday night, I took a more than casual interest in the proceedings. The response of many Richmond natives to the arrival of heavily-armed mob was to close their downtown businesses, including the entirety of Virginia Commonwealth University, which suspended all activities for the day, including internships and clinical placements; a university statement made clear that this was in response to the threat, not the federal holiday. NBC reported that some residents of a historically black neighborhood left town entirely for the day—which was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. So much for their rights.

And the grievance? After decades of a 20-year Republican choke hold, the Virginia state legislature reverted to Democrat control in the wake of Novembers' elections and were planning to enact common sense gun legislation. Thus the “tyrants” who had earned the rally-goers' opprobrium  had been democratically elected.

One of the major issues that propelled Democrats to victory was the promise of gun-control legislation, particularly after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach left 12 city residents dead and four others wounded in May 2019. For all their loud objection to “tyranny,” the purpose of the armed crowd was to thwart the will of an electorate that had outvoted them. Virginians’ overall enthusiasm for gun control measures has not waned since last year’s election; a poll conducted in December revealed that Virginia voters strongly support requiring background checks on all gun sales, 86% to 13%, and passing a “red flag” law to remove guns from someone who may harm someone, 73% to 23%

Join me in another chorus of, "trying to overturn the results of an election."

Gun enthusiasts and their fellow-traveler race warriors had been planning for their so-called "boogaloo" for MLK Day. Fat Orange did his part by using his stubby fingers to get Uncle Fud to climb off his niece (or his nephew) and come to Richmond for the party.  Trump Times Scare-Mongering Tweet for Maximum Impact as White Supremacists Prep for Richmond Rally. Trump’s social-media eruption warned Virginians that their 2nd Amendment rights are “under attack,” and offered a sarcastic “thank you” to Virginia Democrats who will “take your guns away.”

Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump

Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!

169K

5:22 PM – Jan 17, 2020

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Earlier in the week prior to the demonstration, the FBI arrested six alleged members of a white-supremacist group on gun charges, in part out of concern that they planned to attend the Richmond rally and incite violence. 

In the runup to the event, Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government far-right organization associated with the militia movement, purportedly published a message, a copy of which came into my hands. (The group describes itself as a non-partisan association of current and former military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath that all military and police take in order to "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." They are immune to irony.) Some excerpts:

We need LEO [law-enforcement officers] and military veterans to volunteer to help us on the ground at the ARMED rally in the streets of Richmond, VA on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 (not in Gov. Northam’s absurd disarmed slave pen – out in the streets with the **** patriots who will NOT be disarmed).

You do NOT have to be an Oath Keepers member to help.  Just be a qualified and trained LEO or military veteran who can keep your head and is physically capable of defending others.  If you are in driving range of Richmond, VA, please come help…

Oath Keepers will NOT be entering Northam’s absurd slave pen, and we urge all other patriots to likewise refuse to disarm and go through metal detectors just to attend a “gun rights rally.”  A disarmed gun rights rally in VA is an absurdity and an abomination.  As Patrick Henry would say, “Forbid it almighty God!”  Tens of thousands of American patriots agree, and we will all be outside of Northam’s sheep pen/slave pen in the streets of Richmond, standing in defiance and protest...

Unfortunately, VCDL has chosen to ask that 10,000 gun owners disarm and go inside Northam’s sheep pen/slave pen, with the rest remaining armed out in the streets.  We disagree with this decision.  It sends entirely the wrong message.  It lets Northam and his fellow-traveler oath breaking domestic enemies of the Constitution in the VA legislature know that they CAN disarm at least some Virginians, because they already did on Jan 20, 2020. …

Defiance and refusal, not compliance and submission are the proper responses.  As the founders said, resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.

The communication goes on and on in this vein, at absurd length. The point being that any attempt at gun legislation is not only illegitimate but tantamount to fascism, and the only moral choice for patriots is an armed refusal to comply with the proposed laws of a duly-elected legislature. This sounds less like a "well-regulated militia"  than an armed insurrection looking for a command structure via email in the days before it assembles to muster.

So precisely what is the complaint of these heavily-strapped members of the Church of Perpetual Grievance? Was King Northam planning to confiscate their weapons and their hands?  What "tree of liberty" needed watering with the blood of tyrants?

Virginia gun laws have been notoriously lax. Under Republican control, Virginia lawmakers successfully made the commonwealth the place that illegal gun traffickers boasted was the absolute best place for them to do business. Virginia had a law on the books for 19 years limiting gun purchases to one a month, but — despite its success in helping to curtail the illicit gun trade and an appeal from Virginia Tech families — it was repealed in 2012. Efforts to restore the limit, as well as enact other common-sense measures with popular support, such as universal background checks, were killed by a General Assembly captive to the gun lobby. Many of the Dems who won election in November ran on passing common sense gun legislation.

Here are the Draconian measures advanced in the Virginia House of delegates this week:

  • Limiting handgun purchases to once a month
  • Universal background checks on gun purchases
  • Allowing localities to ban guns in public buildings, parks and other areas
  • A red flag bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.

By any measure, these are pretty anodyne, common sense measures and are popular with upwards of 85 per cent of the electorate. The House did NOT take up an assault weapon ban. In an era when any gun rights legislation is styled as a "power grab" by the vigilantly paranoid, it becomes increasingly difficult to take their arguments seriously.


The good news is that no one died in Richmond. But not for lack of trying. Talia Lavin wrote That Pro-Gun Rally in Virginia Wasn’t Exactly “Peaceful,”  so let her describe the scene:

Fearing a repeat of the deadly violence that had gripped the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, three years earlier, governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and barred weapons from the Capitol grounds. Some 6,000 protesters grumblingly abided. But just outside the legions of police barricades, twice that number of people roamed the streets of Richmond bearing a bristling mass of rifles, from AR-15s to massive Barrett sniper rifles. Some wore skull masks; others waved Confederate flags. Members of hate groups like the League of the South and the American Guard, as well as the Proud Boys, mingled openly; some of the latter were wearing patches that said “RWDS”—an acronym for “Right-Wing Death Squad.” Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones gave a speech from a Terradyne battle tank. Adding to the bellicose mood, some attendees paraded with a massive guillotine as a prop, and others held up an effigy strung on a noose, emblazoned with the slogan, “Thus always to tyrants.”

Earlier the previous week, the FBI detained three members of neo-Nazi terror group The Base, who had planned to attend the Virginia rally, armed with a home-built, functioning fully-automatic rifle capable of firing several rounds at a time, survival gear, and 1,500 rounds of ammunition. They had planned to open fire into the crowd. The threat of violence in Richmond, coupled with the arrest of these neo-Nazis, sent other groups into hiding. Thus,

what abounded, in that armed and insurrectionist sea of humanity, was the promise that bloodshed might happen at any time, should the will of the mob be thwarted. America’s exceptional tolerance towards armed white gunmen—its brooking of gun-toting militias around the country, and the po-faced seriousness with which the media takes claims of “freedom” when it comes to the right to own weapons of mass slaughter—is entirely restricted to this demographic.

Imagine the response if 22,000 heavily armed black Americans descended on, say Atlanta? We've seen this movie before. When Black Panthers started showing up armed and en masse in California on the 1960s, then-Governor Ronald Reagan proposed gun control. 

Any attempt to assert that the presence of 22,000 heavily armed men is NOT an attempt to intimidate is simply laughable. What was it intended to be? A prayer meeting? No, it was a white supremacy cycle jerk and bro-fest. Mission accomplished. And the Democratic-controlled General Assembly disposed of the Republican gun bills the following day via legislative procedure. 


Open-carry cultists notwithstanding, it seems to me that openly brandishing a weapon on, say an early morning convenience store run is just sending a message of intimidation. Unless you are making a night bank deposit from a club, or live in a wilderness area with bears, there is little need to carry a weapon that enables you to injure or end a life on demand. I wrote about this several years ago when my wife went to a convenience store and encountered a male shopper strapped for his shopping occasion.  (The Open-Carry Cargo Cult)

Scaring the **** out of a middle-aged woman trying to buy cigarettes at eight on a Sunday morning is PRECISELY the point of open carry, in the same way as is the presence of 22,000 heavily armed people to protest gun control laws.

So then you start to wonder why; why the need to intimidate? Any amateur psychologist/Monday Morning quarterback can pull together the same half-dozen reasons as I. Refer to the article referenced below for at least one set of reasons: "I have nothing going in my life, few prospects, and less of a future– but I'm filled with rage and I can afford a knockoff AR-15 and a Halloween outfit."

Americans have the right to own guns. And no one– anywhere– is proposing otherwise. But ownership of a gun does not confer permission to intimidate others, overthrow the government whenever you please, or even win all the arguments. The Second Amendment is for defense of the Republic, NOT nullification of democracy. We've already had the "nullification" argument in this country, and the bad guys lost, decisively, first at Gettysburg, and later at Appomattox.

The Second Amendment also calls for "a well-regulated militia." The gathering in Richmond was not a "militia" so much as an armed mob, the purpose of which was to intimidate. What the armed mob either failed to understand or ignored was that if it weren't for their fanatical obsession with guns, their endless threats of violence and their attempts to intimidate, there would be little reason for the very laws they oppose.


****-life-syndrome-trump-voters-and-clueless-dems/?fbclid=IwAR18IC2CxVAZVQDIekpzCXjUqDkBdNWvT3x_REXbseoeSqx42-O50Z_X8EA" target="_blank">“****-Life Syndrome,” Trump Voters, and Clueless Dem****-life-syndrome-trump-voters-and-clueless-dems/?fbclid=IwAR18IC2CxVAZVQDIekpzCXjUqDkBdNWvT3x_REXbseoeSqx42-O50Z_X8EA">s

****-life-syndrome-e1580065919640.jpg">****-life-syndrome-e1580065919640.jpg" width="500" />

Getting rid of Trump means taking seriously “****-life syndrome”—and its resulting misery, which includes suicide, drug overdose death, and trauma for surviving communities.

Ohio is home to many ****-life syndrome sufferers. In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton lost Ohio’s 18 electoral votes to Trump. She got clobbered by over 400,000 votes (more than 8%). She lost 80 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Trump won rural poorer counties, several by whopping margins. Trump got the ****-life syndrome vote.

Will Hutton in his 2018 Guardian piece, “****-life-syndrome">The Bad News is We’re Dying Early in Britain – and It’s All Down to ‘****-Life Syndrome’” describes ****-life syndrome in both Britain and the United States: “Poor working-age Americans of all races are locked in a cycle of poverty and neglect, amid wider affluence. They are ill educated and ill trained. The jobs available are drudge work paying the minimum wage, with minimal or no job security.”

When you have little sense of agency in your life, one or several McJobs, and fewer prospects for improvement, walking around with your manhood strapped to your hip or slung over your shoulder, escapism from the realities of day to day life is appealing. For some it's comic books or video games; for others drugs and opiods; and for others, perhaps, guns.


Doomsday Clock Closer to Midnight

“It is now 100 seconds to midnight.”  Such was the ominous headline Thursday from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists after moving its Doomsday Clock ahead 20 seconds.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists makes the decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made each year in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 13 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and disruptive technologies in other domains.

Areas cited by Rachel Bronson, this year's President & CEO,  include: how a retreat from arms control creates a dangerous nuclear reality, an insufficient response to an increasingly threatened climate, increased threat of information warfare and other disruptive technologies, and suggestions for how the world should respond.

"We move the Clock toward midnight because the means by which political leaders had previously managed these potentially civilization-ending dangers are themselves being dismantled or undermined, without a realistic effort to replace them with new or better management regimes. In effect, the international political infrastructure for controlling existential risk is degrading, leaving the world in a situation of high and rising threat."

Like the 15 year old Greta Thunberg who has become a punching bag for superannuated (and superprivileged) old men at Davos this week, I expect nothing.

But Fat Orange still expects his Nobel Peace Prize for not launching a reign of nuclear-tipped terror on Tehran.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

 


AGelbert

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 33007
  • Location: Colchester, Vermont
    • Renwable Revolution
The Trumpian technique
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2020, 01:37:35 pm »
Well said, Surly. 👍

Trump's spirited baloney about "defending" people's "2nd Amendment rights"  is a deliberate distraction worthy of the most cynical Soviet Union style propaganda efforts. It is an intrinsic part of the Orwellian method used to convince people you are ruthlesly exploiting that you are their "best friend and protector".

😈 Trump knows the police and military can machine gun mow down any of these AR-15 toting MAGA suckers any time the police state considers them a "Brown Shirt nuisance" (SEE: what Hitler did ☠️ to his very well armed Brown Shirt supporters). The MAGA gun toting crowd are being used by Trump for Trump, period. Anyone believing Trump gives a rat's ass about Constitutionally protected rights and/or freedoms for anyone not part of the wealthy parasitical class is worthy of pity. 

You know, I'm not sure whether the big corporate move to rebrand corporate malfeasance as "principled behavior" began in the 1980's or earlier, but this Orwellian method of deliberate brazen mindfuck, boldly pushed in order to overcome any pesky obstacles to 'business as usual', certainly became the norm during the Reagan asssault on logic, common sense, common decency and the Constitutionally Mandated Government Obligation to provide for the welfare of we-the-people.

It is true that Newt Gingrich with his "Never admit fault, never back down, but instead double down" fascistoid mantra came a decade or so later, but the pattern for this Government level legerdemain seemed to have been set during the Reagan years.

The ironic thing about this Orwellian method is that, even as the Soviet Union, infamous for its "everything is just peachy" pitch to the downtrodden in slave labor jobs, dissolved, the U.S. was embracing this government legitimacy destroying technique. The corporate leaders in the U.S., sometime during the 1980s, had already decided that if their abusive behavior was becoming public, the "solution" was to hire an ad agency to do some perception management, rather than stop the abusive practices that provided handsome profits (over people and planet).

The Trumpian technique is the latest iteration of this CRAP. It destroyed the Soviet Union. It is well on the way to destroying the United States.

But, due to Catastrophic Climate change, there are bigger stakes here.


As with you and Greta, I do not expect an embrace of logic, truth, common sense and common decency any time soon.




Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 936
Vexit?
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2020, 06:53:49 am »
The rest of the country has likely not heard of this. But state conservatards who have had things their own way for the last 30 years, knuckling the cities for revenues while building four lane roads through the middle of nowhere because they could, are restive about the future of life in a now-blue state. As you read some of the quotes, the spluttering hysteria is palpable.

I say, let them go. Let them get a taste of self-sufficiency and public service, West Virginia-style. I lived in WV for five years; the state is broke, and things have only done downhill in the last 40 years. Those four lane roads will be the last they see.


When you drive across Virginia, you generally travel Rt. 522. It is four lanes in Virginia, and immediately narrows to two lanes when it hits the WV state line. Get used to it, Vexiteers!

What the Hell Is Vexit?


West Virginia governor Jim Johnson. Photo: Chris Jackson/AP/Shutterstock

Sarah Jones Jan. 29, 2020

In a partnership that befits our deeply stupid time, Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia has teamed up with Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty University president and Florida hotelier, to advance a new project. Both men have come out in support of Vexit, an effort to expand the state of West Virginia by convincing some parts of Virginia to secede. According to Justice, Virginians unhappy with their Democratic state government ought to join their counties to West Virginia, where the GOP still holds sway. “If you are out there, no matter where you may be, Virginia or wherever you may be, as an individual or as a business or whatever, West Virginia is waiting for you with open arms,” he said. A charming proposal!

Falwell, meanwhile, mostly seems concerned about his university’s bottom line. In his remarks, he singled out a legislative proposal that would, in his words, end public aid to “thousands of online students attending private colleges, while increasing aid for more affluent resident students.” As Religion News Service noted in a piece on the press conference, online students make up a massive portion of Liberty’s overall student body, and a reduction to their numbers would have significant financial consequences for the university, and for Falwell himself.

Obviously, there is a lot going on here, and it is all bad. As a product of southwestern Virginia, I do not regard our brothers and sisters across the border with any sort of hostility. West Virginia is a beautiful state with a proud history of militant labor action — a lot to celebrate! But Vexit itself is best understood as the symptom of a broader reactionary backlash to Virginia’s new status as a blue state. I’ll explain:

Why Is This Happening Now?
Republicans in the West Virginia legislature have introduced two separate resolutions encouraging Virginians to secede. As reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, one resolution resurrects a 158-year-old invitation to Frederick County in northwestern Virginia. Another, which awaits further action by the House of Delegates, encourages Virginians at large to vote to make their counties West Virginian territory.

Vexit draws on real history. Before the Civil War, the two states were actually one. After Virginia seceded, West Virginia split off in order to remain in the Union. But now West Virginia Republicans are capitalizing on pockets of regional hostility to the Virginia’s Democratic-controlled state government. In rural, predominantly white areas of Virginia, President Trump remains extremely popular, and recent proposals to tighten state gun laws have provoked outrage. In an interview with Glenn Beck recounted by the West Virginia MetroNews, Gary Howell, a West Virginia delegate who backs Vexit, described these areas as natural extensions of his state. “If you look at a lot of the people in the Shenandoah and the Blue Ridge and even the south side of Virginia, they’re very similar culturally, demographically, and a lot of the geography is the same,” Howell said. Put more directly, Vexit is a plea for Herrenvolk democracy, a territory where one ethnic group and one ethnic group alone holds power unchallenged.

Do West Virginians Want This?
Obviously some of them do, but most Vexit supporters seem to serve in the state legislature or occupy the governor’s mansion. West Virginia is not home to a mass movement calling for the expansion of its borders. The last time West Virginians organized en masse, it was to demand fair pay and better benefits for public school teachers. The priorities of the voting public thus appear to be at odds with those of Governor Justice.

Do Virginians Want This?
At least two: Falwell, and right-wing activist Rick Boyer, described by the Times-Dispatch as an attorney and former elected official. But support hasn’t spread to the state Republican party. Emmett Hanger, a Republican state senator, asked the Richmond paper if Vexit supporters were performing “a comedy routine.”

The idea could be popular with some voters. The sense of alienation some Virginians feel in relation to state government is not new, and there is some validity to the sentiment. Communities in western Virginia — like the one I grew up in — are often markedly poorer than those in northern Virginia. The decline of the coal industry left the state’s westernmost counties, which border West Virginia and Kentucky, in particularly dire shape. But that doesn’t mean the people who live there are ready for Vexit. Though there is no polling on the matter, the lack of any mass movement again indicates that most people prefer to remain part of Virginia. A few may want separation of some kind, but they tend to have more creative suggestions. As one gentleman commented on the Facebook page of my hometown news station, “I’d make the cut off line right up to the outskirts of Roanoke County and push the rest of the state boundaries into parts of DC and parts of Maryland and there you go, a 51st state to govern as Demo-comunistic [sic] as you please! Leave Virginia and the original laws and amendments alone!”

Vexit may yet catch on in some extremist circles, especially online. We’ve seen something similar with Calexit, a proposal to make California its own independent country, and with the New California movement, which the Guardian recently described as “a far-fetched initiative to have rural conservative counties declare independence from the rest of the state.” Neither effort can boast much popular support. Virginia’s urban-rural divide is significant, and Democrats should be worried about bridging it. But there’s no reason right now to think that rural Virginians are ready for a clean break.

Is Vexit a Good Idea?
Absolutely not. I could get down with, say, the People’s Republic of Greater Appalachia. But that project requires some consultation with our friends in Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia. And it shouldn’t be a white homeland, which is what goblins like Gary Howell seemingly want. A thumbs down for Vexit. Goblins out!

AGelbert

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 33007
  • Location: Colchester, Vermont
    • Renwable Revolution
Vexit is a Tea Party (desperation) Gambit
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2020, 11:58:46 am »
It sounds like an act of desperation by the Fascist Republican Reactionaries now that Virginiia has sane government. 8)
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 936
The American Dream
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2020, 08:40:48 am »
Not sure Yves Smith is "naive."

Developing Countries Showing America Up

Posted on February 11, 2020 by Yves Smith


A cynical school of thought holds that one reason America makes borders so unpleasant is to deter US citizens from traveling so as to preserve our sense of exceptionalism in the face of countervailing evidence. For instance, one colleague, a former city planner, came back from a vacation in the south of France and raved about how terrific the roads were. The Gilet Janues would assure him that in rural areas, they were neglected, but my contact’s point was that even in affluent parts of the US, you couldn’t find ones on a par with the ones he drove on his holiday. And I suspect that even the roads that are impediments to safe, fast driving in the depopulating parts of France are still better than those in Michigan.

But America is slipping even further. It used to be that it would come up short in infrastructure and social well being indicators compared to most European countries. We now have readers who are looking at what they see in the better parts of the developing world and are finding America coming up short.

Costa Rica has admittedly long been depicted as the Switzerland of Central America. It has become more and more popular with expats for at least the last 15 years. I visited there briefly on a client project in 1997. While the downtown section of San José looked worn, even there, the people on the street were neatly if modestly dressed. And when you went out to the suburbs, the country looked comfortable to prosperous, and it seemed as if citizens made an effort to keep their neighborhoods well kept, even in non-tourist sections. Oh, and the food was terrific, particularly the fish.

A more recent sighting from Eureka Springs:

Quote
Just returned from deep southern rural Costa Rica to rural N.W. Arkansas. Peace and quiet almost everywhere I go now. Unless it’s my own noise (music) which could not bother another.

The entire trip was quite the reminder of just how third world we the peeps are nowadays.

Internet was so much better there. No satellite dishes, except as modifications to them for use as roadside trash receptacles. Still no rural wired net in the U.S.. Cell signals were strong everywhere, yet I never saw people glued to a phone.

Public trans, brand new buses all up and down the countryside. Even many miles down dirt roads. Fantastic bus stops. No such thing as public transit in rural U.S.

A lot of people drive efficient 150cc motorcycles. The large bus stops seem intentionally oversized by design to co-serve as a place to pull under during rain. How civilized.

Grocery stores with real food everywhere. No chain stores best I can tell. Unless in larger cities. And a shockingly smaller amount of trash packaging. I would say for the same amount of weekly grocery consumption I generate at least three if not five times more trash in the U.S. Seemingly every few hundred people, never more than a mile, usually much less, have a store with produce and meats. I’m seven miles from a dollar store, two more miles to actual groceries. About the same population density in both places.

And then there is health care for all vs give me all you got, we don’t give a fk.

Don’t know but would wager their water tests much better across the board as well. Nobody consumes plastic water bottles. Even very remote beaches had little shards of plastic all along the water line though. No escaping it.

Schools did not look like prison at all. Kids were kids, with cookie stands, a work ethic, bicycles, laughter, no apparent phones, lots of soccer, some dirt on their fingers and toes. And laughter.

Poor to middle working class people did not look miserable, unhealthy, guarded and or afraid.

The chickens, dogs and cats were abundant though not overly so, well fed, healthy, roaming free.

Police were calm, not dressed to kill with body language fitting the peace officer description. CR has no military.

We have a choice and we are making so many bad ones. I feel like so many of my fellow US citizens don’t get this fact. And it’s a shortcoming of Sanders types by failing to paint this vision/picture. Even they are trapped in the downward spiral, knowing no other way from experience.

And Expat2uruguay seems to have adapted well to her big relocation. Ironically her big lament seems to be the cuisine isn’t terribly inspired and fish is hard to come by, but other advantages of living there seem to more than make up for it. From a recent report:

Quote
Since relocating to Uruguay I was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer. There was no bill whatsoever for the surgery. The entire cost of my entire treatment, including my monthly membership fee of $60 a month, was under $2,700.

That total includes 16 months of the monthly fee and all of my treatments, including six months of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of daily radiation, co-pays for medications and tests, $7 co-pays for doctor visits, and additional testing and consultation for heart damage caused by the chemotherapy. I also had a couple of problems during the chemotherapy that required visits to the emergency room, a four day hospital stay because of ultra-low defenses, and consultation in my home a couple times. They did a really good job, and they’re very good at cancer treatment here.

But the very best thing about Uruguay is the peacefulness, the tranquility, the laid-back approach to life. My stress levels are way down from when I lived in the US.

Several factors are likely at work. One is, as we’ve pointed out from the very outset of this site, that unequal societies are unhappy and unhealthy societies. Even those at the top pay a longevity cost due to having shallower social networks, having a nagging awareness that most if not all of their supposed friends would dump them if they took a serious income hit (can’t mix with the same crowd if you can’t fly private class, can’t support the right charities, can’t throw posh parties) and having to think about or even building panic rooms.

Another is the precarity even at high but below top 1% levels: job insecurity, the difficulty of getting kids into good colleges and then paying for it when they do, along with attempting to save enough for retirement. Even with steering clear of costly divorces and medical emergencies, the supposed basics of a middle or upper middle income lifestyle add up in light of escalating medical, education, and housing costs. And then some feel they are entitled to or need to give their kids perks in line with their self image of their status, like fancy vacations.

And we don’t need to elaborate on how hard it is for people who are struggling to get by. But it’s not hard to see that the status and sometimes money anxiety at the top too readily translates into abuses of those further down the food chain to buck up their faltering sense of power and self worth. Anglo-style capitalism is often mean-spirited and that tendency seems particularly strong now.

Specifically, which developing countries that readers know well give the US a lifestyle run for the money? And I don’t mean for for US expats bearing strong dollars but for ordinary people. And where do they fall short?

Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 936
Happiness and The American Dream
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2020, 08:44:35 am »

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1 Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Like us on Facebook

Illustration by Anthony Freda

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on February 9, 2020

“It’s not primarily a measure of whether one laughed or smiled yesterday, but how one feels about the course of one’s life."

― Jeffrey Sachs, co-creator, World Happiness Survey


What is happiness? Like the judge who couldn't define **** but said he'd know itn when he saw it, most of us don't have a specific definition of happiness; we know it when we feel it, and often use the term to describe a range of positive emotions, including joy, pride, contentment, and gratitude. If someone asks you on a scale of one to ten how happy you are in six different areas, would you be able to accurately respond? That's what we're discussing this week. We're not talking about global temperature measurements, or oil exports, GNP, P&L, or anything that can be measured, mapped and plotted on a spreadsheet; we're talking about how people report satisfaction in their lives.

You wouldn't think a subject like "happiness" could be contentious. Happiness might seem an elusive concept to quantify, but there is a science to it backed by thousands of individual assessments and statistical analysis.


Last Tuesday, I published an article in the Doomstead Diner Daily: Finland's millennial prime minister said Nordic countries do a better job of embodying the American dream than the US. In the article, Sanna Marin, the 34-year-old prime minister of Finland, was quoted as saying her country and other Nordic nations were actually the best equipped to provide citizens with a chance to achieve "the American dream." This as recently told to The Washington Post on the sidelines of the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Sanna Marin

Sanna Marin

“I feel that the American Dream can be achieved best in the Nordic countries, where every child no matter their background or the background of their families can become anything, because we have a very good education system,” she said. “We have a good health-care and social welfare system that allows anybody to become anything. This is probably one of the reasons why Finland gets ranked the happiest country in the world.”

She is justifiably proud, as this is the second year in a row Finland has claimed the top spot in this UN survey, followed by Denmark, Norway and Iceland. These assertions caused as minor uproar in the Diner Forum. One respondent harrumphed,

Doesn't know **** about the American dream.

Finland is a country with a population smaller than Greater Houston……..and……. a lot of recent immigrants……and…… a birth rate for native Finns that is falling through the floor. Let's see how they look in 30 years.

Well, it's true that Finland doesn't have a military that consumes 58 percent of their national budget to defend the prerogatives of a crust of global profiteers, munitions-exporters and bloodsuckers. Let's see what WE look like in 30 years.

Mr. Carlin would like a word:

The mass of Americans are two-three paychecks away from an economic abyss, which may have something to do with the fact that in the same survey, since 2013 Americans have plummeted from 13th to 19th place. It would be convenient to lay this at the feet of Trump, because, as the study's authors note, "unhappier people seem to hold more populist and authoritarian attitudes." But it also corresponds with an increasing amount of time US adolescents spend interacting with electronic devices, contributing to increased anxiety and declines in happiness, as well as increasing rates of addiction (more on that below.)

The report states that from 1946 to 1970, the U.S. was quite literally the world's model for happiness, with gross domestic product ranking climbed steadilyand a burgeoning American middle class.

Testifying to Congress in the Clinton years, which now seem as remote as medieval China, Fed Chair Alan Greenspan explained the success of the boom economy he gratefully took credit for as being based on “growing worker insecurity.” Thus was born "the precariat." In Greenspan's terms, insecure working people are unlikely to make demands. Cowed, compliant workers are good for business, good for investors. For happiness? Not so much.

Noam Chomsky summarized:

… If working people are insecure, if they’re part of the precariat, living precarious existences, they’re not going to make demands, they’re not going to try to get better wages, they won’t get improved benefits. We can kick ’em out, if we don’t need ’em. And that’s what’s called a “healthy” economy, technically speaking.

Not much of a recipe for happiness. Results of the World Happiness Report fly right in the face of the "Team America: **** Yeah" crowd because they put the lie to the myth of American exceptionalism.


The World Happiness Report 2019 is an annual publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It grades 156 countries in categories including generosity, social programs, freedom, corruption and income. The Report contains articles, and rankings of national happiness based on respondent's ratings of their own lives.

The most commonly cited economic statistics — GDP, household income and unemployment — focus on work product economic output, and consumption: their output, what they spend, how much they make and whether they have a job. None of these metrics tell us anything about people's happiness.

The Report is a survey of the state of global happiness that ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. This year’s World Happiness Report focuses on happiness and the community: how happiness has evolved over the past dozen years, with a focus on the technologies, social norms, conflicts and government policies that have driven those changes.

Gallup also collaborates on this report. Why bother? Why is this report important?

Leaders can no longer assume that the lives of those in their countries improve with a rise in GDP, as was shown in the Arab Uprising countries where GDP was increasing but the ratings of their lives trended downward ahead of the unrest.

Leaders need to follow much more traditional metrics to effectively track and lead the progress of their nation. The World Happiness Report is the first report to rank countries by how their populations feel.

Of course, if you are in charge of a country and you tendency runs towards the authoritarian, calling on your domestic, heavily armed freicorps to intimidate your domestic opponents, none of this will matter.


Let's not forget that this survey is reported out by the people themselves, not some external analysis.

The rankings are based on answers to the main life evaluation question asked in the poll. This is called the Cantril ladder: it asks respondents to think of a ladder, with the best possible life for them being a 10, and the worst possible life being a 0. They are then asked to rate their own current lives on that 0 to 10 scale.

The UN uses a sample size of 2,000 to 3,000 per country, and claim it is large enough to give a good estimate at the national level. The scores are instead based on individuals’ own assessments of their lives, and a reasponable person should assume people by the tens of thousands can report accurately about the happiness in their own lives. Jeffrey Sachs, co-creator of the World Happiness Report and a professor at Columbia University, writes

The surge of interest in happiness and public policy owes much to the case of the United States. Professor Richard Easterlin (1974) famously noted 45 years ago that happiness in the US had remained unchanged from 1946 to 1970 despite the significant rise of GDP per person. This finding became known as the "Easterlin Paradox." It has continued to hold true until today. Indeed, the average life evaluation in the United States, as measured by the Cantril ladder, has declined during the past dozen years, from 7.2 in 2006 to 6.9 in 2018, despite ongoing U.S. economic growth.

As I noted in last year’s World Happiness Report (Sachs, 2018), the long-term rise in US income per person has been accompanied by several trends adverse to subjective well-being (SWB): worsening health conditions for much of the population; declining social trust; and declining confidence in government. Whatever benefits in SWB might have accrued as the result of rising incomes seem to have been offset by these adverse trends. This year, I propose a common driver of many of America’s social maladies: a mass-addiction society

This year's report provides sobering evidence of how addictions are causing considerable unhappiness and depression in the U.S…. Addictions come in many forms, from substance abuse to gambling to digital media. The compulsive pursuit of substance abuse and addictive behaviors is causing severe unhappiness. Government, business, and communities should use these indicators to set new policies aimed at overcoming these sources of unhappiness.

There is more, much more to this report, and the curious should follow the links below to explore the report and its methodology, the full analysis of which will require a far better statistician than me.

But it is important to remember that, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."


References:

https://www.businessinsider.com/sanna-marin-finland-nordic-model-does-american-dream-better-wapo-2020-2

https://www.businessinsider.com/finland-tops-worlds-happiest-countries-list-again-un-report-2019-3

https://www.gallup.com/analytics/247355/gallup-world-happiness-report.aspx

https://worldhappiness.report/faq/

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


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.


AGelbert

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 33007
  • Location: Colchester, Vermont
    • Renwable Revolution
Re: The American Dream
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2020, 05:14:59 pm »
As your post correctly exposes, the so-called "American Dream" has hitherto been a pro-Capitalism propaganda device cleverly disguised as a "social justice motivated promise of society wide reduction of harmful inequality in a democracy" .

Quote
... Abraham Lincoln, "People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Lincoln's quote is interesting. Upon reading it I thought of the fact that he was an excellent lawyer that knew quite well how to make the best of a bad case.

For too many who, despite their honest and sincere hard working efforts to improve their lot in life, have experienced nearly (and often totally) insurmountable difficulties due to being the victims of work place tyranny in an unjust, greedy and uncaring Capitalist system, Lincoln's words sound too much like 'blame the victim" sophistry.   

I will give Lincoln the benefit of the doubt and hope that he would not have included slaves and other abused individuals in society in the group who could could be happy or not by the "force of their will". 

Quote
This year's report provides sobering evidence of how addictions are causing considerable unhappiness and depression in the U.S….

The above statement makes the assumption that addictions are a CAUSE of considerable unhappiness and depression without recognizing the fact that considerable unhappiness and depression is the major CAUSE of addiction.

Of course addicts make life miserable for themselves and those around them. The major underlying cause of addiction (and many other social woes) is a society that values greed more than altruism. American society is generally uncaring by Capitalist DESIGN.

Greed is the CAUSE. The American epidemic of diseases of despair are all part of the EFFECT.



Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

 

+-Recent Topics

Experts Knew a Pandemic Was Coming. Here’s What They’re Worried About Next. by Surly1
May 12, 2020, 07:46:22 am

Doomstead Diner Daily by Surly1
May 12, 2020, 07:40:17 am

Profiles in Courage by AGelbert
May 09, 2020, 11:47:35 pm

Money by AGelbert
May 09, 2020, 11:27:30 pm

Creeping Police State by AGelbert
May 09, 2020, 10:35:38 pm

COVID-19 🏴☠️ Pandemic by AGelbert
May 09, 2020, 10:19:30 pm

Resisting Brainwashing Propaganda by AGelbert
May 09, 2020, 10:07:28 pm

Corruption in Government by AGelbert
May 09, 2020, 09:54:48 pm

🚩 Global Climate Chaos ☠️ by AGelbert
May 09, 2020, 09:10:24 pm

Intelligent Design by AGelbert
May 09, 2020, 06:38:41 pm