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AdLib On May - 11 - 2010

money

1. Under the sea, an enormous, so-far-unstoppable eruption of oil endangers a huge swath of ocean, as well as the lives and livelihoods of a multitude.

2. On land, Climate Change has ushered in severe weather devastating towns and cities.

3. In our society, economic powers have wreaked havoc and damaged millions of lives around our planet.

Causes of the above:

1. Greed and addiction to fossil fuels.
2. Greed and addiction to fossil fuels.
3. Greed.

Though these are individual situations, for philosophical exploration’s sake, consider if they might also be pieces that fit together as pieces of a puzzle, illustrating what is intrinsically wrong in our society and continually damaging it.

Together, they present an image of a society that is battered by forces it is unprepared or unwilling to confront.

All of these disasters may have been averted if not for abdication to greed and to those who are the most avid practitioners of it.

Citizens outnumber corporations. They can vote, corporations can’t. The People have the power through democracy to change the way things are…and the first step is to pry corporate hands back off of their democracy so they can use it to affect change.

Big Picture thinking is difficult in a world where quick fixes and instant answers are too often sought and expected. However, if world leaders and their citizens were to consider the Big Picture, there might possibly be a conclusion that things, the way they currently exist, subservient to insatiable greed, are ultimately unsustainable and cancerous to society.

Greed is not good. It kills…economies, jobs, standards of living, the environment, futures, fairness, democracy and potentially, the very society in which it lives.

A new meme would seem to be required globally, one that rejects the religion of capitalism, a meme that puts greed back in its place and affirms that sustainability of an equitable society is the priority ahead of the pursuit of wealth and shallow, materialistic gratification.

The top 1% of American earners begins with households that make $100,000/yr. A couple making $50k each are in the top 1%. If you live in NY, LA, SF or a number of other expensive cities, you are well aware that this amount of income doesn’t make you wealthy.

So consider how small a percentage of this nation really is wealthy. Maybe .5% make over $1 million/yr. Consider then that around 99.5% of Americans are not wealthy. This is the intended result of capitalism.

Generation after generation of Americans have been brainwashed from childhood that capitalism is the greatest system in the world. If it’s truly great, shouldn’t at least 20% of our nation be wealthy? At least 10%? How about 5%? Not even 1%?! A system that concentrates wealth in only the top half of a percent of a nation of 300 million people is the greatest system in the world and shouldn’t be messed with? Really?

Though the possibility to come from the lower or middle class to become a millionaire exists and occurs, the odds are 99.5% out of 100% that it will never happen.

And in the meantime, while those not in the top .5% have seen wages decline or evaporate when their jobs are lost, our ruling class has juiced the rest of us through frauds and bubbles that suckered us to put our money where they could reach out and take it from us.

Capitalism is a fraud.

It is a conjoined twin not with democracy but with oligarchy and will use its power to dominate and corrupt democracy…which is in fact its natural adversary. The power of the masses over the power of money is not a value of capitalism, it is a threat to it.

Interesting that government working for the people is no longer called “democracy” by the wealthy but labeled “socialism”. Meanwhile, government giving pork, tax breaks, military contracts or TARP bailouts to corporations is called “capitalism”.

Now, a form of subordinated capitalism could be a great match with democracy, where corporations are not people and have a social responsibility to the society that helps it flourish. However, in a society where corporations are “people” and have the right to use their inordinate power and wealth to dominate 99.5% of the citizenry, it is not compatible.

Yes, capitalism in its younger days brought much innovation, opportunity and change to this nation. But like the parent of a child who was a sweet kid but has grown up to be a violent criminal, one can’t allow nostalgia of the past, of what American capitalism used to be to blind one to the true nature of what it is today.

Despite its assurances, capitalism  is not our best friend. It is our smiling, plotting adversary, taking every opportunity to assert its righteousness while using the trust acquired to take ruthless advantage.

The simultaneous exploitation and pollution of the land, water and air of our nation and the entire planet, which greed and capitalism has wrought, is already painting civilization into a corner in the long term. We are already taking for granted the flooding of our cities (and other cities and countries) by the severe weather Climate Change has generated.

Our oceans, sea life and those people and businesses reliant upon them continue to be acceptable collateral damage in corporations’ mercenary quest for greater profits at any cost.

Oil, sewage, garbage, pharmaceuticals and chemicals poison many of our lakes, rivers and oceans. We take for granted too that the fish we eat often have high levels of mercury and other contaminants…which means so do we. There is something horribly wrong with people literally being sacrificed on the altar of corporate greed (hmm…wonder if corporate greed with regards to polluting the environment instead of footing the bill for operating cleanly has anything to do with the epidemic of cancer in this nation?)

And what would we do if this eventually means that sometime in the future, there won’t be a plentiful amount of clean water for everyone? What if seafood became just too toxic to eat? How does capitalism make such possible outcomes work out okay in the end?

And what of the series of financial bubbles schemed by those steering the ship of capitalism over the last couple of decades, as they have simultaneously executed the greatest transfer of wealth from 99.5% of Americans to the top .5%?

Considering all of this, how much of the world and our futures must be traded for protecting the Lotto-type possibility that we may be millionaires one day? How many long term jobs and futures are we wiling to destroy in the name of short term jobs and profits as we cheer for “Capitalism”?

Can a civilization faced with all of this afford apathy or a resignation to the powers that be? Can they do so and still genuinely envision this as a sustainable society?

There is a remarkable film from 1983 called Koyaanisqatsi that uses visuals alone to tell the story of what the title means in Hopi, “Life Out of Balance”.

The trailer:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PirH8PADDgQ[/youtube]

Things certainly seem to be terribly out of balance in the world at this point in history. The many are being swallowed by the greed of the very few. We have been sold a bill of goods about the identity and character of capitalism and it’s time to hand back that bill and demand a refund.

A period of great challenge that requires profound change doesn’t occur for every generation. People all around the world need to step up now to reject and restrain greed in order to protect themselves from irreversible harm and take a big step forward towards a better world. There is no acceptable alternative.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

93 Responses so far.

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  1. Khirad says:

    I watched this interview with Arundhati Roy, and it seemed pretty relevant to this topic, even if you don’t know much about India. This isn’t limited to America and Europe:

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=5094&updaterx=2010-05-11+10%3A36%3A36

    One of the most poignant lines she has, and has used for some time now, in response to a Gandhian approach is, how can it succeed without an audience? can those who are starving go on hunger strikes? can those who are impoverished strike and refuse to pay taxes?

    • Mightywoof says:

      I’ll have to watch the clip later -- no time right now -- but I just wanted say how much I miss Avi Lewis on Canadian TV :( . I miss his whole family in Canadian politics as well -- his father, Stephen, was leader of the provincial NDP, and his grandfather, David, was leader of the federal NDP -- and also coined the phrase ‘corporate welfare bums’ -- very appropriate in this day and age!

      • Khirad says:

        Ooh, Mightywoof, I had no idea who that was. Big NDPer? Excellent! Seems to me, that from Tommy Douglas to David Lewis, they were so on top if this 40-50 years ago… had we south of the border only heeded the warnings.

        His wife is Naomi Klein, too?!

  2. whatsthatsound says:

    Just following up on my Ayn Rand comment, so this is for both choicelady and kesmarn. Ayn Rand loved and even idolized capitalism, and the folks at the top of it, no doubt. Nevertheless, the capitalism she idealized was spearheaded and maintained by PRODUCERS. Architects, builders, enterprisers. I think she would have sneered at today’s “winners”, who produce nothing but artificial wealth that only enriches themselves while harming society. That is NOT what she saw as an end result of capitalism, that it would actually harm and weaken society. Today’s oligarchs are much more similar in nature to her character Ellsworth Toohey in “The Fountainhead”. He was contemptuous, cynical, totally self aware in terms of the damage he is causing, etc. He was the villain, not the hero of that novel. I sincerely believe this parallel would not have been lost on her, and might possibly even have caused her to rethink her position.

    • msbadger says:

      Oh, noes! You’d break Flossy’s heart with that! LOL

    • escribacat says:

      I read the Fountainhead in high school or so and was quite impressed with its ideas. I had no idea back then that it was or would become the “conservative bible.”

      I often wonder how it became appropriated by the hyper-conservatives, as though independent-thinking and creativity were their purview. In fact, most creative thinkers tend to be more liberal in my humble experience. Conservatives in my mind are the conformists and don’t-rock-the-boat types, like the pathetic drone character in The Fountainhead (it’s been a long time and I don’t remember any names — all I remember is that Gary Cooper played the hero in the movie). The hero in that novel never did anything for the money — which seems to be the main motivating factor for conservatives.

      • KQ says:

        Not only creative thinkers but scientific minds as well. One of my proudest days being a scientist was after a poll came out that only 6% were Republicans. Sure I know a much greater number of scientists are conservative but the utter delegitimization of the modern GOP by the scientific community was heartening to see.

        • Questinia says:

          Objectivist Theory, says that it is possible to be certain of a conclusion, and that there is such a thing as truth. Unfortunately that can link many scientists and conservatives by way of thinking styles.

          • KQ says:

            I don’t see how that is consistent with modern science. To me that’s sounds like determinism that has proven to be defunk in the 1920’s with the development of the uncertainly principle. There is also a big difference between scientist’s and engineer’s way of thinking. I have met my share of engineers that think that way but few scientists. For example never call a chemist a chemical engineer or visa versa. That will get you busted up sista.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Yes, that is cool! “Conservative” has become an Orwellian term now. Look how well they are conserving the Gulf of Mexico.

          • PatsyT says:

            WTS Thats says it all !
            Can we make that a bumper sticker??
            “Look at how the conservatives are conserving the
            Gulf of Mexico”

          • KQ says:

            No doubt. I miss the old conservatism. They did have some principles I could get behind like environment conservation and a humble foreign policy. But that conservatism probable died decades ago with Teddy Roosevelt.

            Modern conservatives are nothing but liberal capitalists. Think of the phrase together not the separate terms.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Or perhaps “libertine capitalists”

            • KQ says:

              Brilliant!

            • PepeLepew says:

              Wow, I’ve always thought of Teddy as a secret Progressive.

            • Khirad says:

              Teddy wasn’t even secret.

              http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/26_t_roosevelt/psources/ps_trprogress.html

              When I was at the Natinoal Archives they had a wax recording of him talking about unions and corporations.

              He was a goddamn pinko!

              Never let Republicans claim him!

            • escribacat says:

              He was a progressive but he also got up to considerable mischief internationally.

            • KQ says:

              He actually put the term progressive on the map. With the progressive party. Progress is another word with allot of connotations as well. The “progress” of the 50’s was far to optimistic view of a future saved by technological advances.

              I look at it this way technological progress has always been limited in the past by how fast we could travel. And for the most part our mode of travel in the 50’s is as fast as our mode of travel today. That even includes rockets.

          • msbadger says:

            Hey, just trying to say HI from the other planet… lol- just saw your post right now… See ya later… B

      • whatsthatsound says:

        That’s a point of mine too. She was a professional writer. She fell in love with and married an actor. And hardly a big name actor at that. She was clearly not in her own work for the money. Accolades, perhaps, but first and foremost passion. She and her husband volunteered for the campaign of Wendell Willkie, sort of an “old school” conservative who had some very liberal social views.
        I know she is loathed by progressives, and my personal feeling is that I would have found her to be too intense and sure of herself for me to want to spend time in a room with her! But compared to Reagan, Thatcher, and the unbelievable creeps we are seeing rise to the top of a sinking ship today, she was like a patron saint of reason and a paragon of wisdom.

  3. choicelady says:

    Hi all --

    Something happened today that may -- MAY -- be amazing. I have worked with the Center for Responsible Lending that fights foreclosures, payday loans, and other aspects of rip off of ordinary people. In catching up with an ally I’d not talked to in about 2 years, I started mentioning some financial alternatives that interest me -- and discovered it WOWed him! The Center is powerful, has led a lot of financial reform at state and federal levels, so linking them with some lesser known alternative credit practices was exciting.

    Over the past four or so years, I’ve worked closely with the Muslim community, and learned that in CA the Bank of Whittier has programs that are Sharia compliant, meaning they conform with Islamic religious laws, that forbid the charging of interest, or “riba”. They have developed “rent to own” mortgage programs that do not charge interest.

    Oh yeah -- “rent to own” in the US conjurs up fat sweaty slimeballs in mismatched plaid jackets and pants, white shoes, and chomping on a stogie. But at Whitter, that is NOT the case.

    Another system is LARIBA, a nationwide finance operation offering similar benefits and open to everyone.

    Then there is Oikocredit started decades ago by the World Council of Churches, that lets you invest your money that is then lent to developing nations and projects in the US at low interest to those that would otherwise be shut out of lending. Business capital is its main feature. First Dr. Jetti Oliver, former head of Oikocredit in India called me, and I led this Hindu to the Muslim banking world. And he’s delighted to go! Then the head of Oikocredit San Francisco called FIVE MINUTES LATER, and I did the same and will continue the conversation with her anbd their New York office in two weeks.

    Many of you have probably heard of the Grameen Bank, started in Bangladesh by Muhammed Yunus who won the Nobel Peace Prize some years ago. Again -- loans to small microenterprise, sometimes at rates higher than we’d like but within the cultural norms of their society, and it has a default rate of less than 10% but has created millions and millions of self sufficient small -- tiny -- businesses. The loans are given primarily to women (sorry menfolk -- women tend to be better at this) who do everything from raising chickens to producing small goods. In the US the microenterprise work in CA is found best handled by the Women’s Initiative. I put the Oikocredit folks in San Francisco in touch with the Women’s Initiative also in the Bay ARea. They did NOT know each other.

    I have a friend who sneers at some of this -- “You can’t work your way out of poverty weaving baskets” but of course not everyone does that. The microenterprises are small but highly diverse, often complex, and have grown to the point where they are hiring staff and ususally above minimum wage.

    Now almost none of these organizatins -- Center for Responsible Lending, Oikocredit, Whittier and LARIBA, and Women’s Initiative -- knew one another! For various reasons known only to Whoever, they all talked to me this week, and I talked to each of them about the others. And now, this afternoon, the Center is taking the lead on bringing these groups together to examine how they can building an alternative financial system that works for people. They will add past experiences about using pension funds as development capital for inner city projects (highly successful in Boston); community banking and its strengths for local control, and some novel approaches they are using to reach out to people; credit unions that they already know but that don’t know them.

    Wow. Mark this date -- May 13, 2010 because this week something “happened”, and there is electricity in the air as people well positioned to DO SOMETHING NEW saw new possibilities and new ideas. Over the past three days, they found new allies around building a sustainable, self sufficient financial base from which to build an equally sustainable economic base grounded in worker and community self empowerment.

    This may be the start of something GREAT! Let’s keep an eye on it because it may be a great place for GROW to be involved. On one hand we can curtail the corporate power in our election system. On the other hand, we can help build a new and separate system of finance that is geared exclusively to helping REAL people.

    Wow. Best week I’ve had in years! I am SO excited!

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Hey, C’Lady! I just saw this today on Morning Joke, of all places-- an interview with Yunis. It excited me as much as you.

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/ns/msnbc_tv-morning_joe#37188077

    • Mightywoof says:

      CLady -- you are one of the most amazing people it’s ever been my pleasure to ‘know’. What serendipity!! I hope, hope, hope that things work out between all the various groups. Micro-economics is working so well in the third world and there’s nothing that says it can’t work in this part of the world. No wonder you’re excited -- well done.

    • kesmarn says:

      Brava, brava, brava, c’lady! You are truly a “bridge person.” If only we could clone you many times over…

    • KQ says:

      CL great to hear you so upbeat. MissfrenchyUSA use to talk about the advantages of microfinancing often.

      Is most of this financing going to loans or co-ownership? I still see the perils of expanding the loan mentality even great efforts like this. I would much rather see financiers own stake in more of these endeavors. Stakes they can eventually sell back to owners and employees so they can all be co-owners.

      • choicelady says:

        The loans allow a variety of ownership opportunities. It is far better, IMHO, to have low=cost loans than to give over ownership to absentee investors. We in the US of A have succumbed to a kind of “borrow and pay later” for NON productive goods, and that suckered us into borrowing for a phantom inflation of value in home loans. Tomorrow is another day, said Scarlett -- and tomorrow prooved to be an illusion.

        These loans are highly monitored for the development of wealth, not the consumption of riches which, IMHO also, is a kind of cannibalism of self. I am OK with them because they are grounded in the community well being, not just throwing money at someone without a business plan or any kind of ability. They produce wealth, not just personal riches, tend to lead to small but steady growth, and the default rate is minscule.

        Far better to owe a finite amount than to give over control of your life dream to…??? who could not care less about your dream, you, anything but their gain.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      “Best week I’ve had in years”; that is palpable, choicelady! I am very happy for both you, and the country and planet you are so tirelessly serving.

    • escribacat says:

      How wonderful that it all came together like that, CL. I love the idea of micro-lending and micro-enterprises. I love the idea of micro anything!! It’s also amazing that these diverse parties are all thinking and working along the same lines. It actually seems like a tangible “answer” to what usually seems like an insurmountable problem (the hopeless mess of the world in general).

      I look forward to hearing more about it in the future! I’m really impressed with your place in all this!

  4. KQ says:

    Interesting poll results germane to this discussion.

    When it comes to the problems in the financial markets, do you think that (INSERT PERSON/GROUP) is more concerned about the interests of average Americans or more concerned about the interests of large corporations? (RANDOMIZE)

    President Obama: 51% average Americans, 36% large corporations
    Republicans in Congress: 20% average Americans, 71% large corporations
    Democrats in Congress: 35% average Americans, 53% large corporations

    http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Sections/NEWS/A_Politics/___Politics_Today_Stories_Teases/100512_NBC_WSJ_Poll.pdf

    • Khirad says:

      Hmm… actually, I’m not sure the American people are completely off on this one. Now, the immigration thing…

      • KQ says:

        Actually these numbers are pretty consistent with the percentage of votes on financial reform for the stronger amendments in congress. They should be voting on the Volker rule and some stronger controls on derivatives soon and that’s a big test.

  5. KQ says:

    I still don’t know if many people really understand what it takes to have 6,600,000,000+ billion people on earth using this planet’s resources. If we all just consumed food and lived only with the need of basic necessities it would be much different. Perhaps 5,000,000,000 do live that way because most people are in poverty but unless you are homeless or live in the woods at least in this country we consume far far more than just our basic needs.

    I only have intimate knowledge of one heavy industry having been to dozens of paper mills. Let me describe a little what a paper mill produces, uses and how it works to give you a littler perspective on the enormity of our problems. Most paper mills produce around 1000-2000 TONS of paper a day. They use millions of gallons of water, gigawatts of electricity, create tons of air emissions, use hundreds of thousands of pounds of chemicals, The machines that make paper for most grades are 20-30 feet wide, a football field or two long, run at 30-60 mph, and are three stories tall. Basically the way paper is made is you take pulp that is 99% water and reduce it to less than 10% water in a fraction of a minute. Mills have 1-10 machines that usually run 24 hours a day. I did not even mention the timber a mill uses a day because that’s the least of our problems in many ways.

    I know the enormity of the process is hard to envision just reading this but just imagine standing under dual stock chests about 35 feet in diameter, 15 stories tall holding 500,000 gallons of stock each that will be emptied in one day.

    Whether the money and natural resources that goes into these heavy industries comes from a corrupt capitalism, proper capitalism, socialism or communism does not matter. Every economic system is addicted to fossil fuels. That’s why I have a problem with your equations Adlib. We pine for the days when the middle class grows again but that will only make the basic problems worse, not to mention that developing countries like China and India are growing their middle classes at an alarming rate. All we are really talking about with the various economic systems is what Karma Sutra position we are taking when we screw Gaia.

    Now I’m going to go out on a huge limb here and I don’t want to offend people who have children but I probably will. The Chinese in their terrible system have at least one thing right in my opinion. Two people producing one child is the only answer to our problem as a species. Because consistent to what wts said technology will never keep up with population growth and the strains it puts on Gaia. No kidding water will be the next oil even though we are surrounded by it.

    • escribacat says:

      Water has long been the main issue here in Colorado.

    • kesmarn says:

      KQ, I hear you. One of the numerous, but one of the seldom mentioned, reasons that corporations can treat workers as disposable is that there are always so many more available in the world — simply because there are so many more people! And machines do so much more labor now than ever before, which only compounds the problem of finding work for everyone. Even smart, talented people are employed at the whim and the beck and call of the mega corporations because there are an almost unlimited number of them world wide. E.g. Just the gifted and talented portion of China’s high school population is equal to our entire high school population in America. Talk about competition.

      This is why I’m aggravated by the religious right extremists who encourage enormous families to “populate the earth with Christians.” Sorry, folks, but Noah’s ark is going to sink!
      Where in the Bible is the childless Jesus quoted as advising his followers to do that? I’ll always be grateful that I had children. But I had two. And there would be people who could argue that even that is “pushing” the limits. This planet is amazing in its ability to take “hits,” but it isn’t eternally invulnerable. And too many people only diminish our ability to control mega corporations who already tend to “chew ’em up and spit ’em out.” Horrible as it may sound, their rationale is: “Plenty more where that came from.”

      • KQ says:

        Exactly that’s why China, India and other developing nations have dominated every labor intensive industry in the world and in industrialized countries we have machines to replace people.

        It’s a huge fallacy to say manufacturing is on the decline in this country in one way. Save for the great recession it’s increasing steadily but not as fast as before. It’s manufacturing jobs that are not keeping up NOT production.

  6. kesmarn says:

    Work has been a bit on the crazy (in many senses of the word) side these past few days, so I’ve been off the grid for a while. But this is a terrific article and discussion.

    I think WTS, Kalima and choicelady have all touched on this — maybe indirectly — but one of the reasons unregulated capitalism is doomed to failure seems to be that altruism is not a “natural” feeling. We’re born self-centered by necessity, and we are only educated out of it by (functional) spirituality and/or rationality. If we’re lucky. If not, we work on Wall Street on in some other street gang.

    And prey on our fellow citizens.

    Which is why sane laws and honest government, law enforcement and legal systems are a necessity. Some folks just never learned to self-police…however much they assure us that they really, really can. Honest!

    I think if Ayn Rand were alive today, she would be a Limbaugh fan. Although she was much smarter than Limbaugh, I think they had something of the same take on things. They felt/feel they were/are in a persecuted minority of very smart, talented people who were/are unfairly expected to use their gifts for the common good. (What a concept.) If they were on the receiving end of enough adulation and money, they could be persuaded, they felt, to share their wisdom with the Great Unwashed. But altruism? Screw that. They both have/had a fundamental contempt for their audience — whom they view as lazy, fawning simpletons for the most part. Elitism, thy name is “Rand/Limbaugh.” Throw in a flair for drama, and a grandiosely paranoid sense of persecution and you have a match made in purgatory.

    What you don’t have is any realistic notion of how an economy realistically works.

    Why does it make any sense at all to have an implicit trust in the collective moral compass of the “achiever class”--the “wealth creators” as they love to deem themselves — while being convinced that the poor/working classes are without exception lazy, scheming dimwits?

    Also, as WTS and Kalima noted: what purpose is served by folks on the left bashing spirituality? The “Flying Spaghetti Monster” and “Jeebus” insults alienate the people on the right who right otherwise be inclined to converse reasonably about our differences, but who happen to be believers. That certainly helps to make the tone of the discussion less poisonous! Even if only for pragmatic reasons, the left needs to soft pedal it with the aggressive atheism attacks. If there are elements of religious ethical instruction that encourage people NOT to be ruthless capitalist exploiters, how is that a bad thing? Of course anyone has a right to be an avowed atheist, but how does flinging childish insults at people who sincerely hold religious beliefs make them more inclined to “see the light”? This is yet another area where HP has become a genuine snake pit.

    Anyway, pardon the long-winded oration here. Guess I made up for lost time! And many thanks to AdLib for a fine article-- imported from France, no less!

    • KQ says:

      I hate to go off on a Limbaugh tangent because your reply was very brilliant but Tweety brought up something about Limbaugh that was so true yesterday. He said if anything Limabaugh is a genius with pandering to his base, Tweety called middle aged white salesman in cars for the most part. Limbaugh has made them feel like the oppressed minority who are having their rights and privileges taken away. Believe me there is some hedge fund manager who is probably over there near Adlib in France sitting in his 7th dwelling that is a lavish chateau believing he is uberly oppressed.

      • kesmarn says:

        Agreed, KQ. Limbaugh is a genius at pandering to his base. But at the same time, I still believe that he secretly holds them in contempt. Exactly the way a dishonest used car salesman despises the yokels who are dumb enough to buy his defective products. It’s a guilt-reliever and an ego booster at the same time.

        And, yes, the uber-wealthy hedge fund managers can always find ways to feel oppressed, too. I suppose it’s the only way they can identify with the “little people.” 😉 (“See, plebians? We’re all oppressed…Sigh…”)

  7. choicelady says:

    AdLib, KQ and all-

    For decades I’ve thought about this. In the dissertation yet unwritten (life intruded), I looked at the micro level for what had been the foundation of our colonial economy and what changed. Drawing on the work of E.P. Thompson, the English historian who coined the term “Moral Economy”, I found that in Europe between the end of feudalism and the rise of industrial capitalism, the majority of the economy worked -- and worked well -- for ALL people. We are taught about the 7% that gave rise to enormous wealth, the international traders, mercantilism, and all that -- but the remainder, the stuff of everyday life, was vastly different.

    In Europe and England, the economy was guided by principles that promoted the greatest self sufficiency for the greatest number. Markets were regulated -- and we’re talking open air markets with goods present and visible -- where the first fruits of the markets were reserved for the poor: windows, orphans, the infirm, the old. Prices were regulated by the locality and sought a balance between what the producers needed and what people could pay, much of which was barter. Higher level producers such as weavers, silversmiths, candle makers, or anyone who traded with merchants, often worked in guilds that trained the newcomer, and then set the prices, controlled the process, and established the quality of all goods. The merchants did NOT. Men and women were equal in all but three guilds in England (I’ve never learned which three) so “master” was a gender neutral term. The Court of Assize watched that there was no gouging of market prices. The famous “baker’s dozen” 12 plus 1 -- was so that no one got unfair weight or quantity. Unfair practices were controlled by the Court of Assize. Rich or poor, you were subject to the issue of absolute fairness to those whom you served. Period.

    Was that true in the colonies? Indeed! As far as the northern colonies, it offered an enormous degree of equality as well, since the foundation of price, sale, transaction, and the governmental regulations that monitored them, was the town. Women held local offices, women voted, and free people of color had equality as well. Everyone was to work, everyone was to benefit. Yes, I am skipping over slavery because I don’t know the laws of the southern colonies, but in the northern colonies, the Moral Economy gave great prosperity. Everyone in a town voted. “Property” meant the tools of your trade as well as real estate, so voting was extensive. Voting was by household, one vote per household,so if no man was present, the woman who headed the household did vote. I found the records. Most towns kept none, but where they recorded votes, you will find women, and where they did not you will find women listed as the head of the household. Women owned their own property, bequeathed it and inherited it, and did not require a man to control it.

    Manufacturing was usually small mills, given as a “privilege” to those who promised to produce high quality goods for the town first. Surplus could go to the regional market, but not before the town was served at the price the town set. Violation of this agreement meant the dissolution of the privilege.

    This was NOT capitalism. It has no good term. It was not socialism nor communism. It just was the operation of the economy on the principles of morality. Period.

    After the Revolution, I watched, law by law, as every bit of that eroded. First they removed the requirements that towns control the privileges, then they took widows’ “thirds” -- the part guaranteed to her by marriage -- and refused to allow women to claim unimproved lands. Women kept title and income from their property, but husbands or other male relatives invested it -- for their own use. By 1836 MA just cut to the chase and declared women the property of their husbands. Much tidier.

    Shay’s Rebellion, the little known story, was crucial to the transformation of the moral economy into the utilitarian capitalism we know today. The Great and General Court had declared that all debts be paid in cash -- and if it could not be, property, including the tools, could now be seized. That’s what the western MA, CT, and NH and VT farmers feared since they had no means to GET cash. And is it not interesting that in the crescent that gave rise to Shay’s Rebellion, you find the outworkers -- the hand weavers -- who later served the new spinning mills. They became the first waged labor -- it had not existed at all as a condition in the colonies -- because they were tied to cash. Later they and their offspring moved to the mills and became permanent labor. And thus the division between work and ownership, taking orders and giving them, establishing work process in time with machines and making people full time laborers all arose.

    Brick by brick, law by law, the system of capitalism with owners at the top and dependent labor at the bottom all came together. It took over 50 years, but they got the job done.

    So what of today? We fought the very fights we’re waging once before, 100 years ago. We had the rise of the Robber Barons coupled with the Labor Wars for nearly another 50 years before regulation kicked in. It is not true that ‘human nature’ is impelled toward greed. But once the structures of the society reward greed and NOT work, the jig is up.

    We see the same thing in Socialism and putative communism. Centralized decision making over other people’s lives does not differ regardless of the system. We ask -- what is power? We tend to answer -- getting what you want. But REAL power is not just getting what you want but making sure everyone else is dependent on you for what they want. That dissassociation of work from decision, is the crux of ALL modern economies. Even in feudalism, power was tempered by the fact peasants controlled production -- the Lord could not extract too much from them or they would die or rebel, and then where were you? But in capitalism -- workers are utterly fungible. One dies, another is there. In socialism as well -- one dies, another takes the place. Corporatism is the real enemy here, and we need to challenge that.

    It is why I harp on worker ownership AND management of business. On a tiny scale, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is the most radical film EVER because in the guise of a happy Christmas story, it challenges the benefits of corporate control. Yes -- you can have very individualized, “petit capitalism” that works well. You even do today -- to wit, the wonderful story of Malden Mills whose owner kept people paid after the mill burned. That’s petit capitalism at its finest. But once you divorce ownership from responsibility (investors) and you separate work from decisions (corporations) and especially when you lard on mangers who never built the company (almost anything today) you have an entirely dehumanized system. Socialism did the same -- remote managers making decisions about how to do things about which they knew nothing at all.

    Greed is certainly a factor as power consolidates UP. But power itself I think is the issue. Inside every economic decision is an interior political one.

    Now it’s our turn. This is the new Progressive Era. We need to start making it easier for workers to acquire control over decisions. They were systematically put out by Taft Hartley, and that has to be altered. The people who work in a plant or business usually know best how to run it. And for that knowledge -- the wealth of the company lies under the worker’s cap -- for that sheer amazing mass of information and wisdom, working people have to be rewarded by being again the first, not the last, to benefit from what they do.

    It will not be enough to regulate business. We must fundamentally alter how decisions are made and who makes them. Communities once again must have an equal say in their own destinies. The salvation of nations and states and cities and towns and then ultimately of people all begins with this one question -- who controls?

    When we said, through the 60s, “power to the people” we did NOT even know how true that was, and we had few precedents for what that meant. But now we do. We understand what we can do and how we can benefit. It’s not taking to the street -- it’s taking BACK the streets and the businesses on them.

    That’s how we will regain equality, equity, and democracy. We can coexist with petit capitalists, but we no longer can coexist with mega corporations. This must be our goal. It’s the only way we can regain our civilization.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Wonderfully informative and inspiring, choicelady! It brings up a couple thoughts: we need to shame greed and exploitation. We need to ridicule and stigmatize the kind of greed and hoggery we are seeing that threatens all of us in very real ways. We still don’t, really. We admire the Jaguars and the Rolexes, the Armani suits and the trophy wives. We envy the folks who have those things, even if they get it by moving digits around on a computer and shaving off little bits and pieces of it, “fake money” that doesn’t come from anything produced, just finagling. We envy them even if they work for oil companies and weapons manufacturers. However they get “it”, by having it, they de facto become people that society lavishes its respect and admiration on. How do we stop this? In fact, when did we become so focused on this? We have a disease.
      Remember “All in the Family”? Could such a show have any hope of being produced today? It was edgy, confrontational, issues oriented at its heart, proudly liberal. And Americans ate it up! It was as popular at its height as any show in history, and spun off several others. Every one of them, from “Maude” to “The Jeffersons”, were far more progressive than anything we have today. And they had HEART! They weren’t like The Simpsons or South Park, more snark than heart. Today Americans watch Jack Bauer protect the American people by torturing bad guys. Archie Bunker is still with us today -- but he’s the AUDIENCE now!

      • choicelady says:

        WTS -- I so agree! Where are the media pieces challenging the way things are? Would anyone abide that -- the “in your face”, even with laughter, that marked “All in the Family” etc.?

        We are all scared. We may be frightened of very different things, but we are all scared. This morning’s Sacramento Bee noted that many of the jobs lost in the Great Recession will NEVER return. I see very little on the horizon that can mark full employment. The Green Revolution is not yet even started, and many things, such as administrative assistant positions they discussed, may be out the window forever. Who can laugh when that happens?

        Perhaps social critique is possible ONLY with a full belly and a roof over your head. On the other hand, the Golden Age of comedy WAS the 1930s. Will Rogers was very popular -- only Jim Hightower has that kind of insight, and he’s marginal. Stewart and Colbert are our closest comparison, and they approach it all with, yes, snark.

        I am glad, like javaz, that I am growing older and may not have to be TOTALLY responsible for solving the chaos that may be coming. I have enough to get by, and that gives me the freedom to keep working for things getting better. But like javaz and her husband, I want to retire in a few years, grow tomatoes, and not have to think about it all. And that ain’t gonna happen.

        • kesmarn says:

          c’lady, your initial post is brilliant. And you make a telling point when you say we’re all scared. It’s a very rational fear, I think. (Although it need not be a paralyzing one.) When anyone realizes the risk involved in taking on the mega-corporations, it would be reckless not to be afraid. These people have certainly shown full well what they are capable of when any individual or group challenges their power. They are “not playin'” to put it mildly. They have more power at the moment than any government in the world, I would venture to say. And they have neither the moral strength nor the motivation to show any restraint at all in how they use it. As long as the bottom line is at stake, they will do whatever it takes. “Nothing personal. Just business.”

          A chilling prospect for anyone who wants to take them on, I fear. But — again — no reason not to do it!

  8. whatsthatsound says:

    If Ayn Rand were alive to see what is happening, I wonder what she would have to say. Not her followers, the Objectivists and Libertarians, because from what I can tell they are still quite defensive about her and her legacy. To them, she’s more an ideal than a flesh and blood person. I don’t agree with her philosophy of egotism, but I also recognize that it came from a place of deep thought within her, and ultimately from a desire to use her mind to contribute to a better world. I think it is not all that hard to imagine that she would say, “I was wrong. I trusted the Unseen Hand too much. I trusted progress too much. I’m just another idealist who managed to miss the biggest elephant in the room; the low developmental level of compassion, ethics and wisdom of my species in its current state. Laisssez Faire Capitalism is NOT the answer, and can never possibly be until people find a way to combat the corrosive effects of greed”.

    • choicelady says:

      WTS -- you are very kind to her. I don’t think she deserves it. She loathed working people, and she erroneously believed that the government was thwarting business, never seeing that business of the types she admired existed on ONLY government largesse. She was a nasty person in many ways. I’ve never found a single thing about her that was admirable, even though I do agree that she was passionate and in her way honest. Today -- she’d LOVE what greed and unfettered capitalism has become. She’d be arguing for less regulation, and she’d not mourn a thing, not even after all that’s gone wrong. She’d blame the collapse on too much governmental interference, not too little. Nothing would ever persuade her she was wrong. Nothing.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        I just can’t see that, choicelady. How could anyone LOVE what we are seeing today? Even the ones who are causing all the damage, they don’t love the system, they just love how it works for them, how it brings them all the things they want, the money and the glamourous lifestyle. She was a writer; hardly the easiest path in life to make millions! I truly find it hard to believe that she would look upon what we have in the US today and feel satisfaction, would feel “Now THIS is what I was talking about!”

        • choicelady says:

          I hope you’re right, that she’d be dismayed. Of course no one can psychoanalyze the dead! Perhaps she’d be horrified. But you noted above that we’re actually all possessed of envy (well, not ALL of us!) for the Jags and Rolexes and the trappings of wealth. If that’s the society in which you dwell, would you even NOTICE the suffering of those not of that class? Robert Coles wrote several books on the plight of children -- Children of War, etc. -- including Children of Privilege. What he observed was pretty awful -- children of wealth really looked down on others. It was NOT born of their low self esteem as we’d like to believe but of their inculcation that somehow they were “better” than their servants, the middle class, working people. And they believed it. I fear Ayn Rand would see today’s excessive class accumulation as a vindication of her theories, not a critique.

  9. javaz says:

    My husband actually has a great idea regarding the spill -- put in a rubber balloon and then inflate it.

    Sounds good in theory, but well, I guess this is off topic.

    6 corporations own our news media and they’re all fair and balanced, right?

    My husband and I have given up.
    We’re older now and retired, and really, nothing will actually affect us, even though we know that it affects us all.

    But we’re older and tired.
    We did the 60’s thing -- my husband more than I -- in protesting and actually going to jail and being beaten by cops.
    My husband has been there and done that and he’s tired.

    It’s awful hard to go up against FOX and the other corporate media.

    There is no such thing as the ‘Liberal Media’, and even Warren Buffet, who we both adored, has turned into a corporate whore.

    Shame on us, for not seeing it earlier.

    My husband is not into blogging and never reads the news, and only knows what’s going on from me and from my blogging and reading the Net.

    That’s not exactly true, but it is for the most part.

    I’m taking my husband’s outlook now, because this morning we talked about it all.

    He asked me -- ‘Why follow the news, when you know how you’re going to vote anyway?’

    We cannot stop what is happening, and this is my opinion and being an Arizonan, is that this country is going to go extreme right-wing.

    I actually want it to happen, in the hopes that my neighbors, who never go to church, and my elderly friend that loves Bill O’Reilly because he’s a Catholic, that they see and wake up because what the Tea Party and extreme right wing wants, is not what they can accept.

    I actually do want to see it swing that far right because it is the only way that Americans will wake up.

    The corporations are behind it all, and I truly believe that they will put an end to it all once it takes away from the bottom line.

    But I like to imagine my very good elderly friend that believes being Catholic is the only way to reach heaven -- I cannot wait for her to see that she must be BORN AGAIN and an evangelical.

    She probably won’t live that long, but I am hoping.

    Oh, here’s another thing, in my life,

    I somehow got on an email list for those remaining in my family.
    Cousins, basically, and they send me the emails with titles of CHILLING and it’s all about Obama being a Muslim and he is turning our country into a Socialist nation and a non-Christian nation.

    GOD.

    I don’t even know these cousins, and how they found me, I will never know.

    I’m sick of it.
    Just sick of it all.

    I want to find a solution but I do not think that I can.

    So, I am hoping that the younger people -- college educated people -- take up where we left off in the 60’s.

    The youth is our only hope.

    • Khirad says:

      About hoping everything swings right -- that’s how I felt about full Republican control of every branch of government during the Bush years.

      Sad that that didn’t seem to teach us anything. Not over a year of Democrats in charge and we’ve -- even those on the fringes of the left -- forgotten.

      This isn’t about blaming Bush for everything and absolving Obama of all responsibility. But it was supposed to be a goddamned “teaching moment”!

      You asked a question, why do we follow the news…

      I have to admit that that stumped me.

      I’m naturally curious, and not into “entertainment” oriented stuff -- but once upon a time I was more into music and just reading other stuff. Into drawing, and so on.

      I’m afraid being a news junkie is sorta a way to fill a certain emptiness -- or lack of other hobbies in my life.

      But, then again, it also fulfills a need for intellectual stimulation and those with shared interests and views (mostly) that I also don’t find in the real world to the same satisfaction. Maybe that is a character defect? I do miss the monthly discussion group I was a part of.

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks BT! With so many facets of corporate domination I didn’t even include the MIC but that is now a massive impediment to our ever being able to have peace or get out of the financial hole we’re in.

      It is so true that we have such a fractured citizenry, with so many people focused on small, single issues, many of which don’t even affect their personal lives (gay marriage, abortion, etc.).

      The public is diluting its own influence in this way and we are being played, fighting amongst ourselves while the corps sneak away with our money and futures.

      I don’t see how a 3rd party would make a difference, they would be just as vulnerable to being bought by corps as the Dems and Repubs.

      What we need is election reform. Public funding of elections, corps not being treated as “people” and entitled to interfere with elections, shorter primaries and free time donated by tv and news stations for political ads.

      As for this planet turning more into survival of the fittest, maybe more of a survival of the fewest and wealthiest.

  10. dildenusa says:

    “Capitalism is a fraud.”

    I think this requires a little more descriptive language as to the true nature of capitalism.

    Unbridled, unfettered, unregulated capitalism is a fraud. It has nothing but the goal of exploitation and enslavement of masses of workers for the profit and enjoyment of a few. Even Adam Smith described capitalism as a partnership between government, labor, and business owners.

    So now the question is, what went wrong? I think the answer is straight forward. Extreme economic policy doesn’t work. Whether socialist or capitalist. Why? Because extreme economic policy breeds cheating, deviousness, and dishonesty. And as members of society we followed false prophets who turned economic policy into a cult.

    • choicelady says:

      dilden -- It took about seven seconds for would-be capitalists to undo all that Adam Smith taught. The “partnership” was written OUT of the law from the start. I rather like Smith, but apparently the early capitalists only saw the ‘unfettered’ part about their own riches, and they stopped immediately with accountability to government and the workers since that was the yoke they thought they were discarding from the Moral Economy of the colonial days. We started our form of capitalism more in keeping with freebooting privateers and pirates than with Smith. Ah America. Always looking for the main chance and never at the consequences!

    • AdLib says:

      I think it’s a matter of semantics and theory over reality but I appreciate and agree with your and KQ’s qualifiers.

      My proposition is that capitalism in practice is not the same as capitalism in theory. We would be hard pressed to find one example of pure capitalism ever existing as an enduring economic system. Communism suffers from the same flaw.

      That is, economic theories in practice are corrupted in practice by the power of greed.

      That’s why government needs to intercede, to protect the well being and viability of a society.

      As you mentioned, capitalism needs to be a partnership of business owners, labor and government. However, the problem with capitalism is that it is a voluntary suggestion, one which the wealthy and powerful always find foolish to abide by.

      So, we need a hybrid capitalism, with socialism in some areas and government regulation in others.

      We could call it Capitalism 2.0.

      And Capitalism 2.0 could require, as in Japan, that CEO salaries are limited to a reasonable percentage of workers.

      It could heavily tax massive profits profits of a corp to provide for and enhance society…which will then in turn be in a better position to purchase more from such corps.

      It could strip corporations of personhood, instead giving them certain rights accorded people (like the ability to sue) without allowing them to use their money to affect or influence the people’s democracy (the heavy taxes above could be used to publicly finance elections).

      Like any theory, an economic system based on capitalism can be corrected and improved through trial and error. We’ve had plenty of the errors, not enough trials but it sure seems that the time has come to rework it.

    • KQ says:

      I totally agree with you about extremes.

      Like you said it’s not Capitalism per say at least when compared to other economic systems it’s corruption. Greece is a great example of a more socialist system that is corrupt.

      The Capitalism we have today is far from Adam Smith’s model. For Capitalism to “work” meaning not be corrupt. You need real competition or real regulations when competition is not possible.

  11. whatsthatsound says:

    Writing a lot on this subject, but here is another “pet peeve” of mine. Over at HP, whenever an article about spirituality or religion, either good or bad, comes out, there is always a cadre of atheists who jump in uninvited, to very gratuitously proclaim that religion is the cause of all the world’s evils.
    How did religion cause the oil leak, I wonder?
    You don’t see a bunch of religious believers jumping on every environmental catastrophe, saying that science, or at least technology, is the cause of all the trouble. And yet we are talking about a SERIOUS downgrading of human life through misuse of technology, and, let’s not forget, enough weaponry in existence to do all the damage in one fell swoop. The atheists all go on HP, and tell us that science is the only hope of mankind. They are displaying cognitive dissonance when they do so. Can anyone tell me that it is one hundred percent established that religion has caused more death and pain than technology? Can anyone POSSIBLY make the case that if any OTHER species of animal or plant on this planet was polled as to which they would rather see humans had never developed, that a single one of them would have chosen religion?

    • KQ says:

      Amen to that. Not to mention the fact that the real dogma is belief in money, not any supreme being.

    • dildenusa says:

      “Can anyone tell me that it is one hundred percent established that religion has caused more death and pain than technology?”

      Probably not. But it is certain that values and beliefs like theological exceptionalism, nationalism, militarism, imperialism, etc. along with misuse of technology has caused untold suffering.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        yes, yes, of course. I didn’t mean to lay it all at the feet of technological misuse. These things tend to work together anyway, which is why I find the reductive thinking of the “It’s all religion’s fault!” crowd to be so far off the mark. None of these things operate in a vacuum. A Grand Inquisitor with the technology of a torture device is a human monster about whom EVERYTHING is corrupted. His religion, his greed for power, and the use of technology to harm instead of do good. Dogmatic, exceptionalist religions have caused much harm, I readily agree. But never by themselves, always as extensions of humans, who do harm in so many other ways as well.

        Christopher Hitchens offers this challenge: Name one thing that religion offers mankind that could not come about through non-religious means. I’ll play along with that proposal and assume there are none.

        Then I’d like to ask him to name one occurrence like the bombing of Hiroshima or the gas chambers of Treblinka that COULD have come about without scientists and engineers working hard to bring them about? Or, for that matter, name one environmental catastrophe caused by religion that in any way compares to what the misuse of science is doing now.

        I can wait as long as he can.

    • Kalima says:

      It became one of my “pet peeves” there too wts. Prior to joining HP in June 07, I had never blogged anywhere before.

      I remember the first time I joined in a discussion about religion, the vitriol was so acute, that eventually I had to leave the thread. Over time I realized that it was the same anti religion posters who came every time to scream insults and demean anyone who said that they were Christian. Later I found them to be just as fanatical as your Fundies, you could cut their venom with a knife. Eventually when I forgot and joined another religious thread or often a thread would turn to abusive words by someone who thought we believed in fairy tales, I would answer their constant question asking me to prove there was a God with only this, “Prove that there isn’t.”

      Knowing that some of these posters were crazed in their hate sometimes, I decided to stay away from these threads for about 7 months before I decided to no longer post there. HP was the first place that I had ever discussed my religious beliefs in public, until then it had been a very private thing and I feel that from now on it will become a very private thing again.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        They have all the code words, and it is so trite, so smug. “Flying Spaghetti Monster”, “Tooth Fairy”, “Bronze Age Myths”, “Sky Fairy”, “Jeebus”. I think that’s it for the main ones. They write them like they just thought them up, and yet they have been using the same unoriginal, no-thought-required put downs for years now. All of which only demonstrate that they themselves have never had an authentic spiritual experience, not that they are smart.

        • Kalima says:

          Yes, I’ve heard all of those many times before. It’s a shame that they are so full of hate that they represent themselves as caught up in their hatred against religion as the Taliban and the RR are for it. All quite crazy and over the top, so as similar as they are different and all zealous bigots when you come right down to it. They of course would be the last to see it or admit it. I wash my hands of hate, it has no place in my life, especially other people’s hate, it makes them look so small.

          The funny thing about this is that I would never tell them that I have anything against them for not believing in a higher power because I don’t, and I would never try to convince them that they were wrong or lesser people because of it. Yet they think it’s alright to call us abusive names, I don’t get that.

          • whatsthatsound says:

            I don’t get it either. Nor do I get how they have it worked out that science is going to save us from all our troubles when scientific achievement is so obviously a double edged sword. It’s like KQ points out, our species seems to have a way of turning ANYTHING into poison!

            • Kalima says:

              Science is a wonderful and fascinating thing to behold, but does it fill the spiritual need in many humans, no it doesn’t. If it was so perfect and precise, we would have a cure for cancer, AIDS and every illness under the sun by now. We would be able to predict earthquakes, we could block the hole in the Ozone and be living on another Planet, but wait, we would ruin that too.

              Why people continue to compare religion to science is beyond me. Apart from the Fundies and their strange beliefs about the age of our planet, I see them as two totally different aspects of our lives. Being a Christian doesn’t mean I don’t believe in scientific data and facts, so why are we in competition?

            • Kalima says:

              Yes exactly wts, the list is endless. We feel for people who are oppressed or live with racial slurs but will never be in their shoes and can only imagine what it must be like. Try telling a perfectly healthy person what it’s like living each day with chronic pain, they will of course sympathize but will never know how it really is unless one day they experience it for themselves.

              I’m content with my spiritual beliefs, they make me whole, they complete me, and no one will ever have the power to try to shame me again.

              Good night wts, it’s much cooler tonight and I’m getting drowsy.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              I completely agree! In fact, in a way I see them as two totally different aspects of our brains! Maybe it’s right hemisphere/left hemisphere; probably something much more complex, but what’s apparent is that people who have a genuine place in their heart and mind for spirituality are unable to communicate that with either fundies or “angry atheists”. It’s like being a parent; you can say, “It sure is great having a kid!”, but you can’t possibly convey WHAT is great to someone who is childless by choice. Experiences such as those can’t be described to people who don’t have them, the description will always fall short of the true essence.

  12. whatsthatsound says:

    Topsoil erosion is another example of this. That, and the despoiling of water, are probably the two biggest threats to our health as a species. We are letting gigantic, shortsighted industries fill up our soil, as well as our oceans, with chemicals. In this case, chemically manufactured nutrients and pesticides which over the long term are very harmful to the soil’s natural metabolism. This is the same as what we do to the animals we eat, pumping them up with steroids and antibiotics and so forth. Except we are doing it to our SOIL! Can you imagine how dangerous this becomes when our soil can take it no more and gives out? Three short words answers that question, “no more food”. But our giant agribusiness conglomerates would rather do it this way than allow the natural fallow periods soil needs to rejuvenate itself.

    • AdLib says:

      Right with you, the erosion of topsoil is a huge issue facing us and future generations.

      But corporate farming interests, as with Wall Street, only focus on the profits they can squeeze out today, not caring that they endanger sustainability.

      And lets not forget about Genetically Engineered crops that are self destructing so farmers MUST by seed each year from corporations (the seeds from crops won’t grow!).

      How can we continue to allow corporations to increase their stranglehold on society, over our food, our water, our energy and our economy?

  13. Questinia says:

    And yet, chumps that we are, we continue to pay taxes. Why? It’s like telling a boss who fired you “Thank-you”.

    • AdLib says:

      Actually, I’d like to raise corporate taxes so that any corp making over $100 million in profit pays 90% in taxes and then lower income taxes for 99% of Americans.

      Imagine how that would not only reduce the deficit but return the people’s money, stolen by the banks and corps, back to them and society as a whole.

      How wealthy do corporations or people need to be? Why does any individual or corporation need to be a billionaire? What can you buy with a billion that you can’t buy with $100 million?

      I ask you because you’re the only billionaire I know.

    • KQ says:

      What where you live you don’t need schools, roads, firefighters and police, Q?

      Even though we spend too much on the military most of our taxes go to things people need every day. Not even to mention Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid make up the majority of the Federal budget. I just don’t think the metaphor fits the real problems we have.

      Respectfully, I think the obsession with tax cuts, “small government” and deregulation is what got us into this mess.

      • Questinia says:

        You’re being far too genteel. The idea is not about undermining budgets chronically, it is about going on strike as a nation. Freeze out.

        We have power. We need to be subversive. We need to break laws. We need to use the volume of our finances and numbers. Changing laws as a process is long and people don’t live long.

        Or, throw in the towel, and hope the next generations get it straight.

        I’d refuse to comply in all matters, on a dime.

        Cause I’m an American.
        Born in the U S of A.

        • KQ says:

          Isn’t that the other thing that got us here Q? Voter Apathy.

          For instance we now know Gore would have been much more progressive, not than just Bush, but Clinton. However again because of progressive’s impatience they voted for Nader who gave us Bush. So in the end we started out in the beginning again.

          I’m may be gentle, I just don’t quit. That’s my superhero power.

          Call me Taoman.


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