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It isn't about changing which party wins elections. It is about changing the corrupt party system, which stretches an electoral farce across the facade of corporate domination in the hope that no one will notice who rules.
Matt Taibbi sums it up:
Most likely, it’ll be Mitt Romney versus Barack Obama, meaning the voters’ choices in the midst of a massive global economic crisis brought on in large part by corruption in the financial services industry will be a private equity parasite who has been a lifelong champion of the Gordon Gekko Greed-is-Good ethos (Romney), versus a paper progressive who in 2008 took, by himself, more money from Wall Street than any two previous presidential candidates, and in the four years since has showered Wall Street with bailouts while failing to push even one successful corruption prosecution (Obama).
If the choice is between two candidates of the 1%, then the outcome doesn't really matter. The only way to challenge power is to refuse to participate in the fraud and to contest the basic terms of the process, to refuse to be governed by the capitalist class.
The triumph of ideology: around the world — Egypt, Syria, Chile, etc — people are standing up to state power to demand freedom, often facing not just rough arrests but bullets and imprisonment, and what is happening here? Just a couple of years after Wall Street speculation and fraud nearly crashed the global economy, millions of Americans are thinking of voting for Mitt Romney, corporate raider.
Oh, how I wish I had written this. Well, James Wolcott I'm not:
One reason I’m such a wayward prognosticator of rightwing trends is that I’m incapable of blacking out enough neural sectors to see the world through reptilian-brained eyes, a prerequisite for any true channeling of the mean resentments and implanted fears that drive hardcore conservatives. I also make the mistake of believing that they believe what they profess to believe, which they clearly don’t, otherwise they wouldn’t be inclining to crown Newt king of the marsh. That a thrice-married Catholic convert with a history of marital infidelity would win the flinty hearts of Tea Partiers while true evangelicals such as Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry would find themselves standing on the platform as the train whooshes by, abandoned and bewildered--well, go figure. That a third-rate futurist spieler who rides every wave of pop guru bullshit and management theory would appeal to those who pride themselves on their unyielding, unchanging bedrock values also falls into the “does not compute” category. To most of us, Newt Gingrich has the mothball mustiness of a has-been who peaked with the “Contract with America,” fell from grace with the House Republicans he led, and has fed his ego and bank balance ever since.
And, the quote of the day:
The Republican field reflects the weak-minded, strong-willed prejudices of its base, hooked up to Fox News as if it were an IV drip.
This essay by Naomi Wolf at the Guardian is perhaps the most important thing said so far about the Occupy movement. Consider:
So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.
The real system of power is being exposed. Both Republican and Democratic elected officials work for the 1%. Both. We have two flavors of the Chamber of Commerce Party. And if working people unite to oppose corporate oppression, then elected officials of both parties — both — will authorize state violence against peaceful citizens exercising free speech and assembly in public. Republicans and Democrats are both part of the problem, not the solution.
Make no mistake: this is a conflict between the world's owners and the rest of us.
In reflecting on this Veterans Day, it occurs to me that one of the most important differences between the left and the right in American these days is that conservatives worship violence, real and imagined—everything from fantasies about killing civil servants or elected officials, to bullying, to wars of choice. That isn't just a spectacularly wrong attitude, it is pathological.
And since defending such an attitude usually involves shameless lying in public, it is doubly pathological.
I have hope that the Occupy movement marks a turning point for us as a nation, that we are on the way to recovering our humanity.
I dread to think of the alternative.
The dude reeks of plutocracy: Bloomberg says blame Congress for the mortgage crisis.
This is where the true talent is: Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg outsmarted at every turn by smelly, unemployed, directionless kids.
Both political parties today are little more than bagmen for Big Business, of course, but Republicans do provide a little value added to the Wall Street crime syndicate. They are true believers that the world belongs to the 1%.
I'm reminded of this reading an interesting account of Mitt Romney's days as a corporate raider. I'm old enough to remember a time when people expected to have careers with one company — both working- and middle-class workers, in the office and on the factory floor. But the "shareholder value" revolution that Romney participated in as a corporate raider shifted the priority of American business from stability, which had some value to workers, to short-term growth, which was good only for speculators.
This is the economy we have today. CEOs making hundreds of times more than the average worker; jobs exported to the most exploitative global labor markets; in short, a numbers game for the biggest high-rollers. Mitt Romney helped to bring it about. We need to remember that as he campaigns to be our next President.
This is a transformative moment. This is global. Despite the police, and despite the banks, and despite the elected officials, the 99 percent have declared that we will no longer consent to be governed by the capitalist class.
From the London protest, the truth:
That is what this movement is about. ‘From the public square, to the factory floor, to those huge, undemocratic international institutions – it is about handing over not just wealth but real control to you and me and all of us, the 99 per cent,’ said Zoe in London.
To the 1 percent I say: You haven't got enough room in your prisons for all of us. We're coming for you.
It was energizing. Let's build on it. Take to the streets. We will destroy neoliberalism. It is only a matter of time. Capitalist class, we are coming for you.
(I marched for a while with the Wobs -- best people on the planet.)
Just wasted a few hours trying to upgrade to Drupal 7.x — it was a disaster! I must have deleted a directory that I shouldn't have in the process. I started to create the site anew using a new database, but I hated the admin interface in 7, so I figured the best solution was just to step back to the most recent version of 6.
So, basically, three hours lost and very little accomplished.
Excellent takedown of the NCAA, the most corrupt institution in America*:
For all the outrage, the real scandal is not that students are getting illegally paid or recruited, it’s that two of the noble principles on which the NCAA justifies its existence—“amateurism” and the “student-athlete”—are cynical hoaxes, legalistic confections propagated by the universities so they can exploit the skills and fame of young athletes. The tragedy at the heart of college sports is not that some college athletes are getting paid, but that more of them are not.
The fundamental principle here is that exploitation of labor is always wrong. Universities are exploiting athletes by pretending that, in the big money sports at least, they are "student-athletes"; they are not; they are workers in the sports entertainment industry. As someone said, the only amateurs in college sports are the athletes. No surprise that college administrators (and the ex-administrators that run the NCAA) talk integrity while continuing to cash the checks.
* Considering how corrupt our government is, that is saying a lot.
Gene Lyons takes a pin to the President Rick Perry balloon:
Texanism is basically the John Birch Society in a cowboy hat.
We've seen this before, and it is just as crazy as it ever was. Fanatics have taken over the GOP and careerists control the Democrats. No wonder our politics is broken.
One party wants, as Lyons puts it, "tycoon economics and Deep South authoritarianism" and the other tells us there is no point in hoping for anything else. We deserve better.
So, it seems that both Muslim fundamentalists and Republican war criminals (and their supporters)* want to claim credit for the "Arab Spring." The former say it was a consequence of the September 11 attack. The latter say it was the result of the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq.
Two examples of how the extremist mind works. Both claims are, of course, nothing but the fevered fantasies of fanatics. The world would be better off without warmongers or terrorists.
* I saw a program on BBC World News, a debate about the wisdom of the Iraq War, in which the Republican war apologist made this claim explicitly. (It might have been on CNN International. I was in Geneva and didn't write it down.)
This bit is in Riley's favor:
Maybe Rick Perry is 8% worse than Romney, and 15% worse than Obama; if I had a serious alternative I'd be donating money to the cause. When we fuck up Social Security, Medicare, reproductive rights, the public schools--that is, when we fuck them up to Republican standards, not just Democratic Bargaining Position standards--and arm every citizen so we can gun down anyone who doesn't Pray in school, I'm not going to panic. I'm going to watch, and try to enjoy, as much as possible, as the slow dawning of what they've accomplished seeps over the Republican rank and file, aka the rightward part of the new permanent Serf class. We've had thirty years to wake up from this shit now. The continued slumber is not due to lack of evidence.
We have the power to stop this political clusterfuck, but we lack the training and the will to grow up. There will always be politicians (and wannabe politicians) who tell us we can have our cake and eat it too — Sarah Palin speaks out in Iowa against corporate capitalism run amok! — the only question is whether or not we have the courage and the wisdom to think. Like Doghouse, I'm not optimistic that we've got it in us. We've surrendered the responsibility to think like adults for forty years. At some point the organ atrophies. Something tells me that we've long past that point.
The end is near.
Dahlia Lithwick spells it out concisely:
Dick Cheney is living proof that if we are not brave enough to enforce our laws, we will forever be at the mercy of a handful of men.
The only quibble I have is the false implication that the U.S. has ever been a place with the courage to enforce laws equally. We have always been at the mercy of a few powerful sociopaths.
Looking back, it is clear that Obama's failure to enforce the rule of law was an indication of his true allegiance.
How will American civilization finally fall? The government will be handed over to fanatics and idiots:
So it’s now highly likely that the presidential candidate of one of our two major political parties will either be a man who believes what he wants to believe, even in the teeth of scientific evidence, or a man who pretends to believe whatever he thinks the party’s base wants him to believe.
So says Paul Krugman.
Forget the plans to build their fantasy-land on some floating island, these barbarians will turn all of American into their libertarian hellhole. Because they think feudalism was a good idea.
The Birchers'—er, I mean Tea Party's—self-creation myth is exposed by data:
Our analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party's "origin story." Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party's supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.
Let's start calling them what they are: fanatics and lunatics. (Who else would support a stupid, aggressive liar like Rick Perry? No one.)
And they're old-fashioned racists, too:
So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.
Michelle Goldberg explains the Dominionist influences on Bachmann and Perry. This is a pretty good indicator of how far to the right the GOP has slid in my lifetime. These people used to be regarded—rightly—as nutjobs by people across the political spectrum, every bit as crazy as the Birchers.
Well, now the Birchers and the fanatics run the party, and the could control the federal government soon. Government by religious extremists is never a good idea. It is time for sane people to wake up.
I don't get it. It isn't clear to me how some kids stealing plasma TVs is worse than bankers stealing tens of billions of dollars of public money.
Seumas Milne is puzzled too:
While bankers have publicly looted the country's wealth and got away with it, it's not hard to see why those who are locked out of the gravy train might think they were entitled to help themselves to a mobile phone.
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth. -- IWW
In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged. -- Bertrand Russell
Let us strangle the last king with the entrails of the last priest. -- Denis Diderot
It's not that no one sees the straight line to Doomtown we've been on since Reagan, it's that there's big profits in it. The most superficially Christian and Other-Worldly-Yearning nation in the developed world is the one most likely to kill you for your shoes. -- Doghouse Riley
The true purpose of education is to try to foster in students a kind of critical cosmopolitanism, such that they learn, among other things, to question any notion that one’s nation or tribe is favored by God or destiny. -- Michael Bérubé
It is not enough to decry the existence of the Spectacle. We intend to use both art and theory as a battering ram against Capitalism and its false opposition, tribalism, in all of its mystical forms. We believe it is possible to move beyond the inexcusable savagery of everyday life. -- The Anti-Naturals
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