“This site is dedicated to preying on peoples vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.”

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Delusion has become the first requirement of citizenship, either to buy into our “values” or live with consequences - or as has been said here many times, “Raise the flag higher, assholes.”


This is an oligarchy, not a democracy: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and the real reason why change never seems to come

This is an oligarchy, not a democracy: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and the real reason why change never seems to come

“At the parliament of animals, the rabbits demanded equal rights, and the lions replied, ‘But where are your claws?’”

We often hear it reported that in some benighted countries the people believe that “Democracy is a nice idea, but it’s not for us. We need a strong guiding hand.” So convinced of this are these people that, given the opportunity, they will in fact vote for this strong hand and all that comes with it, making democracy an oxymoron.

We tend to think that these foreign skeptics just don’t understand, and so some of us think that we ought to help them to understand. As my representative, freshman Republican Darin LaHood, said during a recent visit to a local high school, “The goal of our foreign policies is to try to make the world more like us.” (LaHood, son of Ray LaHood, was elected to the seat vacated by disgraced Republican Aaron Schock, he of the Downton-red office walls.)

A default neocon, LaHood wants to bring democracy to the heathens, an even worse idea than trying to convert them to Christianity. The appeal to democracy, coming from the lips of politicians like LaHood, is a paternalistic fraud—at the best! At the worst, it is no more than what it was in the colonial Middle East after World War I: the preparation for a “great looting.”

There are also times when I think that the U.S. is one of these benighted countries, especially when we decide that we need a president who will “stand up” to the nemesis of the hour, i.e. will without hesitation use military force in order to—high irony if not comedy—“make the world safe for democracy.” As David Gergen said of Donald Trump, “There is this extra dimension working in Trump’s favor: Americans are looking beyond particular policy for the personality that looks like somebody strong enough, tough enough, big enough to provide security.”

This is worse than an oxymoron, it is a tale told by an idiot.

What politicians like LaHood are incapable of contemplating is the idea that democracy is fractured by fateful ironies that tend toward its own failure. The first of these ironies is the idea that democracy is the expression of a “we”—the demos, “the American people,” as politicians like to say. If the American people that Barack Obama refers to are the same American people that Ted Cruz refers to, then the American people have a personality disorder. Among the conspicuous realities of social life in the United States, this reality should be the most conspicuous: we are not one and never have been. There is no We. There are no Americans.

Not only are we divided by those things that divide most regions of the world—tribe, sect, class/caste, race, sex—we are also divided by something that feels unique to us, almost genetic. It is our founding psychopathology, first animated by the mutual dislike of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Historians refer to it as our first national crisis, the conflict between Republican and Federalist, and it more than once led Jefferson to contemplate secession for Virginia and likeminded states.

Perhaps we inherited our psychopathology from ancient Rome and its division of senatorial oligarchs from republican populares (led by the brothers Gracchus and Julius Caesar), but there is a uniquely American cast to our everlasting dilemma. This dilemma currently expresses itself as urban liberalism versus the evangelism, guns, and hatred for all things federal that presently enlivens those gathered inside the Tea Party’s sanctimonious Tiny Tent. If there is a word for a country permanently divided against itself, we should use it, because the truth is that for the last 150 years we have lived in a Cold War continuation of the Civil War.

What hath Jefferson wrought?

In spite of this, we hear from all parts of the political spectrum the passionate appeal to “we.” This appeal is especially loud when it comes from social conservatives, although it is perplexing to consider who it is outside of their own tawdry numbers that they can be thinking of. We “real Americans,” one assumes, the usual ad hoc moral majority. Even Cliven Bundy and his 15 or 20 patriot soldiers claim that they level rifles at federal agents in the name of “the American people.”

But we also hear this rallying of “we” coming from democratic socialism, whether Bernie Sanders or the pages of “In These Times” (disclosure: I have written for “In These Times”). Socialists say, “Inequality, climate change, and racism can be corrected if ‘we’ have the will. It’s ‘up to us!’” The bumper-sticker-ready slogan “US means all of us” is the high-water mark for political naiveté.

Whether left or right, the idea that we are one is a delusion at best, and a perilous dishonesty at worst. It is perilous because it hides the fact that what is really being appealed to are the ideas of an impassioned faction. To say “we Americans” is to indulge in what Nietzsche called “civic narcissism.” This narcissism says, “Everyone should live through our ideals because our ideals are self-evidently the best. We’re bewildered that others don’t share our ideals, and we’re indignant that these others are not persuaded when we loudly explain them. As a consequence, we would impose our ideals by main force if the opportunity presented itself. After all, it’s in everyone’s best interest.”

This is why appeals to “the people” are so dangerous. Beneath the call to communist solidarity and the reign of the people’s Party Congress, Stalin understood that there is no “we,” no “people,” no “everyone” and got on with the execution of “right-Trotskyite” plotters, and generally on with egg breaking for his invidious omelet. What Stalin understood that we try to keep hidden from sight is the certainty that the bedrock of every form of mass social organization—including democracy, including our democracy—is force.

The second of democracy’s fateful ironies is the “fooled again” syndrome (as The Who expressed it some time back). Let’s say that some scattered fragment of a deeply committed “we” struggles at great cost through an antagonistic election, or a revolution, or a civil war to put “our man,” the people’s champion, in a place of power, but then the friend of the little guy betrays his people and becomes “just like the old boss.” Consider the disappointment of Greek workers with the conduct of their anti-austerity prime minister Alexis Tsipras. He now enforces austerity measures and attends military exercises wearing a military jacket—he might as well be George W. Bush. And I would hope that there’s no need to mention Mr. Putin, a World Historical Figure of ever-larger betrayals of Russian democracy.

Oddly, Tea Party advocates feel more or less like the Greek Left. Their disappointment is the reason that they send one version or another of their own private Attila to congress: the conservatives they’d previously elected turned out to be establishment clones, merely members of the “Washington cartel.” They earnestly believe that Eric Cantor and John Boehner betrayed them.

Unfortunately, in order to find someone of sufficient ideological purity, they must support candidates who in any other context would be considered sociopaths (I give you the Republican party’s roster of presidential nominees). And if they’re not really crazy, they have to pretend to be if they want to be nominated, or at least I hope that’s what Jeb Bush is up to. The point would seem to be that in order to find someone who won’t betray them, conservatives must find someone who has little respect for reality (I’m lookin’ at you Mr. Trump, Mr. Carson, Mr. Cruz). But even the purest of these candidates will end by betraying their deranged base because… they have little respect for reality. So what gets said in Iowa stays in Iowa. Then it’s on to New Hampshire, where new things will be said.

The poet William Carlos Williams wrote that, “The pure products of America go crazy.” That perception would seem to apply here. But think of it in these more sympathetic terms: Rural conservatives sent people to congress not only to fight against abortion, gay marriage and immigration, they also intended that they should fight the banks, the Fed, Wall Street and, in a word, the oligarchs, the oft-cursed “elites.” But, once elected, instead of fighting the oligarchs, these representatives joined them. Perhaps a more discerning electorate might have realized this from the first, given that business interests and billionaire overlords like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson were paying for the campaigns. However that may be, any Leftist should be able to understand the Tea Party’s grievance. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that Roger Hodge seemed to capture a similar disappointment among liberals with his book “The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism.”
I won’t belabor the point because the examples are many. The more difficult task is to think of a leader who hasn’t betrayed his first constituency (Vaclav Havel?). Of course, there’s nothing new about political betrayal. As Cicero wrote of Julius Caesar, “He surrounds himself with an armed guard, and emerges as a tyrant over the very people who elected him to office.” It’s difficult not to feel that nothing much has changed since the Romans: the oligarchs get money and power, while the plebes find no satisfaction beyond a weekly sack of corn, courtesy of the largesse of the Empire. (Perhaps that has changed: I believe that Paul Ryan’s budget eliminates the sack of corn.)

Democracy’s third fateful irony is that it promises that if change is needed, it will come through a plebiscite. But the reality is that any social agenda accomplished by the left (socialists to one degree or another) or the right (the Tea Party, evangelicals, white supremacists) will necessarily be bloody. The right gets that, eagerly gets that, and is locked and loaded. The Bundy clan demonstrated this once again in eastern Oregon, seizing a federal building in a wilderness area. There were few other human beings for hundreds of miles in all directions, but the watchtower was manned, the windows bloomed with rifles and choruses of “Amazing Grace,” and Ammon Bundy said they were in it for the long haul. None of this makes much sense to me, but I think the remaining diehards can be taken down through their own boredom, or when they realize they might miss the Super Bowl.

More seriously, Texas is as close as a state can come to living in permanent preparedness for war with its own government, both in principle and in fact, as we saw in 2015 when Governor Greg Abbott activated the Texas State Guard to monitor the U.S. Army’s Jade Helm 15 exercises in southwest Texas. Of course, Abbott’s actions were redundant. Virtually the whole of rural Texas is one vast citizen’s militia, one great posse comitatus. (Was Abbott perhaps hoping to protect the Army from the Texans?)

The left, on the other hand, God knows what it’s thinking. If it is to have anything remotely like what it says it wants, it will have to fight, something it seems very much disinclined to do. You can hardly blame them (and by them I mean me). We think that in a democracy issues should be decided in the favor of whoever offers the best reasons. Good luck with that. When the New York Times ran a front-page editorial articulating the reasons why it supports gun control, right-wing commentator Erick Erickson forsook rebuttal and shot the page full of holes.

Still, you can’t fault the sense of urgency that rouses Bernie Sanders and his admirers. They see all too clearly that the Progressive dream of ever-larger egalitarianism is dead. The United States has returned to its oligarchic roots, and with a vengeance. Sure, gays can get married and pot is more or less legal; isn’t that progress? But the oligarchs don’t care about that stuff. Smoke pot and fuck yourself silly, they say. In the meantime, well over 50 percent of the population lives on an annual income of $30,000 or less. Making matters a lot worse, this sobering statistic does not include those who went on Social Security early because they couldn’t find work after the recession, those even younger workers who committed disability fraud after their unemployment benefits stopped, those in prison, or those vague and pitiable souls called the “permanently discouraged.” Meanwhile, wealth concentrates at the top, ever denser, as if the sad mass of the rest of the country were being used to make a diamond.

The oligarchs are hated by both left and right, as is right and proper, but democracy’s fateful ironies make it unlikely that there will be any positive consequences for this hatred. As for the oligarchs, they don’t have to live through democracy’s ironies because they don’t live in a democracy. They live in a plutocracy. When they say “we,” they know just who they are talking about. Their “we” is what they call the “rightful owners.” As the saying goes, “Money always returns to its rightful owners.” (And boy hasn’t it steadily flowed back for 35 years now.) When newly elected leaders betray the people who elected them, the oligarchs say, “Welcome! You’ll fit right in!” As for irony number three, the oligarchy is not much concerned about blood because along with everything else it owns, it owns force. As in every nasty, tin-pot dictatorship, the goons are ready to apply a beat-down when necessary. As always, the goons will apply this beat-down to their own communities, their own people. The oligarchs outsource all of the bleeding to their victims.

That irony is jaw dropping: the traitorous “new boss” has no need to repent to those who placed him in power because he has a police apparatus at his beck and call ready and willing to confront his erstwhile supporters. The occasional scene of mothers facing off with their own sons dressed in riot gear—as in the Kiev protests in 2014—testifies to this irony. (During the Chechen wars in the late ’90s, there was actually an organization working against the war called the Russian Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers.) We’re more familiar with this phenomenon from images of black police officers on the front line of demonstrations in black communities, most recently in Baltimore, New York and Chicago.

I say these things because they seem to me to be obvious. And yet they are rarely said. We live in a society that makes no sense, but that we are not allowed to criticize. That makes delusion a requirement of citizenship: first a brainwashing, then freedom of speech.
Where does all of this leave us? It leaves us with the laughable democracy of the oligarchs, the best democracy money can buy.

salon

PUBLIC SERVANTS:

53 comments:

  1. DISCLAIMER

    Readers from Upper Buttocks, Idaho are not expected to understand this with a single reading. Please watch the video first. Management is not responsible for anything.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's Upper Butte, Idaho, which the foreigners always get wrong by saying Up Yer Butt, Idaho.

      Quirk did this once, and got snowballed to hell as a result.

      It was winter.

      Seeing George Carlin on board I skipped most of the post, except noticed someone praising the Nordic System.

      I thought that was a work out device.

      If the reference is to a system of Nordic Princes without any desert n****rs around I'll go for that.

      Right now I'm going to the Casino.

      Wish me luck !

      Cheers !!

      Delete
  2. That would be an interesting election: The Socialist, and the Sociopath.

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    1. so·ci·o·path
      ˈsōsēōˌpaTH/Submit
      noun
      a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

      "A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.
      "A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.
      "The man and woman get dressed up on Sunday — and go to Church, or maybe to their 'revolutionary' political meeting.
      "Have you ever looked at the Stag, Man, Hero, Tough magazines on the shelf of your local bookstore? Do you know why the newspaper with the articles like 'Girl 12 raped by 14 men' sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?"


      That's Mr Sanders take on gender roles.....

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    2. http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/05/29/410606045/the-bernie-sanders-rape-fantasy-essay-explained

      Delete
    3. ,

      And his hair looks terrible when he walks across a carpet. He has said if he wins the nomination there will be no baloons allowed at the convention.

      I heard someone remark the other day that they hadn't seen hair that white since they caught sight of Madonna getting out of a limousine.

      .

      Delete
    4. .

      There will be no balloons allowed either.

      .

      Delete
    5. ‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›Sat Jan 30, 09:20:00 PM EST

      And no buffoons like you, either, who can't spel gud.

      Delete
  3. Of course, the truth is that this is now a slightly left-of-center country, and the slightly left of center candidate (let's call her a "Social-Corporatist") is the strong favorite to win.

    Predictwise

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    1. .

      A social-corporatist?

      What does that mean, that she likes to hang around with 'big money' elites?

      .

      Delete
    2. Of course; she Is a "big money elite."

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    3. .

      Social has a number of meanings. Just wanted to make sure we were talking about the same one.

      .

      Delete
    4. Okay, I didn't catch the snark.

      She's very much a Capitalist - but, one that will try to affect a couple of incremental changes to social programs (e.g. lowering deductible costs for Obamacare, or closing the "gender wage gap.")

      Delete
    5. How about a "slightly evolved on gay rights" Bill Clinton? :)

      Ya gotta admit, the Clinton Administration was Not the worst of times.

      Delete
    6. .

      I do admit that.

      Sadly, given the people we have running right now on both tickets, there may a time when I am forced to admit the same about Obama.

      Everything is relative. Unfortunately, IMO, in a downward spiral.

      .

      Delete
    7. ‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›Sat Jan 30, 09:23:00 PM EST

      A social corporatist is a fascist

      See:

      Mussolini

      Delete
  4. .

    For most of my adult life (at least the part where I actually thought about such things), I just assumed though you had a population in this country that was committed to ideas and principles of the right and another that was committed those of the left, that it was actually the centrists in the middle that swung elections. And perhaps there was a time when this was true. The growing number of people who self-identified as independents reinforced that belief. However, IMO, it seems to have changed and the continuing polarization now only leaves hard right and hard left.

    I saw study results in an article recently that confirmed this impression. It ask respondents questions to determine their political orientation, conservative, liberal, or independent. Then they went further asking questions to determine if people had identified properly. What they found was that though many people identified as 'independent' for whatever reason, the majority of these independents has a strong predisposition on the issues towards either left or right ad that they were likely to act on that predisposition when voting.

    Too bad.

    .

    ReplyDelete
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    1. ‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›Sat Jan 30, 09:25:00 PM EST

      "For most of my adult life (at least the part where I actually thought about such things)"

      How many months was that ?

      Delete
  5. .

    Speaking of Social Democrats...

    After I Lived in Norway, America Felt Backward. Here’s Why.

    A crash course in social democracy.

    After reporting on American wars for a few years, the author moved from Afghanistan to Norway. At a certain point, she reports...

    Four years on, thinking I should settle down, I returned to the United States. It felt quite a lot like stepping back into that other violent, impoverished world, where anxiety runs high and people are quarrelsome. I had, in fact, come back to the flip side of Afghanistan and Iraq: to what America’s wars have done to America. Where I live now, in the homeland, there are not enough shelters for the homeless. Most people are either overworked or hurting for jobs; the housing is overpriced, the hospitals crowded and understaffed, the schools largely segregated and not so good. Opioid or heroin overdose is a popular form of death, and men in the street threaten women wearing hijabs. Did the American soldiers I covered in Afghanistan know they were fighting for this?

    Ducking the Subject


    One night I tuned in to the Democrats’ presidential debate to see if they had any plans to restore the America I used to know. To my amazement, I heard the name of my peaceful mountain hideaway: Norway. Bernie Sanders was denouncing America’s crooked version of “casino capitalism” that floats the already-rich ever higher and flushes the working class. He said that we ought to “look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.”

    (Save the Children)

    He believes, he added, in “a society where all people do well. Not just a handful of billionaires.” That certainly sounds like Norway. For ages, they’ve worked at producing things for the use of everyone—not the profit of a few—so I was all ears, waiting for Sanders to spell it out for Americans.

    But Hillary Clinton quickly countered, “We are not Denmark.” Smiling, she said, “I love Denmark,” and then delivered a patriotic punch line: “We are the United States of America.” (Well, there’s no denying that.) She also praised capitalism and “all the small businesses that were started because we have the opportunity and the freedom in our country for people to do that and to make a good living for themselves and their families.” She didn’t seem to know that Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians do that too, and with much higher rates of success.

    The truth is that almost a quarter of American start-ups are not founded on brilliant new ideas, but on the desperation of men or women who can’t get a decent job. The majority of all American enterprises are solo ventures having zero payrolls, employing no one but the entrepreneur, and often quickly wasting away. Sanders said that he was all for small business too, but that meant nothing “if all of the new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent.” (As George Carlin said, “The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.”)

    In that debate, no more was heard of Denmark, Sweden, or Norway. The audience was left in the dark. Later, in a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, Sanders tried to clarify his identity as a democratic socialist. He said he’s not the kind of socialist (with a capital S) who favors state ownership of the means of production. The Norwegian government, on the other hand, owns the means of producing lots of public assets and is the major stockholder in many a vital private enterprise.

    I was dumbfounded. Norway, Denmark, and Sweden practice variations of a system that works much better than ours. Yet even the Democratic presidential candidates, who say they love or want to learn from those countries, don’t seem know how they actually work...


    The article goes on.

    .

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    1. {...}

      Differences

       Why We’re Not Denmark


      Proof that they do work is delivered every year in data-rich evaluations by the United Nations and other international bodies. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s annual report on international well-being, for example, measures 11 factors, ranging from material conditions such as affordable housing and employment to quality-of-life matters like education, health, life expectancy, voter participation, and overall citizen satisfaction. Year after year, all the Nordic countries cluster at the top, while the United States lags far behind. In addition, Norway has ranked first on the UN Development Program’s Human Development Index for 12 of the last 15 years, and it consistently tops international comparisons in such areas as democracy, civil and political rights, and freedom of expression and the press.

      The Nordic model starts with a deep commitment to equality and democracy, because you can’t have one without the other.

      What is it, though, that makes the Scandinavians so different? Since the Democrats can’t tell you and the Republicans wouldn’t want you to know, let me offer you a quick introduction. What Scandinavians call the Nordic model is a smart and simple system that starts with a deep commitment to equality and democracy. That’s two concepts combined in a single goal because, as far as they’re concerned, you can’t have one without the other.

      Right there, they part company with capitalist America, now the most unequal of all the developed nations, and consequently a democracy no more. Political scientists say it has become an oligarchy, run at the expense of its citizenry by and for the superrich. Perhaps you’ve noticed that.
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      In the last century, Scandinavians, aiming for their egalitarian goal, refused to settle solely for any of the ideologies competing for power—not capitalism or fascism, not Marxist socialism or communism. Geographically stuck between powerful nations waging hot and cold wars for such doctrines, Scandinavians set out to find a middle path. That path was contested—by socialist-inspired workers on the one hand, and by capitalist owners and their elite cronies on the other—but in the end, it led to a mixed economy. Thanks largely to the solidarity and savvy of organized labor and the political parties it backed, the long struggle produced a system that makes capitalism more or less cooperative, and then redistributes equitably the wealth it helps to produce. Struggles like this took place around the world in the 20th century, but the Scandinavians alone managed to combine the best ideas of both camps while chucking out the worst.

      In 1936, the popular US journalist Marquis Childs first described the result to Americans in the book Sweden: The Middle Way. Since then, all the Scandinavian countries, and their Nordic neighbors Finland and Iceland, have been improving upon that hybrid system. Today in Norway, negotiations between the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise determine the wages and working conditions of most capitalist enterprises, public and private, that create wealth, while high but fair progressive income taxes fund the state’s universal welfare system, benefiting everyone. In addition, those confederations work together to minimize the disparity between high-wage and lower-wage jobs. As a result, Norway ranks with Sweden, Denmark, and Finland as among the most income-equal countries in the world, and its standard of living tops the charts...


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    2. The Big Difference

      So here’s the big difference: In Norway, capitalism serves the people. The government, elected by the people, sees to that. All eight of the parties that won parliamentary seats in the last national election—including the conservative Høyre party now leading the government—are committed to maintaining the welfare state. In the United States, however, neoliberal politics puts the foxes in charge of the henhouse, and capitalists have used the wealth generated by their enterprises (as well as financial and political manipulations) to capture the state and pluck the chickens.

      They’ve done a masterful job of chewing up organized labor. Today, only 11 percent of American workers belong to a union. In Norway, that number is 52 percent; in Denmark, 67 percent; in Sweden, 70 percent. Thus, in the United States, oligarchs maximize their wealth and keep it, using the “democratically elected” government to shape policies and laws favorable to the interests of their foxy class. They bamboozle the people by insisting, as Hillary Clinton did at that debate, that all of us have the “freedom” to create a business in the “free” marketplace, which implies that being hard up is our own fault.

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      In the Nordic countries, on the other hand, democratically elected governments give their populations freedom from the market by using capitalism as a tool to benefit everyone. That liberates their people from the tyranny of the mighty profit motive that warps so many American lives, leaving them freer to follow their own dreams—to become poets or philosophers, bartenders or business owners, as they please...


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    3. {...}

      Family Matters


      Maybe our politicians don’t want to talk about the Nordic model because it shows so clearly that capitalism can be put to work for the many, not just the few.

      Consider the Norwegian welfare state. It’s universal. In other words, aid to the sick or the elderly is not charity, grudgingly donated by elites to those in need. It is the right of every individual citizen. That includes every woman, whether or not she is somebody’s wife, and every child, no matter its parentage. Treating every person as a citizen frees each one from being legally possessed by another—a husband, for example, or a tyrannical father.

      Which brings us to the heart of Scandinavian democracy: the equality of women and men. In the 1970s, Norwegian feminists marched into politics and picked up the pace of democratic change. Norway needed a larger labor force, and women were the answer. Housewives moved into paid work on equal footing with men, nearly doubling the tax base. That has, in fact, meant more to Norwegian prosperity than the coincidental discovery of North Atlantic oil reserves. The Ministry of Finance recently calculated that those additional working mothers add to Norway’s net national wealth a value equivalent to its “total petroleum wealth”—currently held in the world’s largest sovereign-wealth fund, worth over $873 billion. By 1981, women were sitting in parliament, in the prime minister’s chair, and in her cabinet.

      American feminists also marched for such goals in the 1970s, but the big boys, busy with their own White House intrigues, initiated a war on women that set the country back and still rages today in brutal attacks on women’s basic civil rights, healthcare, and reproductive freedom. In 1971, thanks to the hard work of organized feminists, Congress passed the bipartisan Comprehensive Child Development Bill to establish a multibillion-dollar national daycare system for the children of working parents. In 1972, President Richard Nixon vetoed it, and that was that. In 1972, Congress also passed a bill (first proposed in 1923) to amend the Constitution to grant equal rights of citizenship to women. Ratified by only 35 states—three short of the required 38—that Equal Rights Amendment was declared dead in 1982, leaving American women in legal limbo. In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, obliterating six decades of US social-welfare policy “as we know it,” ending federal cash payments to the nation’s poor, and consigning millions of female heads of household and their children to poverty, where many still dwell 20 years later. Today, even privileged women, torn between their underpaid work and their kids, are overwhelmed.

      Things happened very differently in Norway. There, feminists and sociologists pushed hard against the biggest obstacle still standing in the path to full democracy: the nuclear family. In the 1950s, the world-famous American sociologist Talcott Parsons had pronounced that arrangement—with the hubby at work and the little wife at home—the ideal setup in which to socialize children. But in the 1970s, the Norwegian state began to deconstruct that undemocratic ideal by taking upon itself the traditional, unpaid household duties of women. Caring for children, the elderly, the sick, and the disabled became the basic responsibilities of the universal welfare state, freeing women in the workforce to enjoy both their jobs and their families.


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       Paradoxically, setting women free made family life more genuine. Many in Norway say it has made both men and women more themselves and more alike: more understanding and happier. It also helped kids slip from the shadow of helicopter parents. In Norway, both mother and father in turn take paid parental leave from work during the child’s first year or longer. At age 1, however, children start attending a neighborhood barnehage (kindergarten) for schooling spent largely outdoors. By the time kids enter free primary school at age 6, they are remarkably self-sufficient, confident, and good-natured. They know their way around town, and if caught in a snowstorm in the forest, how to build a fire and find the makings of a meal. (One kindergarten teacher explained, “We teach them early to use an ax so they understand it’s a tool, not a weapon.”)

      To Americans, the notion of a school “taking away” your child to make her an ax wielder is monstrous. Yet though it’s hard to measure, it’s likely that Scandinavian children actually spend more quality time with their non-work-obsessed parents than does a typical middle-class American child being driven by a stressed-out mother from music lessons to karate. For all these reasons and more, the international organization Save the Children cites Norway as the best country on earth in which to raise kids, while the United States finishes far down the list, in 33rd place.
      Don’t Take My Word for It


      This little summary just scratches the surface of Scandinavia, so I urge curious readers to Google away. But be forewarned: You’ll find much criticism of all the Nordic-model countries. Worse, neoliberal pundits, especially the Brits, are always beating up on the Scandinavians, predicting the imminent demise of their social democracies. Self-styled experts still in thrall to Margaret Thatcher tell Norwegians they must liberalize their economy and privatize everything short of the royal palace. Mostly, the Norwegian government does the opposite—or nothing at all—and social democracy keeps on ticking.

      It’s not perfect, of course. It has always been a carefully considered work in progress. Governance by consensus takes time and effort. You might think of it as slow democracy. Even so, it’s light-years ahead of us.



      Obviously, there are a number of things you can criticize in the Nordic system; however, that doesn't mean we should reject the good.

      .

      Delete
    6. It's hard for the plutocrats to play "Divide and Conquer" against a homogeneous population.

      Delete
    7. Washington Post - ‎

      - Up to 100 masked men threatened to attack refugee children in central Stockholm on Friday, according to local police accounts.

      Delete
  6. .

    The United States Should Admit It No Longer Has a Middle East Policy

    This conclusion sounds vaguely familiar.

    ...whoops. Foreign Policy sucks if you are trying to copy anything there. If you click on the site, I was trying to copy the last few paragraphs.

    .

    Sounds promising, doesn’t it? The Middle East is shifting before our very eyes, and the old verities of U.S. policy no longer apply. Our most potent tools of influence are of little value, and our strategic interest in the region is declining. And none of our current allies there deserve unconditional support on moral grounds either.

    You’d think this situation would elicit a lively debate on U.S. strategy in the region, and the 2016 election would seem to be a perfect opportunity for one. But if history is any guide, the last thing you’ll see in this election is a serious discussion of U.S. Middle East policy. Instead, the candidates will just reiterate the need for strong U.S. “leadership” (whatever that means), try to outdo each other in declaring their deep love for Israel, and hype the threat from the Islamic State. Sadly, when one of them finally takes office in January 2017, they‘ll have no idea what to do in this part of the world.

    Well, here’s a radical thought: If the strategic importance of a region is declining, if none of the local actors deserve unvarnished U.S. backing, if our best efforts make both friends and foes angry at us, then maybe — just maybe — the United States ought to stop trying to fix problems that it has neither the wisdom nor the will to address. In the end, the fate of the Middle East is going to be determined by the people who live there and not by us, though we might be able to play a constructive role on occasion. And the sooner Americans recognize that they’re better off coaching from the sidelines, instead of getting bloodied on the field, the better off they’ll be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      Well, I guess I was able to copy part of it.

      Well, here’s a radical thought: If the strategic importance of a region is declining, if none of the local actors deserve unvarnished U.S. backing, if our best efforts make both friends and foes angry at us, then maybe — just maybe — the United States ought to stop trying to fix problems that it has neither the wisdom nor the will to address. In the end, the fate of the Middle East is going to be determined by the people who live there and not by us, though we might be able to play a constructive role on occasion. And the sooner Americans recognize that they’re better off coaching from the sidelines, instead of getting bloodied on the field, the better off they’ll be.

      .

      Delete
    2. Yep, the US can provide some aid, economic and military to those that would support US national interests.

      Providing close air support, but not 'boots on the ground'.
      Unfortunately, in Iraq the President is increasing the US military footprint, without authorization from Congress.

      The President is still using the 13SEP01 AUMF, it certainly becomes disheartening to see US follow ourselves down that rabbit hole, one more time.

      Delete
    3. Eh, they're just advisors/trainers. :)

      Delete
    4. I think Obomb'em would really like to retake Mosul on or about, say, . . . . October. :)

      Delete
    5. ... it certainly becomes disheartening to see US follow ourselves down that rabbit hole, one more time.


      [;-)

      Delete
    6. O'bozo should be forced to get in their and retake it personally.

      He was the one that threw it away.

      He can certainly do it.

      After all, he claimed "I got Osama".

      Our President, Mr I I I I I I I I I I,I,I,I,I

      Sometimes that asshole even slips into the Royal "WE"

      Only one more year.....

      Delete
    7. ‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›Sat Jan 30, 09:48:00 PM EST

      There, dumbshit.

      You cain't spel gud.

      Delete
  7. Deuce's guy -'enough with the damn emails already'- just doesn't 'get' it --

    January 30, 2016

    No, Bernie: The State Department emails are not 'personal'; they are 'national'

    By James Longstreet


    Sometimes I just don’t understand how the liberal mind works. What side of the brain are they using? Either?

    Bernie Sanders, in a effort to be above the fray, to be the shining knight in a mud-slinging contest, has gone so far in an attempt to be “correct” that he completely misses the issue. We see this often from liberals. It is their trademark.





    In a video (1:35 mark) and in numerous subsequent instances, Bernie has referred to the State Department emails, and even the Benghazi issues, as being “personal” in nature and thus off limits to his “high road” approach.



    Bernie, if you want to attack Hillary for her pantsuits or her husband’s behavior, that might be “personal.” But when email security involving the nation’s State Department, emails that contain classified and top-secret information is slovenly channeled through an unsecured server for that person’s convenience, it becomes a “national” issue. The personal portion is removed.

    There is a reason for classifications such as “top secret.” Why can’t the importance of that be recognized by the left?

    Wake up, Bernie. Decisions like this disqualify you from any further decision-making involving national security. You just don’t get it. But that seems symptomatic of your ilk. Emotion governs; pragmatism and reality take a seat.

    The then secretary of state, for her convenience, established official communication not by the normal channels, but through her personal server. The bad guys – and yes, there are bad guys – could read classified and top-secret communications as easily as a man picking up a magazine in a barbershop.

    Bernie, you attempt to distinguish yourself by running a campaign that stays away from personal attacks. But in so doing, you have distinguished yourself as one who can’t tell the difference between a personal issue and one of national security. By attempting to be correct, you have become glaringly incorrect and displayed your low regard for national security. But when you don’t like the nation, why bother with its security? Right.


    Sometimes I just don’t understand how the liberal mind works. What side of the brain are they using? Either?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bernie Sanders, in a effort to be above the fray, to be the shining knight in a mud-slinging contest, has gone so far in an attempt to be “correct” that he completely misses the issue. We see this often from liberals. It is their trademark.

      In a video (1:35 mark) and in numerous subsequent instances, Bernie has referred to the State Department emails, and even the Benghazi issues, as being “personal” in nature and thus off limits to his “high road” approach.



      Bernie, if you want to attack Hillary for her pantsuits or her husband’s behavior, that might be “personal.” But when email security involving the nation’s State Department, emails that contain classified and top-secret information is slovenly channeled through an unsecured server for that person’s convenience, it becomes a “national” issue. The personal portion is removed.

      There is a reason for classifications such as “top secret.” Why can’t the importance of that be recognized by the left?

      Wake up, Bernie. Decisions like this disqualify you from any further decision-making involving national security. You just don’t get it. But that seems symptomatic of your ilk. Emotion governs; pragmatism and reality take a seat.

      The then secretary of state, for her convenience, established official communication not by the normal channels, but through her personal server. The bad guys – and yes, there are bad guys – could read classified and top-secret communications as easily as a man picking up a magazine in a barbershop.

      Bernie, you attempt to distinguish yourself by running a campaign that stays away from personal attacks. But in so doing, you have distinguished yourself as one who can’t tell the difference between a personal issue and one of national security. By attempting to be correct, you have become glaringly incorrect and displayed your low regard for national security. But when you don’t like the nation, why bother with its security? Right.


      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/01/no_bernie_the_state_department_emails_are_not_personal_they_are_national.html#ixzz3ymkzkaRb

      Delete
    2. Bernie is a threat to the security of us all.

      Delete
    3. Yes, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, we all know the story.

      Either the FBI will recommend an indictment, or it will not.

      If the FBI does so, then the Justice Dept will either indict, or it will not.

      Then, if Justice does not indict, the Director of the FBI and other will resign ...
      Or they will not.

      If The FBI does not recommend an indictment, the story ends.
      If the do, and Justice does not indict and there are no FBI resignation, the story ends.

      If she is indicted, then either Bernie or Joe Biden or Jerry Brown will match up against Trump, in November...

      As of now, the story is "old news"

      Delete
    4. Could be they bring John Kerry back

      The battle of the oligarchy, Trump vs Kerry.
      Billions of private money in both families.

      Better for the Dems if it be Bernie, he'd likely win over Trump.

      Delete
    5. ‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›Sat Jan 30, 09:54:00 PM EST

      What the fuck are you talking about, Dead Beat Dad ?

      Bob was talking about Bernie, and how he doesn't know shit, or give a shit for anything other than his 19th Century economic fantasies.

      In many ways Bernie is just like you....always dealing in fantasies.

      How is the project off the coasts of Panama going, DBD ?

      You know, the one you are partnering on with the NSA, CIA, Defense ?

      Delete
    6. The Billionaire v the Common Man

      Trump has real high negatives according to Gallop, currently a 60% unfavorable rating
      Bernie not so much, 62% see him favorably to 30% with a negative opinion.

      Delete
    7. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson did not write, oay a single thing.
      All he did was cut and paste someone elses work.

      That was what was being commented upon, not anything Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson did not say, or write.

      Delete
    8. As For Bernie not wanting to discuss the FBI investigation, well, he does not talk out his ass about things he has no special knowledge of

      He may well be waiting, as are we all, for the results of the investigation.
      He has no need to jump to conclusions, as Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson seems to have.

      Delete
    9. Nice try but no cigar, Dead Beat Dad.

      "Bernie is a threat to the security of us all."

      Now, go back to your basement, DBD.
      ********


      January 30, 2016

      Josh Earnest may have gotten himself in a whole heap of trouble with comments on Hillary email scandal

      By Thomas Lifson


      The oleaginous White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, was trying to dampen down any concern over the news that 22 emails on Hillary Clinton’s server were so sensitive that nothing at all could be released. But instead, he opened a can of worms that will make things worse and could even lead to a subpoena (and no doubt a claim of executive privilege. Boy, I am starting to get a severe case of Watergate déjà vu.).

      First, the question and statement, via the Weekly Standard:






      A [Fox News] reporter [Kevin Corke] asked, "Can you say with certainty and confidence that Secretary Clinton will not be indicted because of this email scandal?"

      "That will be a decision made by the Department of Justice and prosecutors over there," said Earnest. "What I know that some officials over there have said is that she is not a target of the investigation. So that does not seem to be the direction that it's trending. But I'm certainly not going to weigh in on a decision or in that process in any way. That is a decision to be made solely by independent prosecutors but again, based on what we know from the Department of Justice, it does not seem to be headed in that direction."



      There are two very big dangers here.

      It would be entirely improper for the White House to be in communication with the Justice Department over an ongoing criminal investigation. This would constitute political interference. A congressional committee could well issue a subpoena for Earnest, which would raise the Watergate flag when executive privilege likely would be claimed.

      Second, this claim is likely to infuriate the FBI and those DoJ prosecutors with integrity. The normally staid ace reporter Catherine Herridge used the expression “super pissed off” to describe it to Greta Van Susteren. Via Gateway Pundit:


      That statement by Josh Earnest has got the back up of our contacts at the FBI and Justice Department for two reasons… They are SUPER PISSED OFF to use a technical term. Number one, Josh Earnest has absolutely no clearance or visibility in the FBI investigation. Number two, they say it really seems part of a troubling pattern from the White House because the president earlier said he did not see any national security implications to the Clinton emails and then we found out he had never been briefed.



      Herridge’s series of scoops indicates she has good sources. If she is calling them pissed off, they are livid.


      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/01/josh_earnest_may_have_gotten_himself_in_a_whole_heap_of_trouble_with_comments_on_hillary_email_scandal.html#ixzz3ymrxwdb6

      Oleaginous is the perfect word to describe that sleezeoid Josh Ernest. I can imagine Quirk describing him thus.



      BIG EVENT DRAWING FOR 10 GRAND IN TWO HOURS.....

      tata

      Cheers !

      Delete
  8. I still think Gary Johnson would make the best President.
    Hope he gets the nomination.

    He'd be a real "Game Changer"
    https://www.garyjohnson2016.com/

    ReplyDelete
  9. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson made his 'security' remark while I was formulating my response to his cut and paste.
    After I saw it, well, that is what prompted the post concerning the GOP front runners negative rating, more than double Bernie's.

    Once again Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson is an outlier.

    To bad, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson is so out of step with the US citizenry, must be his continual reliance upon the "American Stinker" for his talking points

    ReplyDelete
  10. Those 22 emails were not classified when they hit Hillary's server. Only when they were ready to be released did someone at, probably, CIA decide that they should be made classified, and ask that they not be made public.

    Same ol', same ol'.

    Ann Selzer, the Iowa Polling 'Gold Standard', just released a poll that was in the field on Friday Night, and found that none of the Iowa voters were much interested in it.

    In fact, Hillary appears to have picked up a point, or two, in the last couple of days (it's still much to close to call - the Iowa caucus system is the hardest vote to count, anywhere.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. According to some folks, the very fact that the Secretary of State used a personal server was a violation of the law.
      That whether or not she knew the contents of the documents were classified matters not.
      That through her negligence, not using the .gov servers, she violated the Espionage Act.

      As I said, the FBI is investigating and very few folks know what the outcome of that investigation may be. Regardless of what Tom DeLay or Mr Issa may say.

      Time will tell, but it is certainly no knock on Bernie that he does not speak out his ass about it.

      Delete
    2. It only becomes an issue if she is indicted, or the Director of the FBI and many of his staff resign over the lack of an indictment.

      If neither of those things occur, the issue will be a dead horse that no amount of whipping will bring to life.

      Delete
    3. Without an indictment or mass resignation the e-mail story will play like Benghazi, few folks care what went on there.
      To illustrate the lack of interest, even with all the hype, the movie "13 Hours" has only grossed $36 million. This is not bad for a "B" movie, but far below Michael Bay's best work.

      Delete
  11. .

    Official Secrets is a new movie coming out that talks of Katherine Gun.

    ...Gun was a young Mandarin specialist at the British government’s eavesdropping agency in Cheltenham. In early 2003 she received an email asking her and her colleagues to help the US government spy on UN security council delegations in New York. It was a critical moment, as Washington was seeking UN backing for its invasion of Iraq.
    Sign up to our Film Today email
    Read more

    Gun decided the world had to know, whatever the cost to her life and career. She leaked the memo to the Observer and was arrested, lost her job and faced trial under the Official Secrets Act...


    http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jan/31/katharine-gun-observer-iraq-war-whistleblower-hollywood-film-official-secrets


    It's always good to go back and remember some of the bs that occurred in the lead-up to the Iraq war.

    Just as bad is what happened during the war. In checking on the surge for a recent post, I went to Google to verify when it started (January, 2007). I found it at this site...

    http://thinkprogress.org/report/iraq-timeline/#2007

    Deuce you might want to look through the Think Progress site in the link above and go to 2007.

    The site lists key events during the Iraq War. 2007 is an especially interesting year because of the things going on at that time. One of the bloodiest years in the war, 2007 included the surge, the beginning of the Anbar Awakening, negotiations on the SOFA, pressures on Bush at home from Congress and the American people.

    .

    ReplyDelete