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Am I the only one who saw the America "being reborn" diary and it immediately conjured up images from some scifi dystopian movie you probably only saw the trailer for? Like, "It Lives II - The Rebirth"

Well, if it didn't, it should have. Let me summarize that diary's main points:

1. America was never all that - there was no heyday.
2. Shit has sucked before and so it will again.
3. Not falling apart - being reborn, into what nobody knows.
4. But it's not that bad because 3D Printers can print solar panels.
5. We're in a great revolution, shift, change - reborn into what even the powerful don't know.
6. Now is the time to steer the direction of history, these are not end times, but interesting times - "Homosexual couples can get married in America. A Black man is President. We are world leaders in a reduction of CO2 emissions."
7 The world is changing, but the powerful will "push back."
8. They will appear insurmountable, until they aren't.
This evoked cries of Yay! from many commenters extolling the virtues of optimism. 'Things aren't as bad as that. And thank you for being positive for a change.'

One commenter even asked what hole all these pessimists crawled out of. "Progressives are supposed to be about progress. Leave the "we-can't" stuff to the other guys," he said.

I have long suspected that some on this site exist in some kind of shell, and when news or information that threatens or challenges their views gets posted, or even makes it to the Rec'd List, they simply ignore it.

And I will say now, I don't blame them. Reality is depressing. Who wants to sit around thinking about how earth is in its 6th mass extinction event, or how, at the current rate, the Amazon Rainforest will be wiped out before the end of the century greatly amplifying and feedbacking the effects of climate change, or how climate change is, according to a report (PDF) sponsored by the World Bank, moving us toward conditions that could be accuratelylikened to an apocalypse, or how the world is running out of fresh water and our aquifers are drying up, or how, as we speak, the Fukushima reactor in Japan is leaking untold amounts of radioactive water into the Pacific ocean, or how Obama and BP's solution to the Gulf oil spill actually made it much worse, or how the real unemployment rate is actually worse and continues to get worser still, or how the same economic "policies" that have devastated Detroit and other formerly industrial cities will be devastating your city soon enough, or how our schools have become pipelines to prisons, or how our corporate produced foods have become poisonous, etc etc etc.

I get it. This shit, like, totally harshes your buzz. So it's easy to turn away - especially when a lot of it is happening somewhere else or doesn't quite effect you personally yet (except for the tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, floods, snowpocalypses, epidemics of strange illnesses and other more normal ones like childhood asthma, health care bankruptcy, getting fired from your job, etc etc etc). So as long as we ignore all the things that are wrong, things look pretty fucking good. As one commenter in said diary said, compared to 2nd world countries, "We're in pretty good shape."

A lot of it depends on one's perspective. My inlaws paid about 1.5 mil. for their house. It's in a gated neighborhood with water sprinklers that keep the vast acres of grass green, even in some winter months. Things look super from there. No crime. Best public schools in the state. Roads perfectly paved.

It helps to put things in perspective. I guess.

Anyway, as for the "Reborn" diary, I just want to make a couple of corrections.

It is true, there was never a heyday when all was well in America. But utopian perfection has never defined what made up the US's heyday. Trajectory does.

1930s-1970s: That was America's heyday. Not because there weren't serious wrongs during that period. But because things were getting better. We were on a progressive trajectory, established by progressives. That trajectory began to change in the early 70s. Not because of some unknowable, great global shift revolution that is "all around us."

It began to change because a few assholes figured out how to rig the system and then went about doing it. It's not a mystery. And it's not a secret. They got together with all their right wing, billionaire buddies and coordinated a campaign to change the trajectory of this country.

Their plan was pretty simple. Work together and form big lobbying groups. Buy the government. Buy up all the mass media and get it away from all those bleeding hearted liberals. And impose their pro business agenda on every major university.

It ain't rocket science.

Muskegon Critic says that America isn't falling apart. He's right. It is being disassembled, piece by piece. The shifts that are occurring aren't a result of an inevitable force. We are not being swept up in some mystical wind of change.

We are simply under attack. And it's an attack that has been ongoing for decades.

The agenda of our attackers is also quite simple, once you get past the distractions. Their agenda is to transform America from the great society vision encapsulated in the New Deal, with a high paid labor class, widespread advanced education, the expectation of a strong social safety net, and tight government controls on big businesses to prevent the exploitation of workers, the pollution of the environment, and ensurance that those who benefit most from our society pay the most to maintain it.

In place of this, they want basically the opposite. They want a peasant labor class to exploit, to weaken government by corrupting and sabotaging our democratic institutions, unfettered access to our natural resources which, in any sane society would be consider our commonwealth, and no social safety net.

What big business figured out is that they need lots of poor people. The poorer a country is, the more corruptible it is, the more exploitable it is, the easier it is to pillage.

The kind of society that the New Deal began to create, was unacceptable to the  corrupt parasites of the ruling class. Suddenly you had this emerging labor class, middle class, and academic class that was uber-educated, pretty well informed, and getting smart enough to demand a more just, more equal, and better managed society. Some people call it the 60s. But it wasn't just a trend or an era. And it wasn't limited to hippies or university intellectuals. They were just the cutting edge of something entirely new: the ascendency of a new class in world history. An educated, empowered, financially secure, and politically activated lower class.

The world had really never seen that before, nowhere near on this scale. And all those smart people who used to be too insecure to complain, too ignorant to know what to complain about, and to alienated by the political process to act anyway, were now becoming a big problem. They had expectations of fairness, and the political power, through unions etc, to, to leverage those expectations. They were getting too uppity to be sent off to die in Parasite wars. And they were demanding that the environment be protected. Something had to change.

When all the big business, right wing assholes came together around the Powell Memo, they weren't just acting to advance their business interests. They knew they needed to transform the American public. We needed to become a lot more like a 3rd world country.

That's what's changed. No great tides, or winds or the inevitable replacing of the old with the new. Just some assholes, who own TV networks, radio stations, newspapers, universities, think tanks and countless other little organizations, all designed to make people think what they want us to.

Nothing mysterious about the changes that have transformed our economy either. Over the last 40 years, and in response to New Deal labor laws, and then new environmental regulations passed by LBJ and Nixon, big American businesses basically said fuck America, we'll go to Indonesia, and pollute the fuck out of wherever we want. And labor will be 3 cents on the dollar.

And they and their lobbyists over at the CFR bought up our two parties and, while we were enjoying the sex revolution and Meathead on TV, then quietly began the process of dismantling the entire manufacturing sector of the country. Incredibly, most liberals still don't comprehend what happened there. But that's a huge part of what has changed. The US is now suffering varying degrees of Detroit. And it's going to keep getting worse.

Now is the time to shape history. But unless you have at least some grasp of what that change is, and who's causing it, and how they're causing it, you don't have a chance in hell of changing it.

Yes, America's being reborn alright. But you won't want to see what it's being reborn into. For those of us who have been paying attention, the end result of this re-birthing is no mystery at all. It's exactly what we've seen in other countries, where neoliberalism has been allowed to run unchecked.

And it's not pretty. Liberals generally decry notions of American exceptionalism. But we have our own brand. The "it can't happen here" brand. Are we really so different than the people in Columbia or Chile, where leftists and labor leaders are hunted and murdered?

Is the mass surveillance apparatus, much of which is controlled not by the big brother state, but by private corporations, really immune from abuse by those who wish to defeat American labor and progressive politicians?

Is it really so hard to comprehend why allowing phone calls to recorded and stored by a nameless, faceless, security apparatus is a threat to not just your privacy, but to democracy itself?

Is the trajectory of our country towards increased concentration of wealth and power in the hands of fewer and fewer people, towards greater and greater poverty, towards poorer and poorer education, towards even more manipulation of public perception by corporate mass media, and the threat that poises for all of us, not obvious? Even to those who enjoy good paying jobs?

America has never been perfect. Not even close. But there was a time when its trajectory through history was in alignment with its promise.

Its trajectory now is toward the unthinkable. Unthinkable power, through of technology of weapons and surveillance, combined with an unthinkable absence of democratic governance or accountability.

Originally posted to James Hepburn on Sun May 26, 2013 at 03:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Rebel Alliance, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (266+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jazzence, raboof, pat bunny, quiet in NC, Louisiana 1976, One Pissed Off Liberal, 3goldens, BentLiberal, gfv6800, tardis10, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, koosah, kevinpdx, NYFM, bobswern, Desolations Angel, NoMoreLies, bibble, nailbender, mookins, linkage, Keith930, wordwraith, TealTerror, Dumbo, badger, blueoasis, purplepenlady, Gooserock, pgm 01, twigg, Lily O Lady, WisePiper, k9disc, srkp23, frsbdg, dewley notid, dionys1, mrsgoo, lostinamerica, bsmechanic, out of left field, poliwrangler, xynz, Shockwave, caul, Anne was here, quagmiremonkey, Kentucky Kid, HCKAD, mollyd, Sandino, JosephK74, Youffraita, koNko, skybluewater, Conservative Socialist, LLPete, ctsteve, WheninRome, Eric Stetson, YucatanMan, Emerson, LoreleiHI, kerplunk, ChuckInReno, SuWho, tovan, geordie, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, TracieLynn, SoonerG, Charles CurtisStanley, 4CasandChlo, RageKage, lotlizard, Orinoco, fToRrEeEsSt, Mathazar, ReadAndConsider, riverlover, AaronInSanDiego, OLinda, run around, tommyfocus2003, sodalis, Williston Barrett, OleHippieChick, buckstop, Matt Z, Eric Twocents, maryabein, temptxan, jadt65, marleycat, SamanthaCarter, klompendanser, ek hornbeck, Mentatmark, Rachael7, Senor Ricardo, Wisdumb, leeleedee, Sam Hill, Geenius at Wrok, dkmich, DarkestHour, delphine, Deward Hastings, tacet, Words In Action, sidnora, NBBooks, Plox, jds1978, rlb, wonmug, bluedust, Phoebe Loosinhouse, mudslide, dinazina, just want to comment, grumpelstillchen, SpecialKinFlag, citizen dan, Wonton Tom, joanneleon, Lady Libertine, young voter, UTvoter, bewild, Dartagnan, Demeter Rising, on the cusp, tle, Panacea Paola, fiercefilms, Grabber by the Heel, OldSoldier99, CitizenOfEarth, fixxit, side pocket, democracy inaction, psnyder, MackInTheBox, LunarEclipse, kamarvt, jrooth, Temmoku, kck, Wolf10, Sun Tzu, Kickemout, gooderservice, karmsy, thomask, tin woodswoman, US Blues, Habitat Vic, ragged but right, Shahryar, Tunk, Constantly Amazed, Trendar, paz3, Ginsu, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, freesia, unfangus, DeadHead, RandomNonviolence, greengemini, bleeding blue, liberaldemdave, triv33, vigi, deha, countwebb, LaEscapee, eru, slowbutsure, Stentorian Tone, gulfgal98, Simplify, Govinda, techno, CA Nana, Shrew in Shrewsbury, mkor7, Alexandre, crose, hubcap, aliasalias, Pescadero Bill, sandblaster, Wife of Bath, aughtomatic, dRefractor, SouthernLiberalinMD, barkingcat, SherwoodB, mrkvica, Chi, Nag, poligirl, pcl07, Jakkalbessie, Jim R, Most Awesome Nana, maryannm, Dianna, Agathena, RFK Lives, Mayfly, brentbent, Kitsap River, eeff, claude, JesseCW, PhilJD, yoduuuh do or do not, 417els, cyncynical, Laconic Lib, Azazello, StrayCat, Nada Lemming, Cassiodorus, I Lurked For Years, Oaktown Girl, ChemBob, kbman, mozartssister, BruceMcF, Moderation, maybeeso in michigan, 1BQ, bill warnick, cal2010, Alexandra Lynch, Farugia, LucyandByron, dradams, boomerchick, Angie in WA State, radical simplicity, Bluesee, rogerdaddy, apimomfan2, Ignacio Magaloni, Alfred E Newman, AverageJoe42, melfunction, mofembot, betterdemsonly, The Wizard, blue in NC, cslewis, Quilldriver, cordgrass, MKinTN, Ed in Montana, fiddlingnero, BlueDragon, PapaChach, cynndara
  •  1930's to 70's was not America's heyday. (21+ / 0-)

    Are you really yearning for the Depression, a World War, Viet Nam and a time when people of colour were still barred from some restautrants and schools. Musicians and athletes who were not white could not stay or sleep at the same places the rest of the team did. You could be fired for being gay. Domestic abuse of women and children was a dirty little secret that no one talked about.  It took an army to ensure that students could attend the schools and universities they wanted to. Joseph McCarthy, the Klu Klux Klan, assassinations, I could go on and on.

    Things are bad now, but given a choice, I would rather not return to those wonderful years.  

    You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Rabindranath Tagore

    by Thomasina on Sun May 26, 2013 at 04:27:21 PM PDT

    •  I think you're misreading the diary and the intent (76+ / 0-)

      imo, anyway.  Diary was referring to the direction the country was moving during that time period -- Not saying we should return to problems that happened in that time period - but saying that the movement toward good was moving in the right direction.

      Don't trust anyone over 84414

      by BentLiberal on Sun May 26, 2013 at 04:49:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most Western countries did the same things (4+ / 0-)

        at that time. Not all at the same time and to the same degree but still. Blaming everything on the Powell memo is kinda weird although it's a rather popular theory in some circles.

        •  Nothing to misread. This diary is like an ALL CAPS (7+ / 0-)

          purity-trolling comment.

          All of us here know about corporate power and its evils.

          But this text borders on Illuminati conspiracy theories.

          The irony is that this diary written on the InterTubes - perhaps the clearest demonstration of its demonstrably false main premise.

          We could also do without the venomous and derogatory attitude towards Muskegon Critic, one of the finest members of this community. He has done nothing and written nothing to deserve this.

          IMHO, now he deserves an apology.

          Good night.

          •  I think you're reading it wrong (48+ / 0-)
            We could also do without the venomous and derogatory attitude towards Muskegon Critic, one of the finest members of this community. He has done nothing and written nothing to deserve this.
            There were no personal comments or insults made about the diarist (MC) that I saw. Can you point to one?   What happened was a vocal counter-argument to MC's diary, taking exception with his points.

            That's what we want to happen - debating ideas, which is much more productive than exchanging insults.

            Don't trust anyone over 84414

            by BentLiberal on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:44:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'd call it a tone of condescension (18+ / 0-)

              as from one unafraid to see reality as it is to one who sees what he wishes:

              I have long suspected that some on this site exist in some kind of shell, and when news or information that threatens or challenges their views gets posted, or even makes it to the Rec'd List, they simply ignore it.

              And I will say now, I don't blame them. Reality is depressing.

              In my humble opinion, the problem with this manner of argument, which seeks not simply to provide a spirited rebuttal but actually to discredit the ability of doubters to see reality, is that it becomes a precarious edifice -- an ostensible pillar of the real story that's all the more susceptible to toppling with a few points.

              Where, for instance, is this diarist's comparative evidence of unemployment rates now versus 1970, or 1930, or some other relevant times?  How about education levels?

              Should we discuss the places of race, gender, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation in this regress narrative?  I'm a straight white Protestant male, and I happen to be thrilled for my sisters, and my gay brothers, and my cousins of color, all of whom enjoy far greater freedom today than their parents might have hoped for them in 1970.  

              What I resist most strongly is what I take to be a paranoid claim that the rich are a cabal working out their nefarious ends in concert.  I don't buy it.  I'm not an economic historian (or an economist or a historian), but throughout history, don't we have any number of examples of groups --guilds, cartels, trusts -- that concentrate power and wealth?  And there's a tension between these groups and the broader social structure, which in the US have led to anti-trust legislation, and the labor movement, and Wall Street reforms.  And Lord knows constant vigilance is required to prevent the wealthy from taking over everything.  And also that they may look more powerful now in part because the global financial crisis has skewed some numbers -- like unemployment, and working poor, versus a stock market that has many large portfolios looking great.  But I don't think it's fair to draw major, long-term conclusions from numbers in categories like these that have changed so dramatically across the last half-decade.  

              I simply don't buy this argument about the wealthy and their star chamber machinations.  For one thing, if you look at statistics from sources like The Millionaire Next Door (whose primary author is, admittedly, quite conservative), a very high percentage of wealthy Americans created their wealth through hard work and thrift.

              Yes, we have many laws that allow wealthy Americans to aggrandize their wealth, but we also have a culture that enables enterprising individuals to build wealth of their own.  

              Indeed, my own family background suggests a healthy tension between the trajectories of rich and poor.  My father, who was born in 1930, grew up in a house with no electricity or running water.  His father worked in a lumber mill.  His mother married at 12 and never attended high school.  But all three of her children graduated from college and lived comfortably middle-class lifestyles.  

              My mother was born in 1936 to Atlanta royalty, the great-granddaughter of a man who founded a certain soda company (and sold it @8 years before she was born).  Atlanta is peppered with the very large homes of this family's first few generations.  My mom and her parents lived in her grandfather's house her first three years.  It's now the home of the president of Emory University.  

              Now as I said, my mom's great-grandfather sold this company in the 1920's, but there was plenty of money and stock to go around.  But what happened to that money is I suspect a fairly common story -- it dispersed.  Rather than joining the rich white men's star chamber, Atlanta chapter, my great-grandfather and his multiple siblings did their own things.  Some philanthropy, lots of hedonism.  One great-great-uncle, I am told, had a servant who did nothing but hand-crank ice cream all day, and another had a bowling alley in his house.  

              But the money didn't grow.  It dissipated.  As near as I can tell, there was just enough by my mother's generation to allow some siblings to waste their energies and be unproductive.  But they're not in mansions or gated communities.  My mom gets a little sliver of a trust fund that would provide enough cash to, say, make monthly payments on a Honda Accord.  I was a public school boy all the way and needed financial aid and student loans for college (which I hope to pay off within a couple of years).

              Now, I'm not complaining!  Not by a long shot.  And I'm not trying to generalize from my own very isolated experience.  But I will tell you, as the great-great-grandson of American corporate and economic royalty, I don't feel very royal and I ain't rich.  And most of my mother's family just plain makes me sad.  

              Yes, I see the Koch brothers.  Yes, I read about the efforts of Wall Street bankers to screw small investors.  But there have always been these folks.  Sometimes they are in the ascendancy; sometimes it takes a while to flush them out.  Sometimes they overreach and blow everything up -- as they did in 2008.  They've always tried to control things.  Hell, early in FDR's first term, some of them wanted to foment a coup to save the country from that Socialist.  Didn't happen.

              We always have to keep our eyes open, but I don't think I'm being blindly optimistic if, for example, I cite Elizabeth Warren's election as proof that the wealthy star chamber isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Hell, if the wealthy star chamber really pulled the strings, the Republican party wouldn't look like a bunch of crackpots and idiots.  They'd look (and sound) like central casting versions of strong-father conservatives.  

              A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

              by deminva on Mon May 27, 2013 at 04:57:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I was surprised to see it rescued, until I saw (7+ / 0-)

                who likely rescued it. I don't have a problem with these types of diaries (callout/rebuttal) if they're done politely, but there are enough unnecessary jabs at DailyKos and the other diarist that imo this one isn't worthy of CS.

                I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

                by GoGoGoEverton on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:06:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Have you actually looked at U3 #'s? (11+ / 0-)

                They were 9% or higher from 4/09 to 10/11.  U6, which is a much more accurate barometer, has remained in the mid-teens for this entire presidency.  Having about 1 in 5 to 1 in 6 workers unemployed, underemployed, or discouraged has become the new normal.

                There is also the minor problem of killing off our host planet--a point of emphasis to the diarist that I suspect that you conveniently ignore.  As to the election of Warren from a blue state, in the era the diarist cited, that liberal bastion of S.D. sent McGovern to the Senate 3 times, and that liberal bastion of IN sent Birch Bayh (who was visibly to the left of his son) 3 times, too.   You have no clue as to what it was like to see the likes of McGovern, Bayh, Nelson, and Church swept aside in the 1980 GOP tide.

                Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

                by RFK Lives on Mon May 27, 2013 at 03:50:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "conveniently ignore"? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AaronInSanDiego

                  Really doesn't help. Please assume good faith. Saying that sort of thing just makes people stop listening.

                  ... there is always an easy solution to every problem -- neat, plausible and wrong. - H. L. Mencken

                  by renbear on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:31:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I wasn't conveniently ignoring anything (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Hammerhand, Roadbed Guy

                  I wasn't trying to, anyway.  

                  I was pointing out that, when a diarist begins by questioning the ability of those who disagree with him to actually see reality, he creates for himself an untenable situation in which he has to be completely correct.

                  In my opinion, it's an asinine approach to diarying -- and common enough as to be a cliche around here -- the old you're so blind you can't even see what's in front of you so I'll tell you now diary.

                  I wasn't attempting a comprehensive, point-by-point rebuttal, which is why I didn't broach the question of global warming and the environment.  

                  I focused instead on what I took to be the foundation of this diarist's argument -- the star chamber (my term, his paranoia) of the wealthy who finally got their act together on or about 1970 and figured out how to make wage slaves of most of us while destroying the country and the planet.  

                  The unemployment figures you cite reflect a devastating reality for millions of Americans.  They also are the direct consequences of the global financial crisis, so while they're fresh in our memory, I don't think they're particularly relevant to an argument that wants to assert how things have gone downhill since 1970.  Certainly, no diary focused on that topic would cherrypick, say, unemployment data from the late 1990s.  

                  I wonder too why you think I have no clue what it looked like in 1980 to see a GOP wave election.  And if we were trying to support this diarist's central argument with further examples of wave elections, would we cite or ignore 2006 and 2008?  Given that big money conservatism has been in bed with social conservatives for decades now, wouldn't we hurt our central argument about the power of the wealthy elite by admitting into evidence the wave of acceptance for gay marriage, interracial unions, and women's rights -- each of them a pillar of traditional values undermined?  The country described by this diarist sounds to me much like a dystopia akin to The Handmaid's Tale, in which the elite use traditional values to enslave others.

                  As I think more about the diarist's central argument, I think he's missing a key reality -- the globalization of labor.  What he calls wage slavery of American workers is rather I think a reflection of our country's shift from a manufacturing base to a service and information economy, with an educational system that has been too slow and ponderous to respond effectively.   And I don't think it's the likes of the Koch brothers most to blame for that inadequate education but rather the anti-intellectualism that stems in some cases from specific, malevolent sources like anti-science fundamentalism and more often from our culture's materialism.  I would probably be most likely to find common ground with this diarist if we started talking about America's consumer culture and its deleterious effects on the environment, individual lives, and our psyches.  But I don't think that conversation supports his thesis of the golden progress years of 1930 to 1970 or the slide that followed.  No, consumer culture it seems to me is a natural consequence of industrialization, mass production, and rising standards of living.  I'm actually hopeful that the Global Financial Crisis has helped more Americans recognize the dangers of the consumer culture.  And there's an interesting argument to be made contrasting the consumption patterns of, say, young adults in the 1950s and 1960s, who all wanted cars, versus today's young adults.

                  A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

                  by deminva on Tue May 28, 2013 at 03:22:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I mostly agree but didn't see any personal attacks (7+ / 0-)

            in the diary.

          •  There were no personal insults here. (18+ / 0-)

            Come on.

            The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

            by raboof on Mon May 27, 2013 at 04:05:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The debate isn't over Evolution or Climate Change. (6+ / 0-)

              There isn't one side in this debate, who has Science and Reality on its side.

              It is a debate on interpreting history. And there was nothing about Muskegon Critic's diary that could be decisively (or even not-so-decisively, IMHO) shown as a betrayal of progressive values or a gross failure to address reality.

              In other words, it is a valid debate with no clear answer.

              When you write a diary to challenge another diary on a valid debate, the minimum expectation is that you show respect. This is what the word "community" means, among other things.

              There is no respect in this diary. Perhaps "derogatory" and "venomous" is overstating it (my late-night choice of words), but it is thoroughly disrespectful and condescending.

              In short, someone spent an entire diary being a Dick, and earned the rec list for it.

              I guess the site's babysitters still have their work cut out for them.

          •  Where is the Village Idiot? NVM (11+ / 0-)

            If you don't know history, you will fail to understand it, which you will than allow to be repeated.

            Failure to understand the Wealthy and their mindsets of the past means never understanding what they want for us in the future.

            What could that be?

            The enslavement of all people to the wealthy. No need to enslave a specific race or creed of people when you can enslave all the people of world.

            One has but to look at mindsets of the wealthy in the 1870s through 1940s. In their minds, they owned the workers and the workers had no rights. They could kill anyone who was against that view, and they did. Only after FDR can out and supported the workers on strike did the public get to stand up against the wealthy whores (no offense meant to whores). Because if you cannot kill the people without punishment then you loose your control over them.

            What about now?

            THe wealthy has gain control of all of our finances destroying our hard won pensions, destroying our benefits, our job security, and destroying the healthcare system.

            They now have absolute control over life and death of every member of your family. No job, tough just die or work for free for us. Have a job, well that is tough, just do it without any healthcare. Have a job, have benefits and a pension, well we will buy it, bankrupt it after we steal the pension funds. Then you can work for pennies and no pension, wages, and no healthcare. Now after that, if you do get sick and are forced into bankruptcy you have to pay the wealthy medical bills, credit card debt, and lose your home because it is underwater and you have no job and are a bad risk.

            And the wealthy control over your life goes on while people still support this craziness over their best interest.

            Not one GOP should be voted for yet hey still get into office. If  a good person who is a Republican is elected they still support the crazy shit that empowers the wealthy to steal from the public everything they won from the wealthy in the past.

            Enslavement of the people of world to the wealthy is no joke, nor is it a conspire theory meme. It is a fact, just read your history.

          •  Not tipping your comment, (5+ / 0-)

            even though I largely don't agree with the diarist, either.

            The "purity troll" insinuation is hyperbolic and unfair.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Mon May 27, 2013 at 01:47:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  No, it isn't. There's nothing ALL CAPS about it. (12+ / 0-)

            It just makes a case you don't like.

            "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:24:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I understand that. The country was moving in a (8+ / 0-)

        good direction, because there was a lot of bad stuff to move away from! I just think that we have a tendency to romanticize the past and to forget that, for a lot of people, things are much better now.

        Future generations will look back at these times and think that WE were doing well. They will point to a man of colour in the White House, marriage equality, better opportunities for women, better protection of children. The young people of today are more accepting than previous generations. They do not care about skin colour or sexual preference. They will keep the country moving in the right direction just as we did when we protested the war and marched for civil rights.

        You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Rabindranath Tagore

        by Thomasina on Sun May 26, 2013 at 04:57:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, hopefully they won't be thinking that (7+ / 0-)

          ... because the country moved away from it.

          Future generations will look back at these times and think that WE were doing well. They will point to a man of colour in the White House, marriage equality, better opportunities for women, better protection of children.
          Thanks for the exchange.

          Don't trust anyone over 84414

          by BentLiberal on Sun May 26, 2013 at 05:03:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What? (50+ / 0-)
          The country was moving in a (1+ / 0-)

          good direction, because there was a lot of bad stuff to move away from!

          What is that even supposed to mean?

          And what is this about better opportunities for women? You mean waitressing at Waffle house?

          You are right that, on women's rights, and racism, the trajectory is still somewhat positive. But you ignore economics, wealth inequality, the selling off of our commonwealth, the perils of privatization, outsourcing, real unemployment, the increased power of banksters. the looting of pensions, foreclosing on people's homes etc etc.

          Seeing everything through the prism of the culture war has blinded many liberals to the equally important economic war. Such blindness leads to such fallacies as the one you just made about more opportunities for women.

          While it's true that advancements in women's rights have created opportunities for women in the workplace (although some even doubt that), those increases in opportunity are utterly drowned by the decreases in opportunities for workers as a whole.

          There are more women now in poverty and living on food stamps than in history. Same with your protections for children line. One step forward, 50 steps back.

          If the only issues you really care about are gay rights, freedom to choose, racial equality and separation of church and state, then you should be pretty happy. We've made great stride on many of those fronts.

          But the real war on women, and children, is same as the war being waged on all of us: the economic one. If you really want to help women and children, reduce domestic violence, and empower women to take control of their lives, then you should demand decent living wage jobs for all Americans who are able.

          We will never have social stability, with stable healthy families, until we restore, for all Americans, economic stability and security.

          •  I agree with your last statement. But (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            deminva, Pale Jenova, jakedog42
            then you should demand decent living wage jobs for all Americans who are able.
            Like during the 30's?
            While it's true that advancements in women's rights have created opportunities for women in the workplace (although some even doubt that),
            How can you doubt it? There was a time, in the 40's and 50's, when women could not be lawyers, doctors, mayors, engineers, etc. Now we can be anything we want.
            But you ignore economics, wealth inequality, the selling off of our commonwealth, the perils of privatization, outsourcing, real unemployment, the increased power of banksters. the looting of pensions, foreclosing on people's homes etc etc
            There has always been wealth inequality and banksters, robber barons etc. have been around forever.

            Look, I'm not saying that everything is peachy right now. Just that the arc of progress continues. It is just hard to see it when you are living through it. Things will be better in 40 years than they are now.

            You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Rabindranath Tagore

            by Thomasina on Sun May 26, 2013 at 06:06:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You clearly need to slow down (52+ / 0-)

              and read more carefully. Or stop projecting.

                 While it's true that advancements in women's rights have created opportunities for women in the workplace (although some even doubt that),
              How can you doubt it?
              I don't doubt it. I said some do (they cite statistics that show that women are still getting the shaft). I try to be precise in my language.

              And you continue to miss my point about the TRAJECTORY of progress even after I stated clearly that there were things very wrong during the 30s and 70s. Yet you keep acting like I need to be informed that there were very wrong things during the 30s to the 70s.

              Let me be clearer. I've had this discussion before. Some people want to go back to the 60s. They think it was great for everyone, or they at least forget that it wasn't.

              I am not one of those people. My point was that, during that period, unlike now, there was a clear trajectory of progress on all fronts - economic and civil rights. It wasn't because there was so much bad to move away from.

              It was because a new, super educated, politically active under class had emerged and were making it happen.

              Oh fuck. I'm doing it again. Retyping my diary because someone in the comments didn't bother to even read it the first time.

              Signing off now.

              Oh, wait. Your last point was a good one. The arc of progress is continuing.  

              It is in some ways. But in other ways it's regressing. Which are the ones that matter?

              Kos made a comment recently that it's a bad idea to call your pet issue more important than someone elses pet issue. That may be true for tactical reason of persuasion.

              But some issues are more important than others. A good way to measure whether your issue is more important or not is by asking: "If my issue doesn't get solved, how many people and or species will die."

              I spent the entire 70s and most of the 80s as a culture warrior, combating racism and bigotry. I was always an environmentalist too, but, on that front, progress was being made. Superfund etc. Legalization of pot was a big issue for me as well.

              Then I learned about global warming. Suddenly, I realized that none of my issues would make a damn bit of difference if the planet became uninhabitable.

              You ever notice that the of the issues where progress is being made, none of them cost Wall Street any money or threaten their power?

              Gays in the military, marriage equality, racial harmony increases. All important. But they don't seem to reverse that other trajectory - the one where our world is being pillaged and poisoned, our sick are being bankrupted, our people are being overworked and underpayed - if they can even get a job. Our commonwealth is being scammed away from us with privatization schemes.

              Those issues, which are essential to all others, are not getting better. They're getting worse.

              •  Yeah, I'd try to stay away from this (29+ / 0-)
                Oh fuck. I'm doing it again. Retyping my diary because someone in the comments didn't bother to even read it the first time.
                If someone misread your diary to the extent that they believe you are advocating for a return to harsh conditions, then it's not worth more than 1 or 2 comments in reply.

                Otherwise, we just end up arguing about meaningless stuff.

                Good diary.

                Don't trust anyone over 84414

                by BentLiberal on Sun May 26, 2013 at 06:57:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, Thomasina is good people (26+ / 0-)

                  And her sensitivity to those who wax over the golden years of the 20th century is more than warranted. It wasn't golden at all for millions of blacks. Or screenwriters with leftist sentiments. Or Koreans and Vietnamese villagers. Or Iranian democracy. I could go on.

                  But I stick to my trajectory concept. On a lot of really important fronts, the parasite class has been able to reverse progress. Completely.

                  •  It comes down to Maslow's heirarchy. (24+ / 0-)

                    Food, clothing, shelter, safety always come before civil rights, education, etc.

                    We do have progress on some fronts which are of no matter to the wealthy power elite (1%), like gay rights, a Black man in the White House, or whatever.  Meanwhile, the things of importance to the power elite -- driving wages down, destroying unions, outsourcing and offshoring jobs -- strike at the foundation of our people's ability to survive.

                    All LBGT people having perfectly equal rights to marry and hold jobs is an important goal.  But when all the jobs are Subway cashiers and garbage collectors, since all manufacturing is outsourced and high tech jobs are insourced, then how great is our nation in the end?

                    Equal pay for men and women would be a wonderful achievement, but what if a large number of all jobs were incapable of supporting a small family on that income.

                    Our nation's economic underpinnings, civil rights and public infrastructure are being destroyed. We have to be able to feed, clothe, and house ourselves first. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is important in understanding what is happening.

                    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

                    by YucatanMan on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:12:16 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thank you for referencing Maslow. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      YucatanMan

                      I think my reading of the other diary is different. Too tired right now and pissed at myself for attempting to read this one. I will retire with a glass of wine...

                      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                      by Ginny in CO on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:27:09 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  I appreciate your comment. I think we actually (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Hammerhand, James Hepburn, TealTerror

                    agree in many ways. But I think we are still moving forward. Maybe slowly, and there are definitely set-backs but still heading the right way.

                    Those  "millions of blacks" and "screenwiters with leftist sentiments" must have been just as frustrated as we are but progress has been made.

                    I'm sure you are "good people" as well.You are obviously passionate about your country and it's citizens who are struggling.

                    You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Rabindranath Tagore

                    by Thomasina on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:28:00 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm not so sure progress has (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mkor7, mrkvica, JesseCW

                      been made for those "millions of blacks"--progress has been made for a select subset of African Americans--those who have succeeded in predominately "white" society. But for those who remain in areas that are predominately black/brown?

                      Many of those communities, segregated though they were, were safer, more economically stable, more vibrant, more viable than they are today.

                      Again, it's about the material realities on the ground, and the material realities on the ground in these communities....well.

                    •  Thanks Thomasina (7+ / 0-)

                      I really appreciate the kind words. I know I can be somewhat abrasive some times. I appreciate you not hating me for it.

                      :)

                      •  Of course I don't hate you! You obviously care a (6+ / 0-)

                        great deal about people who are suffering, and there is no denying that there are too many of them. And not enough people who care as passionately as you do.

                        I appreciate your willingness to look at my point of view, even though it differs from yours. We may still disagree, but I have learned a lot from what you wrote here, and I can see why you feel discouraged.

                        I will look for future diaries from you, perhaps we can engage in discussion again soon. You were not abrasive, and I hope I wasn't either.

                        You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Rabindranath Tagore

                        by Thomasina on Mon May 27, 2013 at 03:01:23 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  But I notice that, since we had a more (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    claude, Laconic Lib, JosephK74

                    democratic government, it was a lot more possible for some of the "push" of the Civil Rights movement to translate into mainstream legislative victories. We don't have that now. I'd think that would be bad for both black and white. As a matter of fact, it is. Black people took it in the face from Wall St's little raid through the American people's mortgages.  They went through Prince George's county like locusts through wheat.  And we just gave the people who did it legal immunity in exchange for less than $1,000 per homeowner--because we don't have a government that can stand up to powerful financial interests.

                    that's the terrifying thing at the heart of all this:  we have unprecedented emergencies in our face, and government, which exists, in part, to help us deal with emergencies or avoid them, can do nothing because the rich and powerful insist that government do nothing.

                    "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

                    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:37:16 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I sense your frustration. And I do get your point (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hammerhand

                about trajectory. My main area of disagreement is your use of the word "heyday" to describe those years.

                You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Rabindranath Tagore

                by Thomasina on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:30:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, I had never typed that word in my life (7+ / 0-)

                  And I'm not even sure I've ever spoken it. But that was Muskegon Critic's word in the other diary. I used it here to draw continuity and for a rhetorical device.

                  The angle, which I really liked but must have not set up properly, is the idea of MC's "heyday" not really being about a time when things were good, but a direction. My trajectory idea.

                  Because, for me, that is what really defines the era. It wasn't even about an era. It's about the sense of promise, the idea that things can in fact change for the better.

                  It was this sense of promise that lead to the 64 Civil Rights Act, the Social Security Act, the Wagner Act, gave us Medicare and Medicaid, even took us to the Moon.

                  Now we're just trying to defend those accomplishments. And failing. Even the Civil Rights Act is under attack.

                  •  Hell, James, the very concept of a Common Good (9+ / 0-)

                    itself need to be defined and defended at this point.

                    You make a point that I have been hammering for years:  Teh Sixties, was indeed the culmination of all this universal public education and the Celebration of the Common Man and the socialism-lite of the New Deal and subsequent policies that made the prosperous American "Middle Class"  (mostly  working class folks with some security) possible at all, and then all these untermenschen children had the effrontery to forget their place, stand up on their educated hind legs and dare to reasonably and articulately demand of their betters a fairer share of the pie.

                    Scared the bejeezus out of the "oligarchs" and they directed their minions to put the brakes on such nonsense.  Begin the dumbing down and somnification that proceeds to this day, with devastating results.

                    Always good to hear someone else has been paying attention.

                    don't always believe what you think

                    by claude on Mon May 27, 2013 at 04:25:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  It's your vocabulary, stupid! ;-) (0+ / 0-)

                The more precise you are with your language, the more likely you are to venture into a linguistic universe that is unfamiliar to readers--yes, even here on this site.

                I think part of the problem is your repeated reference to the term "trajectory". ;-)

              •  Well, it's great that LGBT rights are continuing (3+ / 0-)

                to arc upward, in the right direction. But if we have no planet to live on that's habitable, no food to eat b/c we've run out of or polluted all our water, and we're living in refrigerator boxes on the side of the road because we have to "compete" with little kids working in sweatshops for 25c/day, those LGBT rights end up helping mostly those LGBT folks who have a lot of money.

                This is an old argument. I got off of HRC's listserv--and donor list--when they chose Lloyd Blankfein as their celebrity spokesperson on the Hill. Some people love that kind of thing; what I see is that now it's OK to be LGBT if you're rich and well-connected. Those LGBT folks who need a job and access to mortgages to buy a house can get married...but they'll be ground into dust by the economic crap just the same.

                "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:30:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  They feed us crumbs (0+ / 0-)

                after they wipe their asses with them.  Then they laugh at us for fighting over them.  We're like ants to the oligarchy.  

                Bad things aren't bad! And anyway, there's mitigation!

                by Nada Lemming on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:25:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, like during the 30's (20+ / 0-)

              when people were fighting for unions - and ended up succeeding.

              Yeah, like during the 50s and 60s when women were standing up for themselves, getting educated, getting careers.  

              The arc of progress continues.  

              As well does the concentration of wealth (back) to the top, unraveling of environmental regulations we only just recently put into place, union bashing/destruction . . .

              Will things be better in 40 years than they are now?

              Certainly not environmentally unless a monumental change in the view of the world's governments and corporations.

              Not in terms of accessibility of education unless something changes drastically with regard to the social darwinism of the cost of higher education.

              Not in terms of employment and security of the middle class barring a sudden wake up call regarding the failure of austerity and a resurgence of unionism.

              Not in terms of a government "of the people" unless we wipe the slate clean of idiot and meanspirited republicans and milquetoast democrats.

              This diary is saying things need to change to keep us on a progressive course.  It's always been fits and starts, staggering toward progress.  

              Now we need a sea change, one like the one in the 30's that brought us unions (and social security), or the 60's that brought us the Civil Rights Act and Medicare and an emerging class of educated independent women.  

              If someone had said, walking by a bread line during the depression, that things were looking up, that it was okay because it was better than 1890 and would be even better in 1970, don't fret!

              We would not have unions or Social Security.

              If in the 60's folks said "Hey, it's better than 1930, and it will be even better in 2,000, don't fret!" we would not have the Civil Rights Act or Medicare.

              If we don't look around and see the environmental devastation, the economic destruction, the degradation of the middle class, the push to return to puritanism and complete social darwinism, then how do we stop the negative trajectory?  Where will be the sea change that moves us toward a healthy planet, living wages, tolerance?

              Perhaps you see this diary as hyperbole.  I see it as pointing out reality - we need to be aware of and acknowledge where things are going off the rails, or we won't do anything about it, we'll be complacent.

              And if so, things will not be better in 40 years.

              Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

              by delphine on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:52:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Pollyannish, maybe? (4+ / 0-)
              Look, I'm not saying that everything is peachy right now. Just that the arc of progress continues. It is just hard to see it when you are living through it. Things will be better in 40 years than they are now.
              Given the history of mankind, and the fact that the progress you tout could be reversed if things fall properly for those who would institute a working oligarchy, your prediction that "[t]hings will be better in 40 years than they are now" is only based on hope, from what I see. Do you have any future-predicting resources that use evidence-based calculating to make this more than just a (very strong) hope?

              I'm trying to point out how fragile this prediction, and your overall premise is. It could come apart easily with something as simple as an ongoing 5-4 (or even 6-3) conservative, business-oriented majority on the US Supreme Court.

              Remember that song "IGY," by Donald Fagen on his first solo album, The Nightfly? Did these predictions from that time come true? (The International Geophysical Year (IGY) was from July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958.)

              Standing tough under stars and stripes
              We can tell
              This dream's in sight

              You've got to admit it
              At this point in time that it's clear
              The future looks bright

              On that train all graphite and glitter
              Undersea by rail
              Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
              Well by [19]seventy-six we'll be a.o.k.

              A just machine to make big decisions
              Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision
              We'll be clean when their work is done
              We'll be eternally free yes and eternally young

              What a beautiful world this will be
              What a glorious time to be free
              ©Donald Fagen -1982

              This is no time to relax, believing that things will continue towards progress as you define it. Others, with huge capital reserves to draw on to promote the idea, define progress as moving in the direction of the 1%, politically.

              "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

              by paz3 on Mon May 27, 2013 at 01:26:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Name one time in history... (0+ / 0-)

                "Given the history of mankind, and the fact that the progress you tout could be reversed if things fall properly for those who would institute a working oligarchy, your prediction that "[t]hings will be better in 40 years than they are now" is only based on hope, from what I see. Do you have any future-predicting resources that use evidence-based calculating to make this more than just a (very strong) hope?"

                when mankind on a whole reversed its progress?

                Maybe, you could say the fall of the Roman empire, but Arabian mathematicians and European stonemasons and monks would disagree with you. To be sure, economic and scientific progress probably slowed down during the "Dark Ages", but it sure as hell didn't stop. How do you think Europe got its Cathedrals? Other than that, there is not time in recorded human history where planet-wide, progress slowed down- let alone stopped. During The Enlightenment, we hit our stride, and it's still going. I'd only be worried about progress slowing down... I sometimes wonder how long we can keep this up. It doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon.

                •  Worshiping Progress? (0+ / 0-)

                  First, define "progress" as you understand it. There is no overarching single definition of that, IMO. My version, as a liberal, sometimes radical, Democrat will surely not be similar to that of, say, the Koch Bros. or the CEO of Monsanto.

                  You mention some scientific achievements in isolation, but what about the human misery index? Will this "progress" that you take as an article of faith stop a takeover of our country by oligarchs? Cite how and why, please.

                  If that case occurs, there will not be any "progress" for the 99%, or at least the 47%. And, since we're all in this together, functionally, "progress" will just be an ephemeral concept some read about; it may be used as a carrot when the stick gets overheated from all the beatings.

                  And, will the vaunted "progress" (bow down!) be worth any more than fecal matter when climate change/global warming overtakes? NO!!!

                  The 1% is attempting to force regression on us here in the US as fast as they can. Fearful and hateful people could care less about "progress."

                  So, I'll concede, maybe China will allow "progress" to affect positive change for the Chinese in a few decades, but I see what you claim to be the liberating forces of 'progress' slowly disappearing here in the US.

                  The only "progress" that can save us from an increasing misery index, and its subsequent effect of a reversal of any progress as you define it so far, is an overall change of heart.

                  Progress is driven by human curiosity. Take that away through misery, and the removal of resources from any other than the 1% that allow for ongoing independent scientific research (see Monsanto and their patent binge) and there goes "progress."

                  Pretty fragile "god" to pin ones hopes on, this mighty Progress. Seems like idolatry.

                  "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

                  by paz3 on Tue May 28, 2013 at 08:10:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Can we? Can we really be Fortune 500 CEOs? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ed in Montana

              What percentage of us are Foryune 500 CEOs, compared to ehst percentage of men?

              Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

              Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

              by Kitsap River on Mon May 27, 2013 at 03:57:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  GAH! Typing on mobile devices sucks. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ed in Montana

                Give me a real keyboard every time.

                That should read "What percentage of us are Fortune 500 CEOs, compared to what percentage of men?"

                And what I really mean is "What percentage of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and what percentage are men?"

                Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

                Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

                by Kitsap River on Mon May 27, 2013 at 04:02:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Every white male in an Executive position (5+ / 0-)

                  in the United States could retire tomorrow morning, and if they were replaced entirely by women of color who had achieved the position by advancing through the same system that originally put them there, nothing in the world would change except for the number of urinals on the top five floors of skyscrapers.

                  "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

                  by JesseCW on Mon May 27, 2013 at 04:19:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  You seem very focused on what the 5% looks (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Laconic Lib, JosephK74, melfunction

              like.

              You don't seem to care very much about the size of chasm between them and the rest of us.

              "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

              by JesseCW on Mon May 27, 2013 at 04:14:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  It's no longer about where the country is heading (14+ / 0-)

            it's only about each person's special interest group identity.  

            There is no whole fabric any longer....only individual threads.

            "The Weatherdude prevails". Jeff Bridges is pretty cool, too.

            by Keith930 on Sun May 26, 2013 at 07:45:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, I think that is going away. . . (15+ / 0-)

              I think that progressive politics DID spend a lot of time pulling on every different front, quarreling amongst ourselves over priorities.

              I don't believe that anymore. I agree with the diarist that we are being herded together, in desperation more than anything, by a sense that there is a zero sum game being played with economic opportunity by the wealthy and they damn sure aren't going to get caught with zero. They are more aggressive in breaking old rules, laughing at concerns of "fairness" and pounding themselves on the back for being willing to "provide the jobs" we all beg for.

              There was a comment on the washpost that was so symbolic, it was the old story of offering a 5 year old 5 pieces of candy if a friend got 10, or giving them both 2 pieces, a 5 year old takes 2 pieces whereas a 10 year old chooses the greater amount. The commentator said that "liberals are the 5 year old and don't recognize that "everyone gets more."  I was SO pissed.

              I responded by saying that is not the situation, the situation is now a kid is offered 10 pieces and his friend will get 5, but if the kid is willing to take the other kids, he can have up to 15. That is the game being played by the wealthy. No longer is an economy something that is "grown" to generate wealth, it is about fractioning off more and more to the powerful.

              The diarist hits it on the head. This is new. America was always about getting rich - but in the past it was about growth, now it is about hoarding. When the focus is hoarding, the powerful will always win.

              Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

              by 4CasandChlo on Mon May 27, 2013 at 12:48:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  It's pretty clear that those (10+ / 0-)

            who view everything through the lens of cultural politics are privileged, middle and upper middle class people who therefore have no concrete experience with economic issues.  For them everything is ideas and beliefs, never genuine material conditions.  They're in for a surprise as the economy continues to decline and the wealth gap grow.

            •  Time will tell, I guess n/t (0+ / 0-)

              Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

              by AaronInSanDiego on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:21:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  this is the problem. (13+ / 0-)

              In the past, I have proposed that anyone and everyone who enjoys the benefits of a salary of say $100K or more should be required to spend at least one year--preferably as a requirement for graduation from high school--in an area of the country defined as "economically disadvantaged."

              It's not even as though that proposal is based on some sort of malice: it's about UNDERSTANDING. It's about actually knowing what it's like to live in these areas--it's not just about public schools and/or housing. EVERYTHING is substandard in these areas: from the roads, to the postal services, to hospitals, to gas stations, even the pharmacies. Everything, everything, everything. When I have visitors from Europe come to my house, they are shocked: they compare these conditions to the same conditions we know from our travels to so-called "third world" countries.

              And if you are never forced to actually experience the extent to which these communities have been eviscerated, decimated, completely disassembled and destroyed, you simply cannot understand that no, "progress"--in the sense that we as progressives understand the term--is not being made. The opposite is true.

              •  When you have a major segment of the population (10+ / 0-)

                making the argument that our poor people aren't really poor because they are comparing them to the poor people in places like Sudan, then I think it is safe to say we are on the wrong track.  

                The whole "Rice and Beans" argument.  Poor people in America have refrigerators, so they're not poor enough (yet).  

                To me the country feels complacent, perhaps.  There is a feeling that because our wealthy are keeping up with the wealthy in countries like Qatar or Bahrain, then all is great.  Meanwhile, our poor people have refrigerators and TVs, so they're ahead of the refugees from strife-torn African countries.  

                Set the low bar very low and we look great.  Set the high bar very high and we still look great.  What about the middle?  Perhaps that's where the biggest problem is.    

                Metaphors be with you.

                by koosah on Mon May 27, 2013 at 09:33:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, but my point is that even those who (8+ / 0-)

                  are doing "OK" (like most Kossacks) or folks who aren't "ultra rich" (like the Rahm Emmanuels of the world), have NO IDEA what the conditions are like.

                  We've structured this society in way that allows the vast majority to experience these conditions "from afar" without having to actually drive on the roads that destroy your shock absorbers every 6 months, without having to actually send their children to schools that don't have basic necessities like fucking toilet paper, without having to walk on streets where there is always a very real possibility of getting caught in the crossfire of gunfire, etc. Or trying to get service from a pharmacist that doesn't know how to spell penicillin, etc.

                  People who do not live here do NOT and CANnot understand how bad the conditions are without actually experiencing them.

                •  Misled! (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  koosah, mrkvica, TealTerror
                  When you have a major segment of the population making the argument that our poor people aren't really poor because they are comparing them to the poor people in places like Sudan, then I think it is safe to say we are on the wrong track.  

                  The whole "Rice and Beans" argument.  Poor people in America have refrigerators, so they're not poor enough (yet).  

                  Not so much a large segment of the population as a loud and insistent conservative noise machine making these arguments, hoping to push sentiment that way.

                  Push back!

                  "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

                  by paz3 on Mon May 27, 2013 at 01:34:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah. I'm just feeling those opportunities (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib

            rolling in.

            "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:26:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Not really, insofar as the carbon-based economy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ed in Montana

          -and by extension today's looming climate change - was cemented into place during those years.

          Now we're at least cognizant of the problem.  Too bad we're not (yet!) doing anything about it . .. .  but whatever, we're finally taking baby steps in a positive direction.

      •  we just four years ago (5+ / 0-)

        elected our first black President.

        We got national health care, or at least as close as we've ever gotten, for the first time ever.

        A woman was and if she runs again likely will be a serious contender for the Presidency, if not an odds on favorite.

        Gay marriage is blooming all over the country.

        We are slowly but surely ending two wars, the economy is on an upswing, I could list a whole lot of ways we are moving in the right direction.

        Sorry if I don't join in the gloom and doom parade, but you can both realize we have serious, serious issues and problems that need to be addressed and that we are moving forward on multiple fronts at the same time.

        Pretty much just like any other decade since WWII.

        •  The gap between rich and poor is still growing. (11+ / 0-)

          Real wages are still static.

          There is, and has been, no "upswing" for the bottom 93% of us.

          The well off have recovered what they lost, the very rich have zoomed off with the rest of the gains made since the collapse.

          The vast majority of us are unable to find work, or are working much harder for much less.

          That's the real world you'll find if you spend your time talking to the rude mechanicals instead of just treating us as background scenery.

          "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

          by JesseCW on Mon May 27, 2013 at 04:22:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  so in other words (0+ / 0-)

            We have real problems we have to solve just like every other decade.

            •  In other words - shit is getting worse for most of (0+ / 0-)

              us.

              "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

              by JesseCW on Tue May 28, 2013 at 07:31:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  no it isnt (0+ / 0-)

                for some folks it's the same, some better, some worst and for many multiples depending upon what you are talking about or what aspect of life you are talking about.

                •  Median household income is falling. (0+ / 0-)

                  The costs of education is skyrocketing, and government services are decreasing.

                  Life is, very objectively, getting worse for most Americans.

                  That's reality.  Choosing to be oblivious to it doesn't change  it.

                  It just demonstrates an extreme lack of empathy and compassion.

                  "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

                  by JesseCW on Tue May 28, 2013 at 11:11:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  you've picked two things (0+ / 0-)

                    as if that's all there is and thus it's objective proof.

                    Economy is getting better overall; gay rights are on the ascent; gender issues are slowly getting better; we have the closest thing to national health care for the first time ever.

                    I can list a myriad number of things that are getting better, staying static or getting worse.

                    But hey, if it makes you feel morally superior, and it oh so clearly does, who am I to get in the way?

        •  Sush, it's not becoming to be upbeat (0+ / 0-)

          on a progressive website!

          In any event, both sides have good points, basically things now suck in the USA (they do! - and no one has even mentioned Celine Dion yet!!) but OTOH they always have sucked (and they have!).

          Nevertheless, who wants to go back to when the likes of the Bubonic plague routinely killed off 20 to 30% of the population?  

          So, looking on the bright side from time to isn't all bad IMHO.  For example, like I pointed out in a different diary - foaming hand soap - how great is that?  And something that has only become ubiquitously available (at least in my neck of the woods) during the Obama Administration.  Yay!!

          •  it's better now (0+ / 0-)

            to be gay than it's ever been before in this country.

            I think racial issues are still slowly but surely improving, and gender issues are slowly but surely improving.

            There is a lot more than no more black death to be happy about.

            I just don't understand the idea that these are the end times or this is the worst it's ever been when both are categorically not true.

    •  You know that's not what I said (13+ / 0-)

      And yet you asked me that anyway.

    •  Furthermore, for the rest of the world, even worse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      Anybody for 1930-1970 in China? Russia? India?

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Mon May 27, 2013 at 10:31:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Anyone else think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheGreatLeapForward

      these liberal exhalations of "America's Heyday" being in the 1930's-70's are the same as conservative exhalations of "real America" back in the 40's-80's? Only real difference is that liberals start with Roosevelt, and conservatives start with the defeat of Hitler and end with Reagan. As Fareed Zakaria always quotes "It's not the fall of America, its the rise of everyone else". India, China and everywhere were bound to jumpstart their industrial revolutions sometime. And they're making pennies, just like we were when we started. That factory collapse in Bangladesh may in history be compared Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York. It seems to be having a similar effect as a catalyst for working condition improvements across Asia at least. Once Africa becomes industrialized, we'll see a similar cycle.

      We, America, are in a fundamentally different space than those nations. Our manufacturing industries are gone because it is no longer profitable to make simple goods like shirts in America anymore. Cars? Ok, we can do that. But we've been making shirts since slavery. One could almost say that work is "beneath us" at this point. Essentially, we're beyond that level of industrialization.

      One of the reasons I liked the article about America being Reborn is that it touched on the democratization of industrialization. We already have information democratization through the internet. With individuals being able to produce their own high quality goods, large multinational corporations will become less relevant in society. Individuals will become more and more empowered. We've already seen this with the internet. Have you all noticed all these articles with corporations bitching about not being able to tie down Millennials to work for them for 20-30 years like they could our parents? That's because we (my generation) feel empowerment is manifest within ourselves. We don't need a company or large organization to support it. The knowledge available through the internet (and soon, mechanically through 3D printing) is the foundation of our empowerment.

      This article is pessimistic, and for good reason. There's alot of negative shit going on right now. But compared to the Civil War, its nothing. The world is getting better. People are still dying, but deaths from wars are down and getting lower compared to the past. Climate Change is a problem, but compared to that one time everyone without blonde hair, blue eyes, and a Christian religion was almost cast into an incinerator, it's hardly "the greatest threat to human existence." Just like science, technology, and sheer will brought us out of WWII, science and technology will bring us out of the climate crisis- though we may wait until it truly becomes a problem to act. Finally, the article complains that the plutocrats are running our politics. Please, we've been there before, and we'll beat them back just like we did in the 30's. Roosevelt was only able to do it so fast because the crisis was manifest in the Great Depression. It will take longer this time, but demographic trends are in our favor.

      Be more optimistic, its the only way to see the future.

    •  You know that you can still be fired for being gay (0+ / 0-)

      in 29 states, right?

      "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

      by JesseCW on Mon May 27, 2013 at 04:09:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sheldon Wolin reached the same conclusion (4+ / 0-)

      in his book Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism. If I may paraphrase: the period in which the United States came closest to fulfilling the all-inclusive vision of all men and women being created equal, was the two to three decades after World War 2.

      Many heterodox economists, such as James Crotty and Tom Palley, refer to those decades as "the golden age of capitalism." Properly defined it is, because what we have now is not industrial capitalism, but oligarchical financialization.

      And these scholars who have reached pretty much the same conclusion, are quick to acknowledge that the era was marred by horrible racial inequality and tensions, and the beginnings of the national security state.

      People rarely mention it here, perhaps because the majority are now younger and did not live through them, but I believe the turning point was 1963 to 1968: the assassinations of the Kennedys and King.

      Also, Nixon's election in 1968 brought to power the genesis of the evil we must deal with today: a wrong wing movement that delights in "rat fucking" its opponents. Nixon's election launched the careers of people like Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney.

      A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

      by NBBooks on Mon May 27, 2013 at 09:58:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for a good dose of hard reality. (63+ / 0-)

    Blurring the reality of life in these United States to make it look better than it is accomplishes nothing.  It's a form of sticking one's head in the sand and denying reality.  From the perspective of 66 years on this planet, I can attest that this country has had a lot of struggles over the years and a lot of victories.

    But we are facing some very serious problems (outsourcing of jobs; a financial system that is bloated, corrupt to its core, and out of control; control of our government in the hands of oligarchs; elections that are a sham because our politicians are corrupt, owned by the wealthy elite with a few very rare exceptions, and a government in which all three branches does not listen to us; lack of any  jobs plan to increase employment; individuals without any resource other than SS to live on once they can't work anymore to name just a few.)  

    The gap between the "Haves" and "Have Nots" is both outrageous and absolutely not acceptable.  Bernie Sanders pointed out in a Tweet just today that the 6 members of the Walton family, which owns WalMart, have $100 Billion in wealth----and that is more than the bottom 40% of the country owns. These things are eating at the heart of our political system and, as a result, at the quality of our lives.  The cold, casual attitude of some here to the plight of others is shameful.  The "well I'M fine so shut up and quit your damn complaining!" is abhorrent.  The lack of understanding of Democratic values and the casual disregard when this is pointed out is infuriating.   No, things are NOT well and our politicians and leaders either have NO idea what to do about it or do not care to.  We ignore these issues at our own peril.  We either care about and for each other----or we become an "every man/woman for him/herself and get the hell out of my way!" kind of place.  No thanks!

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Sun May 26, 2013 at 05:24:19 PM PDT

  •  Reality is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, Thomasina, Tom Anderson

    we have a choice we can curl up in a ball and die or we can choose a path we think is forward and take it.

    Do you honestly think the people just like us in the thirties thought the country was going to survive? Hindsight is 20/20 but we have no idea what the future holds.

    Do you think when they dropped the atomic bombs on Japan that people thought the world would still exist today?

    The country may have been moving in a good direction but they didn't know that. Just as we don't know what the world will look like in 50 years.

    All we can do is guess.

    It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

    by PSWaterspirit on Sun May 26, 2013 at 06:05:56 PM PDT

  •  "Understanding the problem is half the... (39+ / 0-)

    ...solution." Denying that there are massive, unprecedented problems within our society, and/or thinking that "hope" is a solution is, by definition, a trajectory that only ends in failure. Furthermore, to think that quick action isn't needed, right now (those arguing for incrementalism, instead), simply don't grasp these greater truths, either.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Sun May 26, 2013 at 06:32:16 PM PDT

  •  Agreed (9+ / 0-)

    It feels like we live in a plutocracy by the corporations and a kelptocracy by the part of government that wasn't in the constitution as one of the three branches.  We've just got really selfish people doing selfish things for selfish reasons.  If not for that, then they are people who are too scared to do their jobs correctly.  Common citizens and others are treated like the enemy of at the least people who should be punished, just because they can.  It's not a democracy.  I do not know how to put this genie back in the bottle.

    Shine like the humblest star.

    by ljm on Sun May 26, 2013 at 07:10:51 PM PDT

    •  We Live in a Democratic Oligarchy (8+ / 0-)

      which was created by the framers. It was always thus, outside The Great New Deal Anomaly caused by the pasting of an alien regulatory scheme onto the framers' system that gave us vast wealth injustice and panics and depressions every few years the entire rest of our history.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:35:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are, of course, selfish (7+ / 0-)

      capitalists, but the problem with the system we live in isn't moral, but structural.  People that make these decisions make them because, to stay afloat, they have to make increased profit every quarter to stay afloat with their stock holders.  If they don't, their business dies.  Indeed, the "good capitalist" is not someone who enjoys their money, but who reinvests it to make more money.  The problem with your analysis is that it leads one to believe that if we only persuaded people to have the right morals, to be altruistic and giving, we could solve this problem.  But this problem is internal to the structure of this system itself.  Without addressing those structural problems we can't solve these problems.

      •  There is mundane selfishness and hyper-selfishness (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenMother, Ed in Montana

        In the 50-70's managers were expected to maintain "good" profit rates, and not worry if they did not vacuum up every possible penny. The US has been so completely brainwashed since then, that we have a hard time even understanding the depth of the change.

        A manager was respected for having well-paid employees and a neat clean factory. They were friendly adversaries with Labor, like small town prosecutors and public defenders --both seen as having a role to play. Both were encouraged to be part of their local community.

        For a number of legal and cultural reasons this earlier, more holistic attitude was replaced with savage maximization. The goal was not to make "good" profits but obscene profits, and any penny wasted on salaries and benefits was bitter gall. The resulting off-shoring was backed up by financial trickery and the protection of the tax-paid US military--plus the knowledge the State Department was willing to go to bat for US businesses abroad and protect them by coup if necessary .

        We are living through the most artificial of politics, a deliberate open assault on the ability of the many to shape their future, or even understand their situation. Meanwhile global warming is but the symptom of our malady, since global ocean-acidification, desertification, urbanization, toxification, etc. would still threaten our survival even if CO2 issues were to magically disappear.

        I believe we can change the trajectory, but only by wrenching the hands of the plutocracy from the steering wheel of History. Recovering the viewpoint of less manipulated times helps expand our minds.

        Ultimately we are like the cows kept in by a thin strand of electric wire: if we test the fence we get a painful jolt but if we charge it we break through with amazing ease. The plutocracy's main method of control is to make us give up hope of any better ways of being, to convince us that things cannot get dramatically better. As that 2pac quote goes : "if you believe you can achieve". And a key part is rewriting history so the weirdness of our present hyper-selfishness is presented as normal.

  •  Clearly Stated, Thank You - N/T (5+ / 0-)

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Sun May 26, 2013 at 07:44:23 PM PDT

  •  while we are tipping and reccing (29+ / 0-)

    Here's a tip of the hat to the Rescue Rangers for spotlighting this diary.  Lord knows common sense like this hardly ever makes it onto the Rec List.

    "The Weatherdude prevails". Jeff Bridges is pretty cool, too.

    by Keith930 on Sun May 26, 2013 at 07:48:55 PM PDT

  •  Agreed. (23+ / 0-)

    What I commented in that other diary:

    We are morphing into Terry Gilliam's Brazil. (0+ / 0-)

    And I don't know what can stop it.  I had confidence that after the Bush administration was gone, there would be some kind of social reckoning of what had taken place, even if there was no legal reckoning, just as we owned up to the wrongness of things like the Japanese internment, slavery, public lynchings. Wounded Knee.  

    But it seems instead to have become part of who we are.  The ruling class sees nothing terribly wrong with the diminishment of civil rights, seeing it as something regrettable but necessary, the way some people in Gilliam's Brazil just thought that people like Buttle were regrettable glitches in a necessary system that otherwise worked just fine and dandy from their perspective.

  •  that's the best, most concise synopsis I've read (25+ / 0-)

    on this or any other publication regarding our status quo condition; and I'm not being hyperbolic.

    It is indeed disheartening, a psychic cardiectomy.  

    Obama, who trademarked "HOPE",  appears to be coming around like a sleepwalker who's been bumping into the neocon furniture all night and finally woke up to the realization.  But it's probably too late and, anyway, if experience is any guide he probably means it about as much as he means to address climate change.

    The greedheads are fully ensconced and have both parties (one fully in the bag, one in up to it's ass) in their thrall, to the point that they share staff like the swingers in the '70s shared STDs.

    Thanks for the cold slap in the face.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

    by nailbender on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:01:25 PM PDT

  •  Superb Thesis (18+ / 0-)

    ...but your analysis leaves out one major element: the reason why the very rich and powerful began disassembling  our economy in the 1970's.  If growth were truly limitless, they would have had no need to do this.

    In the 1970's it started becoming clear that there are very real limits to world economic growth.  Not all of the mechanisms were apparent (and they still aren't), but some of the most important are.  

    #1: Peak oil.  Marion King Hubbert had predicted in the 1950's that domestic US oil production would peak in 1970-71, and he was correct. By then other major oil producers, namely the middle east countries, had come on line and were more than able to take our place.  But the principle of a maximum in oil production was established.  OPEC and other countries fudging their numbers to keep reality vague does not change reality.  It merely keeps it vague.  The principals in the industry know that oil discovery peaked in the early 60's and was eclipsed by production in the early 80's, and that trend can have only one end result.

    #2:  The Limits to Growth.  The overwhelming ferocity and even more overwhelming intellectual bankruptcy of the backlash to this book--which made no predictions of resource depletion rates, but merely modeled global economic system dynamics based on feedbacks and finite resources--proves how profoundly it affected those in power.  

    In the 1970's the very real existence of economic limits became real enough to those running finance and industry, that I believe they started then on the project to dismantle society as it was and try to gain as many resources, as much power and wealth, as they possibly could.  I think the conservative long game started in earnest for that reason.

    •  I thought of it but time constraints inrtervened (8+ / 0-)

      I actually, when I first started writing this diary, thought about posting this video. I didn't because I have a couple of problems with it, though I think it holds up over all. Regardless, I am a steady stater and am meaning to write on the growth paradox of our monetary system at some point. I appreciate you bringing it up.

    •  I've wondered about this myself (0+ / 0-)

      but have wavered over the years regarding how much TPTB's actions have been deliberately inspired and motivated by recognizing TLTG.  I think a lot of them might have started out as you said but gave themselves other reasons after Julian Simon attempted to dismiss TLTG with The Ultimate Resource.  The massive implications of the end of economic growth would have been particularly appalling to them and I think they would have found Simon's erroneous prognostications a welcome justification for heading into immediate denial.

      Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

      by lehman scott on Mon May 27, 2013 at 04:55:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  there was handwriting on the wall (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ed in Montana

      back then for all who could to see.  Some translated it into "Get Mine While I Can".   Others read it and started learning how to live smarter and better with less.  

      Most couldn't read, and still can't.

      don't always believe what you think

      by claude on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:57:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Trajectroy Began to Change in the Mid 60's (4+ / 0-)

    not early 70's. And I'll accept earlier updates. But that's when the brainstorming about how our prehistoric system of government could be defeated by modern ownership forces got underway.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:39:35 PM PDT

    •  Yes, and the brainstorming precedes the 60s (9+ / 0-)

      But I'm referring to a specific mobilization. The formation of the Business Roundtable and other groups, a coordinated effort, or, more precisely, a new level of coordination amongst corporate leaders to pull together into a political force, the moves on the media and academia.

      This mobilization really didn't kick in until around 1972. There's a good book about it by Dan Clawson et al. called Dollars and Votes. It's not a complete picture but they do a good job of chronicling the mobilization and its successes with the 78 midterms and the election of Reagan, then the formation of the DLC.

      •  world war two ruined america (0+ / 0-)

        is just as tenable a thesis, and it doesnt really matter, but i essentially agree with you, pinpointing the conservative response coming after feeling threatened by the events of the 60s.

        read a preponderance of power by leffler, or even truman by mccullough to get my idea that ww2 ruined america. "no nation ever had the worldwide power of america after world war two." of course our factories prospered. absolute power, corrupts. we began killing our economic enemies rather than competing. our military budget went from 1 billion in 1939 to 50 billion in a decade.

        truth is the best ally.  nothing in nature ever proceeds in a straight line.

        drones are a cost effective way of generating enough new terrorists that calls to cut military spending will fail.

        by just want to comment on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:28:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Every generation thinks they are in the worst (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thomasina, Hammerhand, Pale Jenova, Sylv

    part of our history and then when they get older they talk about the good ole days.  We're a narcissistic species no different or better than previous or future generations.  Get over yourselves.   Moving forward is a stop and start proposition and even going back a step sometimes.  But we are going forward make no mistake.  But if we don't we'll destroy ourselves and it won't matter then.  

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:47:00 PM PDT

    •  I never said, nor do I think (15+ / 0-)

      we are in the worst part of our history. As a student of history, I am well aware that many of the scariest things we see have all happened before.

      Except for the ones that haven't. Here's some new things:

      -The mass surveillance system in place now, both government, private, and ever the tween shall meet, is unprecedented in history.

      - The ability to look at a satellite image of a wedding 1000 miles away, and enter a keystroke, then watch it explode. That's pretty new.

      - Changing the fucking weather. I'm pretty sure that's a fairly new development, with the possible exception being a Cherokee rain dance.

      - Let's see, anything else? Oh yeah, little boxes in every single home that broadcasts rapid fire color images which evokes a constant and repetitive triggering of the orienting response which induces a quasi-hypnotic state, partially immobilizing viewers and creating an addiction to the constant stimulation of two areas of the brain: the amygdala and the hippocampus, which partially disables the reasoning part of the brain thereby making viewers highly susceptible to suggestion.

      Every evil tyrant in history would have given anything to be able to get their hands on a television network. It's a good thing then that in our country, the networks are all owned and operated by Wall Street.

      •  and they pay to have it brought to them. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melfunction, Ed in Montana
        Let's see, anything else? Oh yeah, little boxes in every single home that broadcasts rapid fire color images which evokes a constant and repetitive triggering of the orienting response which induces a quasi-hypnotic state, partially immobilizing viewers and creating an addiction to the constant stimulation of two areas of the brain: the amygdala and the hippocampus, which partially disables the reasoning part of the brain thereby making viewers highly susceptible to suggestion.
        You must be familiar with the novel "Flicker",  by Theodore Roszak, 1991.

        I think American Civilization, such as it is, began its slow decline with the advent of mass broadcast TV in the 50s.  I had the dubious pleasure of witnessing it from its nascence, as my step-father was a studio engineer for the first network commercial TV station in NYC,  WABD-TV, Channel 5, 1951.

        I was six years old and had my own TV in my room in a fifth-floor walkup SoHo with the toilet in the hall.

        It took a few years,  but by 1955,  and the advent of Disney on TV around 1955, they had begun to figure  it out. Throw in a decade of the Mad Men,  and the rest is history......homogenized pudding culture.

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:32:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was not familiar with that novel (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          claude

          I'll check it out.

          Interesting that, your proximity to the birth of the beast. I had a similar exposure to mass media, but on a more local scale - my best friend's grandfather owned the radio station, which was next door to my elementary school. I went almost every day, hanging out, watching the DJ do his DJ thing from the corner of the studio. It instilled in me a particular interest in broadcast media and a kind of behind the scenes perspective that served me well later.

          Generally, I was always fascinated by the power of psychology and advertising, and so for the first year of university, that was my focus - psychology and advertising. That's where I was first exposed to people like Bernays and Rosser Reeves. I've learned a lot since then.

          I now believe that television is the most powerful force in our culture - both politically and socially. I used to think the most critical political issue - the issue that undermines all others - was our campaign bribery system.

          I now think that even that takes second chair to the power of mass media. The ability to shape people's minds, construct their world views, their sense of right and wrong, not to mention feeding their desires, fears, anger - there's never been anything like it.

          And it raises serious 1st Amendment issues. Does being able to manipulate the psyche of a viewer, which is what we're talking about here, constitute free speech?

          If television acts on you in ways that extend beyond the scope of communication, such as the orienting response, or subliminal, subconscious impressions,  is that free speech?

          •  let me toss one more quickie at you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ed in Montana

            the 3 legged stool that passes as "the Economy" these days:

            Advertising.  the desire machine that relentlessly bombards us with the latest whatever we MUST HAVE NOW!!!

            Finance:  renting money to consumers to satisfy that desire now at whatever interest rate that can be gouged out.

            Manufacturing:  producing the actual "whatever", which is merely ancillary to the process, sold almost at cost, as the real money is in all that interest from all that  money rented to satisfy all that burning desire.

            The only real take-away from "Flicker" is that concept of the flickering image as neuro-psycho gateway to manipulation that you alluded to.

            don't always believe what you think

            by claude on Tue May 28, 2013 at 04:58:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That was very well put, Claude. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              claude, smileycreek

              De Beers, the diamond cartel, came up at lunch today. Sparkley advertising creates the need for what nobody really needs, controlled release into the market keeps prices high, credit cards (or, if you're Newt Gingrich, your LOC at Tiffany's) binds the victim to you financially for a good long while.

              •  the "market" originally was a tool to distribute (0+ / 0-)

                goods, most of them essential.  The wealth created by this dynamic was ancillary. People used the tool.

                The dynamic, the "market",  has now become a tool to create wealth, for its own sake, and the actual goods and services are now mostly ancillary to that process.

                The resources of the planet are now mostly used to create wealth,  rather than to satisfy essential need.  In essence, the commonweal is being squandered so Paris Hilton can have a new gown she doesn't really need.

                Have a nice future.

                don't always believe what you think

                by claude on Tue May 28, 2013 at 08:21:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Climate change, the coming (15+ / 0-)

      water crisis, and the energy crisis are unprecedented in human history.  Our historical moment isn't a matter of one more generation merely thinking that it's in the worse situation in human history.  The economic and existential impact of these things will be profound.

    •  I agree with you. It is two steps forward and (0+ / 0-)

      one step back along the road of history. It is hard to see the trajectory when you are actually on the road. Only 40 or 50 years later can we see any progress.

      You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Rabindranath Tagore

      by Thomasina on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:18:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The most overly simplistic repsonse ever? (10+ / 1-)

      Or the ABSOLUET most overly simplistic response?

      Not at all times have the rich and powerful concentrated so much wealth.

      NEVER before have the lower and middle classes been so pacified by entertainment while concurrently being  misinformed and manipulated by sophisticated, instant, mass propaganda.

      NEVER before has life on this planet faced even the remotest degree of the threats of resource depletion and climate change we now face.

      NEVER before have the rich and powerful had so much law enforcement and military wherewithal so as to feel themselves impervious and unaccountable to the rest of the world.

      NEVER before has individually deliverable destructive force been so widely accessible.

      NEVER before have we been at the stage where advances in genetics, robotics and nanotechnology made possible an exponential growth in virtually undetectable, unstoppable delivery systems miniaturized biochemical-mechanical weapons.

      Get a clock and a compass. You have absolutely no idea what time of day it is or where you are.

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:57:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, and we all go to meetings with Soros (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Hepburn, emelyn, Sylv

    Your concerns are real. The wealth gap is horrible, destructive, and unfair. Climate change, well it might be too late. (But I have hope.)

    But the rest, the meetings where they all get together and decide to make the majority of the country poor to serve their greed, reads like bad fantasy.

    •  A Reading Suggestion (16+ / 0-)

      "The History of the Standard Oil Company", by Ida Tarbell.  If you want an account, supported by documents and interviews of the principals, of how a great American company came to power and dictated the terms of prosperity for whole regions of the country.  If you don't think the major capital owners in our contemporary world don't have a huge amount of control over the economy, and the governments, you have your eyes shut.  The silver lining is that even the Kochs have their work cut out to be as effective as John D. Rockefeller was.

    •  I wish it were. (17+ / 0-)

      I don't know what meetings you are referring to. I didn't mention any. But the economics of high unemployment to both depress the labor market and reduce inflation are well known, as is the adherence of those principles by the Wall Street economics establishment.

      But if it's some super secret meeting where the banksters conspired to make us poorer you're after, try this one:

      A recent article in the Wall Street Journal showed that most of the people who lost jobs in this most recent recession found new ones at lower pay. Over a third of these people had to take pay cuts of at least 20 percent. Pay cuts. We haven't experienced real, sustained pay cuts across a large swath of Americans since the 1930s.

      But this isn't just a tragedy; it is in fact a conspiracy. The people in charge aren't just failing to prevent this from happening. They want it to happen. You see, pay cuts for workers mean that prices as a whole in the economy don't rise. There's less inflation, which means that banks and creditors make more money.

      What do I mean by a conspiracy? Well, you can read all about it. It's right in the transcripts of the December 2005 Federal Open Market Committee, which is the committee of central bankers that run America (more on that below). In that meeting, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher is complaining about the enormous quantity of Chinese goods flowing into America. He points out that this is creating 'disinflation', i.e. lowering prices and wages for Americans.

      Only, he isn't complaining that there are too many Chinese imports, he is frustrated there aren't enough imports. Even though China has built special export-only ports to ship goods out of China, he says, the ports at "Long Beach and Northwest" can't absorb what China wants to sell us, because of work rules (i.e. unions). This is a huge problem, Fisher continues, because it is blocking his CEO contacts from outsourcing as much work abroad as quickly as possible. They cannot "exploit China" fast enough.

    •  What makes you think (6+ / 0-)

      they are so disorganized and unsociable as to not get together routinely at confabs of the rich and talk about the issues and opportunities and collaborations only they share as the uber-rich?

      To be sure, most of is couched in sensible, ration stuff that they, the only responsible and deservedly most powerful planet, must do. But collectively it is also incredibly manipulative, self-serving and destructive to the rest of the population and the planet.

      These are people's who life's work and accomplishment demonstrate that they are consummate schemers, organizers, networkers, socializers, etc., in society. When they band together around their common interests, there power is awesome.

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:04:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You sound naive (0+ / 0-)

        I'm just a regular guy with a job, but the boardroom isn't like Mars to me. I know people in there. Trends conservative, sure, but the people I know happen to be liberal.  No one would dare suggest dismantling the social network or being in favor of keeping the populace poor. It's simply fantasy and naive fantasy at that.  It's a notion that can discredit the rest of the worthy progressive movement.

        It's why OWS falls apart with the masses once it reaches too far beyond the wealth gap. Everyone can support doing something about income inequity but once people start making up Scooby Doo episodes about people who have jobs in business, people come to think of the whole thing as ridiculous.

        •  I worked in there (9+ / 0-)

          for fifteen years, in both private and public companies. So please, don't tell me I'm naive.

          If you don't think there are forces that want to dismantle the social network, that they haven't existed since the moment it was created, then you are simply completely out of touch with that level of self-interest.

          And the reason why it continues to gain power every single day is because there are people who don't think it is or can happen or that they can do anything about it. Kind of leaves the rest of us struggling with a mighty heavy burden.

          Apparently you've missed the arc of the past thirty years or you think it's just an anomaly or not as bad as the charts demonstrate. Scooby Doo was a cartoon. This is real. Please pay attention. There's a difference, and people are counting on you to tell it.

          Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

          by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:21:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You've never heard (9+ / 0-)

      of the Chamber of Commerce?  

      Of course they meet and plan how to reduce the bottom line, and they're all very well aware that labor is their most expensive item.  Anything it takes to reduce that cost, they'll do.  they've been doing it.  Just look around.  People are overhead, nothing more.

  •  Excellent narrative here. Thank you so much. (9+ / 0-)

    We are really missing this narrative in our society.

    I read MC's diary and liked it, but it rang hollow or tasted sour or something like that, as I see things much like you - pretty much exactly like you, James.

    The clarity and distinct lack of bullshit in this diary is so welcome by me. Thanks man.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:59:35 PM PDT

  •  deformed, disfigured, defaced and damaged (12+ / 0-)

    is how i've seen our america since 2007 when i lost my job and now 6 years later i am just one of the human pieces of  trash our society has no use for..........wtf

    ''A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.'' FDR

    by lostinamerica on Sun May 26, 2013 at 09:12:43 PM PDT

  •  Societies based on "haves" and "have-nots" haven't (10+ / 0-)

    gone extinct.  From feudalism to the American and French Revolutions to today, it's all a continuous struggle against the notion of social class and privilege.

    The difference between "haves" and "have-nots" is obvious in their access to income and wealth, power and influence, education and opportunity.

    There's no mystery in one set of humans attempting to dominate others.  Look around.  You might find such tendancies right under your nose as you read, from time to time.  Whorules, who wins, who benefits, position and status seem to matter enough so that the have-nots need to organize themselves for protection against predatory haves.  

    At the same time, those who seek advantage will always react to offset any perceived advancement on the part of have-nots.  Today the haves want to reverse the progress made by have-nots over the last 100 years.  It's history repeating with the added complications introduced by modern technology.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Sun May 26, 2013 at 09:13:59 PM PDT

  •  An operational definition of the golden age (11+ / 0-)

    Look at a graph of the Gini Index for the United States. This one, for example.

    By this measure, wealth in the United States was most equitably distributed in 1968. It's been all downhill since then.

    “Americans are fighters. We're tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one - no one - can stop us. ”-- Elizabeth Warren

    by Positronicus on Sun May 26, 2013 at 09:39:47 PM PDT

    •  Which is exactly why, when the rest of us (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eru, mkor7

      are talking about last three decades of Reaganomics, Gooserock talks about 45 years.

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:05:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  From time to time I not only rec and hotlist (10+ / 0-)

    a diary, but add it to my bookmarks toolbar and to my bookmarks.  

    This is one of those diaries.

    I often say I'm neither pessimist nor optimist as history teaches neither outcome happens with some agency.  Perhaps it's my readings in Karl Marx, but it's the struggle to make things better and right that is of paramount importance.

    And to be effective in that struggle requires a clear-eyed look at reality.  

    Thank you for that look.

    Is it courageous to propose tax cuts but not identify a single tax expenditure to rein in? Is it courageous to target your deepest cuts on the poorest Americans, who vote in lower numbers and provide little in campaign contributions?

    by caul on Sun May 26, 2013 at 09:40:04 PM PDT

  •  There's a concerted effort to rescue the site (10+ / 0-)

    from reality again.  It happens every time a majority of users get upset about the betrayals of the party by some or many of our elected officials, spokespersons, or power-brokers.

    I had really high hopes after the last election season as the momentum in the country built and even what I thought was a good chance to carry that wave through to the midterms.  But it's mostly fallen apart for several reasons.

    A certain amount of cheerleading isn't bad; most people have to have some sense of hope in order to act.  Fear, depending on its strength, can work either way, moving from extreme reaction to shutting down.  It's a tough balance in trying to control opinion and motivation.  When does optimism become delusion or when does fear create inaction.  There's no one size fits all certainly.  But relying too heavily on one or the other or both can have serious consequences for the well-being of individuals, if the entire concept of the individual hasn't already been destroyed in any meaningful sense but rather become merely superficial differences.

    One of the big problems here and throughout the nation is that no one knows what to do about current problems and decisions that are made today that will affect tomorrow.  I also wonder about the trajectory of the site itself if the change we want fails to materialize through our present actions.  It could transition into a social media site of groups with shared interests with online friends but without a primary political thrust other than general liberal values.  I could probably live with that, even pay for it, since I like a lot of people here and find them very interesting.

    "It's May! It's May! The lusty month of May! Those dreary vows that ev'ryone makes, Ev'ryone breaks. Ev'ryone makes divine mistakes! The lusty month of May!" - Lerner and Lowe

    by blueoasis on Sun May 26, 2013 at 09:41:16 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this (16+ / 0-)

    diary.  I was horrified by the other diary.  This for two reasons.  First, I belong to the school of thought that holds that we have to actually understand the source of problems to resolve them.  Second, that diary reflected willful blindness regarding economic, energy, and ecological issues.  The diarist sings "yay 3d printing", apparently completely unaware of the potentially devastating effect this technology might very well have on manufacturing jobs.  Now don't get me wrong.  I'm not anti-technology and am even a bit of a tech geek.  The problem with the diary was that it seemed completely blind to how the disappearance of manufacturing jobs has increasingly pushed people into poverty, restricted them to temp and service jobs, and has been used as a tool to disciplining labor by compelling us to make more and more concessions just to keep whatever pittance of a wage and benefits might be left lest they automate work or outsource jobs.  No, none of that is mentioned.  It's just "yay 3d printing!  Merica rulz!"  Does this diarist have the faintest clue that the decline of jobs due to outsourcing, temping, and technology is a huge part of what has generated the resentful right and rendered us unable to respond meaningfully to any of the issues we need to respond to?  Does s/he have any clue that the stagnation of wages wrought by these things has played a huge role in the rise of the social conservative and religious right that is the source of so many of our problems?  In desperate economic situations folks conclude that "only a god can save us".  But yay 3d printing!

    Perhaps the more serious problem with that diary, however, was it's complete blindness to the gravity of the ecological and energy crisis we're facing.  The droughts and destruction that will occur as climate change intensifies will have tremendous economic consequences and will generate wars as a result of people forced to migrate and fighting over limited resources.  Don't even get me started about the impact of water struggles that are quickly approaching.  As fossil fuels increasingly become depleted we'll witness similar impact on economy and more war as well.  We are face a boondoggle of huge proportions and are not served well by happy happy joy joy pep school rallies.  Failure to understand where our economic woes are coming from and just how serious the climate/energy crisis is spells disaster for the future.  Willful blindness is of no help here.

    •  You make some decent observations. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TealTerror, claude

      I do have to say though, that I have never noticed that Muskegon Critic was particularly unrealistic.

      I'll not even begin to judge him based upon one Diary.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:13:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most of the manufacturing jobs that might (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Patango, Pale Jenova, ladybug53

      be affected have already gone, haven't they? I think making the manufacturing process cheaper and less labor intensive may make it less advantageous to have things manufactured overseas.

      Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:35:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's certainly truth to that, but there (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TracieLynn

        is absolutely no reason at this point that the people and/or the low wages and poor working conditions can't be brought back as well. The worse the concentration of wealth becomes, and it is still increasing at a dangerous clip, the more possible this becomes (and actually is occurring already) every day.

        Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

        by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:09:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Certainly when the cost of fuel goes up (0+ / 0-)

        it makes China less attractive to manufacture our trinkets. When gas passes $4 per gallon, cheap plastic crap from China becomes expensive plastic crap from China.

        Thus a smart manufacturer would have domestic factories to manufacture locally. (How many are smart is a different question.)

        And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

        by Pale Jenova on Mon May 27, 2013 at 10:20:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's not the point. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, raboof, aliasalias, mrkvica, cslewis

        Yes, they're gone and are not coming back.  The point is that celebrating innovation without addressing the wage gap and finding ways to provide jobs for people with a livable wage is both callous and blind to the problems we're face.  That diary was extremely tone deaf.  The diarist seemed to think that the problem is pessimism, rather than genuine thought about the problems we're facing.  Frankly that diary made me more pessimistic.  With blind progressives like these...

    •  I thought similarly... (7+ / 0-)
      Perhaps the more serious problem with that diary, however, was it's complete blindness to the gravity of the ecological and energy crisis we're facing.  The droughts and destruction that will occur as climate change intensifies will have tremendous economic consequences and will generate wars as a result of people forced to migrate and fighting over limited resources.  Don't even get me started about the impact of water struggles that are quickly approaching.  As fossil fuels increasingly become depleted we'll witness similar impact on economy and more war as well.  We are face a boondoggle of huge proportions and are not served well by happy happy joy joy pep school rallies.  Failure to understand where our economic woes are coming from and just how serious the climate/energy crisis is spells disaster for the future.

      I think there is place sometimes, however, for pointing out both the existing and potential strengths and capabilities we possess to deal with our multiple dilemmas.  The bleakness of our situation can all too easily lead us into a state of catalysis, if not outright paralysis, that can inhibit our motivation to make any attempts at systemic transformation - - the magnitude and scope of the task can just be so damn overwhelming at times.

      IMO, reactions to this cognition fall into three camps, the first being exemplified by The Age of Limits Conference that took place this weekend wherein we'd best just throw in the towel and comfort ourselves in mutual grief over the inevitable and certain collapse of civilization (which is not to dismiss the validity of this response; I suppose that if and when collapse does occur, I probably will have wished that I participated).

      At the other end of the spectrum you have technological optimists like Peter Diamandis who, in an apparent attempt to channel the late Julian Simon, looks at the exponential growth of select electronic technologies and wrongly translates those trends to being representative of our natural and eventual approach to all our problems across the board.  This view was best exemplified in the OP here by the commenter who said

      Those 3-D printers are wicked interesting.

      If one can build solar panels with them cheaply and quickly, that takes care of the energy crunch.

      to which your response thusly
      Willful blindness is of no help here.
      is totally appropriate and called-for.

      In the middle of all this you have the rest of us who passionately want to do whatever we can in our own limited lives and time to affect whatever changes to transform the system... all the while that damn dog of collapse is nipping at our heels, both institutionally... and psychologically.

      At times the occasional words of encouragement and optimism can have a very beneficial effect and outcome in this sometimes seemingly overdetermined (in an Althusserian sense) daily struggle.

      Just my wordy and rambling two cents from a new arrival here (although I've been an avid reader for many years).

      Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

      by lehman scott on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:20:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nice reference to Althusser! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lehman scott, mkor7, mrkvica, cslewis

        Since we're talking about ideology, there are different types of inspiration.  There is inspiration that serves the interests of the ideological state apparatus by blinding us to the problems we face and more or less repressing our ability to speak of them, and there is inspiration that is clearly aware of those problems and soldiers on, finding ways to address them.  The diary in question was an example of the former, not the latter.

        •  A very insightful observation and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JosephK74

          important distinction, JosephK!  I think old Louis would have a great deal to say about what is happening on the ideological battles that are being waged around Climate Change these days.  It's been decades since I read For Marx; I wish I had the time to reread it right now, I think a lot of his insights would be quite useful.

          Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

          by lehman scott on Mon May 27, 2013 at 12:29:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Mental Illness Very Much Alive And Not Being (0+ / 0-)

    addressed:

    Father accused of putting baby in freezer jailed

    http://www.komonews.com/...

    The father's family and friends were high fiving the father and his new baby girl just a few weeks ago on facebook.

    https://www.facebook.com/...

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:07:14 PM PDT

  •  Great diary! I'm so glad for the diaries/comments (18+ / 0-)

    sparked by my "Twilight of an Empire" diary.

    I tipped and rec'd both Muskegon's and yours as well.

    I want to make a few points here that I also made in the comments on Muskegon's diary, but I entered that diary too late for much of anyone to read my comment.

    America is being reborn, for sure -- we are in an era of rapid and fundamental change -- but the question is whether the new America that emerges will be something much better or much worse. I think in order for it to be reborn into something better rather than worse, the following things need to happen:

    1. All Americans need to become aware of the ways in which the country has declined in recent decades. Most notably, the decline of infrastructure, manufacturing, the concept of the public good, and the broad middle class. Awareness of the ways in which this society is getting worse is critical in order to begin to improve those aspects of America.

    2. All Americans need to revisit the question of what is the fundamental vision of America. Who are we as a people? What unites us together? What is our national ethos, our calling as a nation? I would argue that opportunity for all to advance as individuals, and the advancement of humanity collectively, are (supposed to be) core American values. And I think the decline of the middle class and the declining support by government for scientific research and infrastructure/technology development reveal that our government has moved away from supporting the core values that made this country great. Americans who care about those values need to demand that politicians stand up for them.

    3. All Americans need to educate themselves about the inherent flaws of capitalism as we know it, especially in an era in which robotics and artificial intelligence are going to take away more and more middle class jobs. If we think we have an unemployment crisis now, it could be much, much worse in a couple more decades, because technology is advancing at a faster pace than the evolution of the human brain and education. In a world in which most of the good jobs that will remain will be for software developers and robotics engineers, most people will neither possess the brainpower nor the specialized, expensive education necessary to do those jobs.

    The fundamental economic problem America (and the world) faces is the ever-decreasing need for human labor except for a few jobs that require a very high level of intelligence and specialized training, and a large number of low-wage service sector jobs that can't support families. We could easily end up in a situation a few decades from now where the 1% own the supercomputers and the robots that do all the work, and live off of rent-seeking; and there will be a small middle class of engineers and programmers; and everyone else will be in poverty because the rich won't need to hire anyone for anything except to be personal servants (if they'd prefer human servants rather than robots for that too!). Such an economy would be untenable for the majority of people, yet it may be what we're moving towards, unless our economic system dramatically changes.

    And the challenge is, our governmental system today is less able to bring about big change than it used to be in the past. It has become sclerotic and utterly paralyzed to deal with anything that requires politicians to look beyond either (1) the next election or (2) their lobbyist's checkbook. This is the most troubling thing of all -- the lack of visionary leadership or ability of such leaders to actually get anything done within the system today -- since big changes are needed in any process of rebirth.

    What America needs now is courageous leaders who think ahead and put aside selfish motives, and a renewed commitment to core values of human decency, opportunity, and progress that generates shared prosperity. In other words, a great renewal of civic virtue.

    The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

    by Eric Stetson on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:14:09 PM PDT

    •  As the private sector continues to shed workers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melfunction, organicus

      while increasing production, we must look to creating middle class employment thru government. There is a great deal of useful work to be done for our communities and country that doesn't provide corporations with a short term profit. We need to tax corporations to create these jobs which will benefit them by providing paying customers for products and services.

      Easy right?

    •  Thank you for these insights. (5+ / 0-)

      I read both diaries as well and agree with ideas in both. You're comment is an excellent synopsis of where to go from here.

      What America needs now is courageous leaders who think ahead and put aside selfish motives, and a renewed commitment to core values of human decency, opportunity, and progress that generates shared prosperity. In other words, a great renewal of civic virtue.
      I would add: it's important to both assess reality AND provide hope. It's not an either/or but AND.

      To provide hope and a realistic way forward I think we need to focus on the cooperative movement that is taking hold in some communities. Mondragon. Evergreen. Innovative economic models driven by ambitious, industrious individuals acting together to drive change in their own community.

      The bright, college educated 20-somethings who can't find jobs will be the leaders of this new movement. They are waking up and thinking hard about their future.

      We need a functional infrastructure to support these new models and that's where we need to focus future government initiatives.

      "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

      by annan on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:56:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent comment. Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lehman scott, Eric Stetson

      Gives me a lot to think about and I appreciate that.

      "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

      by 3goldens on Mon May 27, 2013 at 11:07:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent analysis (5+ / 0-)

    The game is always rigged, and always has been. Reading a history of congress is like deja vu all over again. But for a little while we were working to change that as a society - not yet just, not yet for everyone, but aiming for it. And that has, since Reagan, been deliberately dismantled.

    Another difference is that the earth is changing radically, and we are able to do nothing since the business interests don't give a damn.

    Not even good business practice - sacrificing the long-term planning that makes for good business, in favor of short-term greed.

    Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

    by ramara on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:38:35 PM PDT

  •  From the 1978 remake (with Donald Sutherland) (0+ / 0-)

    "The press just doesn’t know how to handle flat-out untruths," ~Paul Krugman

    by Nimbus on Sun May 26, 2013 at 11:09:57 PM PDT

  •  The Powell memo will have been more influential (9+ / 0-)

    … than the Communist Manifesto, at this rate.

    The Powell memo was certainly instrumental in launching what might be called the "Great Plutocratic Cultural Counterrevolution." And its author was rewarded with an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    (The latter sort of thing is becoming a tradition. The DOJ / WH torture memos arguably also marked a turning point in U.S. history. Torture memo author Jay Bybee has been rewarded with an appointment to the U.S. Ninth Circuit.)

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Mon May 27, 2013 at 01:08:47 AM PDT

  •  1950s-60s America for all its social faults (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem, 3goldens

    was probably the best place for the average person to live in all of world history.

    In general your diary is pretty much what I was thinking when I read that other thread.

    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Mon May 27, 2013 at 01:44:22 AM PDT

    •  If by "average person" you mean a white male, (9+ / 0-)

      you are correct. But for African Americans and women it was not so great. I think you are romanticizing that era.

      You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Rabindranath Tagore

      by Thomasina on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:11:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's precisely it. Diary expresses Upper-Middle- (4+ / 0-)

        -Class ultra-radical white malaise.

        Many people who think and write like this, aren't even aware that part of their malaise comes from the same social-cognitive source, unfortunately, as the conservative malaise.

        "It ain't the Good Ol' America."

        Good Old America, my ass. Those who've never suffered from racism and discrimination need to at least understand what it means to be at the butt end of it.

        And how important it is that American society as a whole keeps moving away from bigotry.

        I was in the Bay Area as a foreign high school student in 1979-1980. I can't say I suffered, but the farcical character of Fez in the 70's show - just about nails it.

        Everyone who wasn't a hetero-normative Anglo white was perceived as inferior or stereotypical. And no one - including the teachers - could pronounce my name to save their lives.

        That - again - was in the San Francisco Bay Area. I can only imagine what it was in other places.

        Then when back to America, working in 1997-8 in New Mexico, suddenly everybody could pronounce my name right.

        So sorry, the improvements in America didn't stop in 1970. Racism, bigotry and various walls and ceilings of glass and more opaque materials are not nuisances to be ignored, just because the diarist has picked a silly flamewar with someone, and has never suffered from them himself.

        IMHO - still - racism is the worst evil in human society. America has come a long way on this (and similar prejudices) during this past generation, and it's a huge deal.

        •  Are you kidding? (6+ / 0-)

          diaries that reduce politics to cultural politics are those of the upper middle class, not diaries that talk about climate change and economy.  Thank god for the civil rights movement and the strides we've made; that doesn't change the fact that our core problems today are of an economic and ecological nature...  Even our cultural problems.

          •  Rinse and Repeat: Racism+Bigotry are the worst. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hammerhand, Lost and Found

            You might disagree, but centuries of history might teach you differently.

            Even w.r.t. to climate, wars caused by racism and bigotry represent a huge CO2 emissions blight, and set back by decades any climate mitigation efforts in the regions where they take place. More generally, racism causes a needless waste of resources. The outsourcing of cheap labor and environmental damage is also intimately associated with racism (or with the corporations' counting on racism among its customers).

            And yes, diaries that sideline racism and bigotry as a secondary issue - not to be even mentioned when writing high and mighty about the nation's and Humanity's future - tend to be written by upper-middle-class white men.

            •  Racism and bigotry (5+ / 0-)

              intensify when economic conditions get worse.  One of the reasons we've seen such a rise in religious fundamentalism and bigotry in the last 40 years has been the decline of economic opportunity for the working and middle class.  The right has used this as a strategy to build resentment and scapegoating against other groups.  If you truly care about fighting bigotry, then these issues must be front and center.  Otherwise you're doing the equivalent of taking cold medicine for a cold:  you're treating the symptom not the causes.

              These things will only get worse as climate change, the energy crisis, and fights over water resources continue to intensify.  Moreover, bigotry doesn't matter much for a hill of beans if you can't live and support yourself.  I place issues of economy front and center not despite my concern for issues of bigotry, but because issues of bigotry are central things I wish to fight.  The most perplexing thing about your response throughout this thread, however, is why you don't see that these things aren't mutually exclusive but that we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

              •  Right. So why is the diary neglecting to mention (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lost and Found, Hammerhand

                racism and bigotry?

                Maybe because these teeny issues don't fit his narrative.

                •  Or perhaps because the (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  aliasalias, mrkvica

                  other diary completely neglected the issues this diary does discuss and they are core issues.  It's hard to push a rosy picture of how wonderful we're doing as a country when the wealth gap is larger than its ever been, wages have been stagnant for decades and haven't kept up with price of living, and there are technological, energy based, and ecological dynamics in play that will make the economic turmoil we're currently living through look like paradise.  Nobody can say everything at once, Assaf, and I would humbly suggest that your behavior here, if indicative of your behavior in general, does far more damage to your cause than help.

                  •  Nothing "humble" about your suggestion. (0+ / 0-)

                    Your tone strengthens my initial impression of the diary: rather than continue a worthy debate, it only devolved it into a flame war.

                    I'm out of this conversation. Have a good day.

                    •  Tone? (11+ / 0-)
                      This diary is like an ALL CAPS (6+ / 0-)

                      purity-trolling comment.

                      All of us here know about corporate power and its evils.

                      But this text borders on Illuminati conspiracy theories.

                      The irony is that this diary written on the InterTubes - perhaps the clearest demonstration of its demonstrably false main premise.

                      We could also do without the venomous and derogatory attitude towards Muskegon Critic, one of the finest members of this community. He has done nothing and written nothing to deserve this.

                      IMHO, now he deserves an apology.

                      Look, I like Muskegon Critic. And I like you too. I just disagreed with some of his analysis. I don't think I was even remotely venomous and derogatory. But if it came off that way, I apologize.

                      But I do think people isolate themselves here too much. And I know there's no way to point that out without offending some people. I am also genuinely sympathetic with people who just can't deal with all the horrors of the modern world all the time.

                      But, while I wholeheartedly believe that we can, in fact, solve even our worst problems, I don't believe we can do so by pretending they don't exists.

                      We need everyone to work together and fight to fix this mess our leaders have put us in. So if you want to bury your head in the sand, that's your right. Just don't expect us to make it easy for you.

                    •  I thought I was (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      BentLiberal, 3goldens, cslewis

                      being perfectly polite and meeting you on middle ground here.  You're the one with the ugly tone and attributing malicious bigoted motives to the diarist.

      •  I was going to point this out (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lost and Found, Sylv

        but saw your comment.

        The 1950's were the white male heyday, for sure. (Of course, unlimited fossil fuel consumption and lead in the environment extracted hidden costs, even for the white males.)

        And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

        by Pale Jenova on Mon May 27, 2013 at 10:22:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You did see where I wrote... (0+ / 0-)

        'for all its social faults'?

        That is what I am referring to...

        The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

        by fToRrEeEsSt on Mon May 27, 2013 at 12:24:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Funny how "good old days" = "piner's childhood" (0+ / 0-)

      For every value of "days."

      A lot of these guys cannot seem to separate "I had no cares as a child" from "The decade in which I was a child." Therefore, their childhood decade was the best time ever in which to be alive.

      Good-Ole-Dayz piners are overwhelmingly white, straight, male and conventionally Christian. The times they long for were great if you were loaded with privilege.

      Harlan Ellison routinely bitches at everyone who was stupid enough to have been born after the 1940s, the greatest decade ever in which to be a (white male) kid when everything was perfect and anyone who doesn't know about the comic strips or racist radio plays or 5-cent candy from that time isn't worth talking to.

      My response to 50s nostalgistas? "Two words. Emmet. Till." To 80s piners? "I was a grown woman under Reagan, Junior, not listening to Raffi tapes in my crib - and it was a terrible time if you were aware of what was going on."

      Thank God, the Bob Fosse Kid is here! - Colin Mochrie

      by gardnerhill on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:43:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Half Full or Half Empty? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thomasina, Sylv

    I guess its all down to the old adage

    Some look at the glass and see it half full
    Some look at the glass and see it half empty

    Me?

    I just ask whose round it is ;-)

  •  Personally, I believe that... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkestHour, 3goldens, greengemini

    ...the US of A is slowly turning into some kind of mixture of Putin's Russia (for its oligarchy and potemkin democracy) and Brazil (for its rich/poor dichotomy, relative economic free for all and mild anarchy).

    There will be both good and bad things; some folks will benefit; others will suffer. Most will get used to it & will take it in stride, because the world is what it is.

    I was struck recently by the fact the the science fiction author who best predicted our times was not Isaac Asimov or Arthur C Clarke (whom I both loved) but Philip K Dick.

    OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

    by Lupin on Mon May 27, 2013 at 03:38:55 AM PDT

  •  Comes down to optimism vs pessimism. (7+ / 0-)

    As much as I hate some of the things happening, or not changing, today...I can find examples of people writing about the same issues 100 years ago, etc. We need to inspire and move forward.

    I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

    by GoGoGoEverton on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:01:34 AM PDT

    •  Comes down to having a clock and a compass (9+ / 0-)

      to know what times it is and where you are.

      Very few times have the rich and powerful concentrated so much wealth, including feudal Europe. The times they have have been the most turbulent in history.

      NEVER before have the lower and middle classes been so pacified by entertainment while concurrently being  misinformed and manipulated by sophisticated, instant, mass propaganda.

      NEVER before has life on this planet faced even the remotest degree of the threats of resource depletion and climate change we now face.

      NEVER before have the rich and powerful had so much law enforcement and military wherewithal so as to feel themselves impervious and unaccountable to the rest of the world.

      NEVER before has individually deliverable destructive force been so widely accessible.

      NEVER before have we been at the stage where advances in genetics, robotics and nanotechnology made possible an exponential growth in virtually undetectable, unstoppable delivery systems miniaturized biochemical-mechanical weapons.

      The notion that we can compare today to decades and centuries past in such superficial ways with any accuracy is childishly "optimistic."

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:14:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  NEVER before in world civilization have... (3+ / 0-)

        ...ordinary people in so many parts of the world, expected to live long past 80 years.

        ...several entire continents lived in peace for 60+ years. And counting.

        ...politicians and national leaders everywhere been less worshipped and feared, and more vulnerable to the public's opinion of them.

        ...ordinary people across the world been able to successfully organize and help people in remote places, without the guidance and control of governments or dominant economic interests

        ...the expectation of peace, respect, basic rights and a decent living been so universally accepted.

        ...the awareness and understanding of the need to respect the environment around us, and to limit its depletion, been so mainstream across so many cultures.

        Should I go on?

        •  Which "several continents" are we talking about? (5+ / 0-)

          Actually, just name one.

          ...ordinary people in so many parts of the world, expected to live long past 80 years.
          Life expectancy is above 80 in many countries. Unfortunately, the US isn't one of them.
          ...politicians and national leaders everywhere been less worshipped and feared, and more vulnerable to the public's opinion of them.
          Not everywhere, of course.
          ...ordinary people across the world been able to successfully organize and help people in remote places, without the guidance and control of governments or dominant economic interests
          Is this one a joke?
          ...the expectation of peace, respect, basic rights and a decent living been so universally accepted.
          Is this one a joke too? It's true that respect is on an upswing. That's good. But peace and decent living are in rapid decline.
          ...the awareness and understanding of the need to respect the environment around us, and to limit its depletion, been so mainstream across so many cultures.
          This appears to be true among the peoples of the world. But among the parasite class, the world is still just a commodity to be exploited.

          Look dude. I am more than aware that there are positive developments in the world. I am personally involved in the local farming movement, which is one big festival of positivity. Tolerance towards difference is increasing. All good.

          But unfortunately, there are forces working against us that threaten, or have already harmed our chance to sustain civilization as we have known it.

          This isn't pessimism. It's a fucking fact. If you want to bury your head in the sand and blow happy thoughts up your ass, I'm sympathetic. But then you don't get to caqll yourself reality based.

          •  I don't want to bury my head. I also don't need (0+ / 0-)

            any of your redundant condescension. Whether towards me or towards others.

            Between Eric Stetson's diary and Muskegon, Critic's there was an interesting debate. I recc'ed them both.

            You came in and muddied it into a flamewar. And your responses to comments continue the trend.

            Congratulations! As they said, there's no better way to waste time and energies than Daily Kos flamewars. And as your diary's rec status suggests, these wars still have get high ratings here.

            Now let's go and tell others how to make the world a better place. Yeah, right ;(

  •  When I think of all the things I see (4+ / 0-)

    going or gone wrong in this country, I am, to some degree, overwhelmed. I have noticed many of the things you list here, and see them as parts of the whole, a process of regression suffered by the lower and middle classes.

    This

    But utopian perfection has never defined what made up the US's heyday. Trajectory does.
    distills all those disparate parts down to a simple statement.

    Our collective trajectory is undeniably downward. Both sides of the political divide see it and acknowledge it, but only one side can see the reasons for the decline. Both sides want things to change, but only one side has anything like a realistic grasp of why things are as they are, or how to reverse the downward course.

    An excellent diary. Thank you.

    Trickle-down theory; the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows. - J.K. Galbraith

    by Eric Twocents on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:47:05 AM PDT

  •  "This shit, like, totally harshes your buzz." (3+ / 0-)

    No, this shit like totally saps your will to survive and paralyzes you and fills you with stress that, like, can kill you man.

    I am all for the selective blinders because no single person is going to save this world and we as individuals can only do what we can. All the rest of the stuff that you have NO FUCKING CONTROL OVER is still going on and it makes no sense to focus on the futility of it all.

    •  The people engaged in seeing reality and (4+ / 0-)

      dealing with it responsibly, doing the things that are discussed in Yes! Magazine for example, are not focusing on the futility of it all. When it sounds like they are is when they are weary from having to cope with all the different kind of deniers, including those who should know better but pretend for a variety of reasons, mindlessly claiming that it isn't so bad that we should make any drastic changes... Now THAT is discouraging.

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:17:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not talking about denial. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lost and Found, Sylv

        I'm talking about the condescension of this diary.

        The quote I chose from the diary says it all. That is a nasty and flippant way to react to what was a thoughtful perspective put forward by Muskegon Critic, whose diary didn't by any means discount or scorn the diary it referenced. Muskegon Critic wasn't riding high on some sort of denial-buzz. That person lives in MICHIGAN. Fercrissakes. Not a lot of buzz to be harshed there.

        Tone makes a difference.

        •  "focusing on the futility of it all" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens

          was what I responded to, as well as those throughout this diary who were reacting by saying that people in all times felt as if things were going to hell in a handbasket, ergo ipso facto no need to be so concerned. There are many, many reasons why today is completely unlike the previous imposters which only hoped to be so dangerous for the average person...

          Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

          by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:16:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Come on now... (7+ / 0-)

      If I thought trying to solve any of the problems I listed (and many more I didn't) was all an act of futility, then I wouldn't be here.

      It is true that some people get so overwhelmed by the enormity of our plight that they tune out. I hear you on that.

      But I don't believe the solution is to stick our heads in the sand. Every one of those problems, from Amazon  deforestation to climate change, can actually be solved if people would face reality and act.

      You are right. No single person is going to do shit to fix anything. But working together, we have a chance.

  •  Did I forget myself? I'm so sorry. (9+ / 0-)

    No really. For the brief interlude of the Memorial Day weekend, a holiday codified into law specifically as a remembrance of those who gave their lives, in part, to permit open discussion in a public forum, I forgot myself. I was, for the brief moment of my time it took to read the other website post, optimistic.
    I know. It was foolish. I shouldn't have. I couldn't help myself.
    Thank you for correcting me. I needed that. I forgot that this time is unlike any other time, "when things were getting better", including "America's heyday" when 60 million people died in a world war. I had misunderstood about "America's heyday" when lynching a black man was the culmination of a town picnic.
    My perspective has always been wrong. I blame myself. If anyone in my entire family's history had paid one and a half million dollars for their home, I most definitely would "at least have some grasp" of understanding how things actually are.
    Thank you for trying to bring me to my senses. I have a better understanding that I "don't comprehend what happened here", that "it's going to get worse", and that I didn't "have a chance in hell of correcting it." I realize now that I'm not one of those "who have been paying attention."
    I'll try harder. I promise.

    •  And you're griping because this diary (6+ / 0-)

      was so negative.  Read your very own sarcastic NEGATIVE comment and then go look in a mirror.  You contributed nothing of value here except to show how self-centered you are.  Hint:  It's not all about YOU.  Try not to trip over your ego on the way out.

      "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

      by 3goldens on Mon May 27, 2013 at 12:21:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and rec'd (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, greengemini, mrkvica

    Thanks for the thoughtful diary. Muskegon also made some good points, but my personal belief is that your take on it is much more realistic.  Depressing, but realistic.

  •  James (9+ / 0-)

    I think one of your followup comments hit the nail on the head for me.

    "You ever notice that the of the issues where progress is being made, none of them cost Wall Street any money or threaten their power?"
    I agree, these are all good things, not to be argued against, and I'm glad the Democrats are beginning  to fulfill their promises on them.

    But as you say, none of these things really cost Wall Street anything.  

    Long term, I think the only way out is for a viable third party.  Green Party or something.  I honestly don't think the D party is progressive and its getting worse not better.

  •  And now we have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot

    a "why was this [fill in the blank] diary rescued" diary.

    Some thoughts just aren't allowed to be thought, one sees yet again.

    And that's all I have to say about the coming flamewar.  Have fun.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:30:12 AM PDT

    •  The problem, seems to me, is the (3+ / 0-)

      focus on personalities (diarist X vs diarist Y), not on ideas.

      I never read MC's diary because the title scared me off. I read this one because the title alone spoke to my understanding of wtf has happened and is happening to this country.

      Flamewars erupt from the cult of personality, which is one of the things that often keeps me from so much as checking in here for weeks at a time.

  •  Not being into Doom Blogging myself (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annan, emelyn, karmsy, Pale Jenova, Sylv

    I've never taken a shine to the notion that things are worse now than ever.

    They're not. Simply: not. They're different than we may have become accustomed to or desire, but things are not worse now than they have ever been.

    But importantly, things are not getting better for the vast majority of Americans, significant portions of the global population, nor for much of the planet's biosphere, whereas at one time (a time that I'm old enough to remember) it seemed that "getting better" was the inevitable course we were all on toward the Future.

    The Future has since been stolen out from under us.

    And we know who stole our Future, too.

    The question is whether we can rouse ourselves enough to do anything about it, knowing as we do that our governments do not represent our interests nor have they any interest in doing so, and that they will cheerfully crush and eliminate any resistance or alternatives to their chosen paths.

    Our business and industrial leaders have abandoned Social Justice and Social Conscience as principles to live and work by. Our major institutions are corrupt to the core. Technology is more and more remote from the practical needs and interests of the People and the planet.

    So the real issue is what to do about the challenges we face, not so much whether we're living in the best of times or the worst of times, or even whether we should be crying Doom or celebrating Panglossian optimism.

    Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

    by felix19 on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:57:43 AM PDT

    •  Pfffft. (8+ / 0-)

      This simplistic notion that all times are like all others is absurdly simplistic.

      Not at all times have the rich and powerful concentrated so much wealth. The few times they have have been extremely turbulent.

      NEVER before have the lower and middle classes been so pacified by entertainment while concurrently being  misinformed and manipulated by sophisticated, instant, mass propaganda.

      NEVER before has life on this planet faced even the remotest degree of the threats of resource depletion and climate change we now face.

      NEVER before have the rich and powerful had so much law enforcement and military wherewithal so as to feel themselves impervious and unaccountable to the rest of the world.

      NEVER before has individually deliverable destructive force been so widely accessible.

      NEVER before have we been at the stage where advances in genetics, robotics and nanotechnology made possible an exponential growth in virtually undetectable, unstoppable delivery systems miniaturized biochemical-mechanical weapons.

      Get a clock and a compass. You have absolutely no idea what time of day it is or where you are.

      Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:21:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pick a decade you would rather live in than now (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheGreatLeapForward, Sylv

        You might find some--seriously--or you might even decide to live in a future decade. But remember, the good old days: they were terrible.

        Want to live in the past? Jim Crow? Mutual Assured Destruction? Polio epidemics? Smallpox? Mass famines in "third world" countries?

        Don't tell me we woke up in 2013 and started poisoning the planet. We've been doing that crap for centuries. Including any past period you wish to leap into.

        And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

        by Pale Jenova on Mon May 27, 2013 at 10:29:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Get a clock or a compass. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, WisePiper, JosephK74

          Every time has problems. NO time has EVER faced the massive environmental disruption we face today.

          Don't tell me we woke up in 2013 and started poisoning the planet. We've been doing that crap for centuries. Including any past period you wish to leap into.
          This comment is astoundingly stupid. Monumentally.

          The difference between pollution during earlier times and today? The accumulated impact of 250 years of the industrial revolution. It's the accumulation of the pollution in the atmosphere. Get? The fact you don't understand that is astounding.

          The difference between resource depletion today and in the past is...cumulative. We are depleting finite resources far faster than they can be replaced. Over time, the problem...GROWS. Get it?

          Once again, you simply have NO idea what time it is or where you are in history.

          Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

          by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 03:43:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And that is dangerous (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, WisePiper, JosephK74

            to everyone around you, because at this point the ignorance of those who think the environmental threats, to name just one, are either qualitatively or quantitatively no different today than they have been in the past, threatens each and every person on the planet.

            Predominantly these people are Republicans, who are mostly science illiterates by choice. What's your excuse?

            Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

            by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 03:49:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  So, no examples, huh? (0+ / 0-)

            How about the 1960's when rivers caught on fire. How about the late 1940's when hydrogen sulfide caught in temperature inversions sickened and killed people? Or the 1930s Dust Bowl? Or would you rather jump back to pre-industrial times, with famines, floods, and plagues, where the life expectancy was in the 30s, and families had six children, with the knowledge that only half would survive to adulthood?

            What exactly do you want to prove with your wet blanket power? And what exactly are YOU doing about the doom you predict? Kind of like how the world was going to end with Y2K, right?

            And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

            by Pale Jenova on Mon May 27, 2013 at 09:11:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Never? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, JosephK74, Sylv

        Earlier generations have said the same about their situation and their rulers, and somehow they and theirs and we, their descendants, have muddled through one way or another.

        Never?

        Here are some truisms to consider:

        1) There have never been so many people alive at one time;

        2) There has never been proportionately so much supposed wealth concentrated among proportionately so few individuals and institutions;

        3) There has never been so much global environmental destruction and change so swiftly;

        4) There has never been so much simultaneously useless and useful technology so widely dispersed among so many people.

        Our Rulers and Betters are pushing for their own immortality, as if they were gods, but this is by no means something new and unprecedented. When so much of the reward of human endeavor is concentrated into so few hands as it is now, the quest for immortality among them becomes paramount: what further reward is there, after all?

        Our Rulers and Betters are following their natural instinct, doing what they do. The question is what will we do -- if anything -- about it?

        Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

        by felix19 on Mon May 27, 2013 at 11:24:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um, no (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WisePiper

          NEVER.

          If you think that any period existed with the environmental threats we do today, as just one example among them all, NAME IT.

          As for what we will do about. A few of use will do everything possible. The rest will do very little because, hey, it's no different from other times.

          Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

          by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 03:46:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not once did I claim (0+ / 0-)

            that [now] "it's no different from other times."

            In fact, conditions are different, in many cases wildly different, than we expected or desire; there are more people, living under greater levels of stress than ever before. The environment is deteriorating and the climate is changing more quickly than we've known for generations (there have been previous periods of climate change and environmental deterioration, however) on and on. We have more technological prowess than ever, though much of it is employed in useless endeavors, when not used for actually worse than useless endeavors.

            But if you sincerely believe conditions have never been worse for humankind and the planet, then what, exactly, can be done about it? If conditions have never -- ever -- been worse than now (given everything that's transpired in all of human history, let alone all of terrestrial history) then you, the individual, really have no power over coming events. What will be will be. There's nothing that you or anyone can do to affect it. It's a hopeless and paralyzing position to be in.

            On the other hand, if you believe as I do, that people have faced severe and seemingly impossible challenges many times before and have found ways to muddle through or even to transform the worst situation they had ever known into something positive (as has happened throughout history) then you're not hopeless or paralyzed at all.

            Crying "Doom!" ("NO! Worst DOOM Ever!!!") may be the spur that some people need to push them to take action.

            For many of us, though, Doom-Crying is a waste of energy, and largely counterproductive.

            Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

            by felix19 on Mon May 27, 2013 at 04:12:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well then we are agreeing. (0+ / 0-)

              See my diary today on this topic for the proof.

              Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

              by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:02:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, and I have a plan to reduce my (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens

              personal footprint by at least 70% within 3 years on the outside. At the same time, I am working full-time pro bono to learn about the options for the new economy and ways to shift our consumption based culture and will later this year be sorting out exactly what and where I will be applying my resources.

              A little research and you could have answered your question yourself.

              Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

              by Words In Action on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:06:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The answer is "we get it." (6+ / 0-)

    The question is "what are we going to do about it."
    We're it.  Ain't nobody else coming to the rescue.

    See you sonsabitches at NN13! Look for the Netroots Radio Banner and stop by and say hello!

    by winkk on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:13:53 AM PDT

  •  One small quibble: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, annan, radmul
    It is being disassembled, piece by piece.
    inspired by a statement made by Rev. John Thomas in WaPo column, where he refers to
    decades of very deliberate decisions by public officials, corporate interests and ordinary citizens that have eviscerated the neighborhoods
    "Disassembled" is too tame--eviscerated is more apt, imo.

    Nice piece, thanks for writing it.

  •  Sure glad I didn't even bother to (0+ / 0-)

    glance at that other diary. Its title flashed a great big DNR at me: Do Not Read. ;-)

  •  well, you are right about the 'losing your buzz' (0+ / 0-)

    aspect of it all. good diary.

    "None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps" Thurgood Marshall

    by UTvoter on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:54:21 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this uplifting diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Anderson, emelyn, Roadbed Guy

    I feel so much better now, especially the stuff about the 6th mass extinction.

    Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

    by OIL GUY on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:59:48 AM PDT

    •  Any response to the diary? (5+ / 0-)

      How will you "feeling better" help the next generation?  Climate change is real.

      •  The lack of self-awareness by some (4+ / 0-)

        on this blog and the fact that they leak their selfishness and contempt for others via their comments is repellant.  But these same people will verbally beat the rest of us to do as they order us to do.  Because authoritarianism works for them, we're to fall in line, shut up, and do as we're told and never disturb their equanimity.  And they just keep repeating the same crap over and over and over and berating anyone who doesn't view the world as they do.  Tiresome.  Damn tiresome.

        "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

        by 3goldens on Mon May 27, 2013 at 11:00:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OIL GUY
      especially the stuff about the 6th mass extinction.
      Basically there are two ways to look at this, both positive:

      1) if people aren't amongst those species going extinct, that means more space for us on the planet.

      2) if we are, then we won't have to worry about this type of thing anymore

  •  Too bad yer dead on James, but well done n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  we live in "interesting times" (3+ / 0-)

    Well done, James, thanks for the diary.

    We need to re-calibrate, both as individuals and collectively, and fine tune our "center". Not in a linear way, more in a circular way. We're in the eye of the storm now, right now. And in this instance, I'm meaning the term "we" as in The People.

    We also have to seek a balance between the doom-despair and the urgency of action.

    If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

    by Lady Libertine on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:37:43 AM PDT

  •  this diary says what most of us believe. (0+ / 0-)

    As usual, the rich have bested us.  Whatever we do about it will be useless.

    Nevertheless, we will, and must keep trying, because that makes life bearable.  

    Imho the best Chance of making progress is to create a real prospect of destroying the rich entirely and going for a last minute compromise.

  •  They've always said this. Sigh. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv, Roadbed Guy

    Civilization is ALWAYS ending, and whatever. And, I'm not being snotty or dismissive: they often have very good reasons for believing it is, and for trying to convince others to believe as they do. Climate change. Horrible economic inequality. Hell, I remember when it was AIDS and thermonuclear war. Even Communism! I'm that old! I remember when the biggest threat to Western civilization was Soviet Communism. These were very big, very credible, very real menaces in their day. Still are (except Communism :), though for various reasons, they've been moved from the front burner of public consciousness. They're not obsessions.

    My point, regarding this admittedly eloquent and thoughtful diary, is this: no, in any objective sense, collectively, things are not "worse" than they were back in the 1970s. The opponents are NOT scarier and better-organized. Things are NOT "pointed downhill."

    For every item in the spate of scary things that might "end civilization as we know it," there are counter-trends. There is the trend of people using the internet, using it for all it's worth, to inform themselves, and to organize. It's only about 20 years old, and we couldn't even envision this much, when numbers of people first got online. There is the counter-trend of the upcoming demographic wave--a force to be reckoned with, by anyone's reckoning--and immigration. Let's not forget immigration, which makes the voting bloc inexorably browner and inexorably more liberal.

    No, it's not all sunshine-and-roses. But I don't think the diarist's generalization is fair, among anyone with any capacity to be surprised.

    No rec, but I did tip it. Thanks.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon May 27, 2013 at 10:14:26 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    Thank you.

  •  I just re-read your "summary" of the other diary.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    ...and it appears to me that you read that diary, but you did not understand it.

    And I stopped reading your diary after this:

    I have long suspected that some on this site exist in some kind of shell, and when news or information that threatens or challenges their views gets posted, or even makes it to the Rec'd List, they simply ignore it.
    Not a good way to get across whatever point you are trying to make.
  •  I like your style (4+ / 0-)

    I would only add that I believe there are signs of an oncoming world war.  Political processes are beginning to freeze all over the world, extremism is on the rise, and the global economy is at best stagnating.  Hopefully our interdependence will prevent all-out war, but I fear the worst once global warming begins to displace billions of people.  

    We're in for a major population adjustment, and it's not going to be pretty.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Mon May 27, 2013 at 11:52:02 AM PDT

  •  Just want to share that I couldn't agree with (4+ / 0-)

    you more.   We could and did go to the moon.  Now, we can't even feed the starving. What they have done to our futures and our children's futures is criminal.  Too bad none of them went to jail - for any of it.  

    I'm not into Mad Max or mud huts and goats.  

    I understand that this diary is not a slam against MC.   He is a nice guy with a positive point of view.   I'm sure it serves him well.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Elizabeth Warren 2016

    by dkmich on Mon May 27, 2013 at 11:57:01 AM PDT

  •  They want to be Aristocrats (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, organicus, fiddlingnero

    I agree completely with this analysis.  A tiny group of people want to be aristocrats, and they've been playing a very long game.  What I want to know is, how can we stop them?  I don't want to be a serf, and I don't want to be an aristocrat either.  

  •  Excellent diary, I totally agree! (7+ / 0-)

    We cannot ignore the issues that are facing us and wreaking havoc upon our society.

    The big problem is that capitalism is the driver behind this.  What we are now seeing is unregulated and unfettered capitalism which is destroying our society and our environment.  First, we must realistically define the issues that make up the overall problem. You have done this very well in this excellent diary.

    But until we realize that we are going to have to change our economic systems, we will continue down this path of self destruction. Clapping louder is not a solution.  

    Thank you, thank you for this excellent diary.  Tipped, recommended, and hotlisted.

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Mon May 27, 2013 at 01:19:04 PM PDT

    •  Thanks gulfgal (14+ / 0-)

      And you raise an important point. There was a time when capitalism was not the organizing principle of society. It existed, but was still secondary to the social structures and values expressed through people's sense of community and to a large extent, the social and moral constructs of their churches.

      I'm not a big fan of the church, or re;ligion for that matter, but it did provide a framework around which society, our values and sense of right and wrong, and most importantly, our sense of obligation to each other, was structured.

      That force in people's lives has been greatly decimated over the last 50 years, and where it remains, it's largely been co-opted and exploited by the enemies of progress, so that now, all that is left standing is the cold, moral vacuum of the "market."

      I wrote a dissertation many years ago about the ethos of capitalism. To make a long story short, it doesn't exist. Some would argue that capitalism is not immoral, it's amoral. But that is a fictitious comfort. Capitalism is human. And humans cannot act amorally. Every act requires a choice.

      •  Great comment! (7+ / 0-)

        in an excellent diary!  

        I am constantly amazed at how many people I talk to seem to have forgotten that the true strength of our society is our commitment to each other.  And I would add that I believe that government is the most efficient and effective means by which we can implement our mutual commitment to each other and our society.  

        Thank you again for an excellent diary and this terrific comment.

        "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

        by gulfgal98 on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:54:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Gory and the Dream, by William Manchester (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Hepburn, 3goldens

    If you have not read this Narrative History of America - 1932-1972, when you don't really have a good understanding of American history.

    It is a real real eye-opener about the wealthy vs America.

  •  Thank you so, so much (5+ / 0-)

    This:

    1930s-1970s: That was America's heyday. Not because there weren't serious wrongs during that period. But because things were getting better. We were on a progressive trajectory, established by progressives. That trajectory began to change in the early 70s. Not because of some unknowable, great global shift revolution that is "all around us."

    It began to change because a few assholes figured out how to rig the system and then went about doing it. It's not a mystery. And it's not a secret. They got together with all their right wing, billionaire buddies and coordinated a campaign to change the trajectory of this country.

    Their plan was pretty simple. Work together and form big lobbying groups. Buy the government. Buy up all the mass media and get it away from all those bleeding hearted liberals. And impose their pro business agenda on every major university.

    "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon May 27, 2013 at 01:57:39 PM PDT

  •  You're going to get attacked, because (6+ / 0-)

    some people can't handle the horribleness of what's happening. And some people can't stand to hold anybody accountable. That's where the doctrines of inevitability come in: aka America was never all that, we're caught up in a zeitgeist, etc.  (One of the weirdest things is watching Marxists, of all people, who are supposed to be all about taking it to the powerful, endorsing the same inevitability doctrines that corporate Dems do. Apparently they don't understand that they're letting actual people who did actual rotten crap in actual history off the hook.)

    "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:00:32 PM PDT

  •  Have the proponents of inevitability (6+ / 0-)

    read the Lewis Powell memo? or, in a slightly nuttier vein, the PNAC manifesto that used to be up on the net?  I mean, it's not like these guys are exactly hiding the fact that they were pissed that things weren't going their way in American democracy, they made a plan to change the system so things would come out their way, they wrote the damned thing down and left it where the public could find it, for crying out the beer, and then they did it. And yet people still accuse folks of CT when they point this stuff out:  yes, it was a plan, yes, these people were involved, yes, these other people were probably involved, yes, they enacted their plan in these ways, yes, these are the results.

    Like you said, it ain't rocket science.

    "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:03:29 PM PDT

  •  Here's what I think is the only sensible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gulfgal98

    criticism one could make of your diary:  it's hard to get from an honest assessment of the truths you discuss to any kind of a basis for political action.  Any positive political action, anyway. I'm sure when food and water starts running out, there will be some pretty powerful convulsive political action, borne out of desperation, but those are hardly an ideal way to change things.

    "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:15:01 PM PDT

    •  But that's a critique of reality. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, SouthernLiberalinMD

      Its objectively hard to get to a basis for big political action from where we here. But pretending that its easy wouldn't help us get there.

      Understanding the consequences of what the 1% are doing better than they do implies that we can plant the seeds for having the more promising alternatives.

      Pretending that the consequences aren't as bad as all that will only leave us flailing when it becomes apparent that, yes, it is turning out to be as bad as all that.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:53:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, no argument here. (0+ / 0-)

        Truth has to be the basis of any functional political strategy. But I see a need to come up with a way of approaching people other than just talking about all the horrors. Not that I agree with MC and his diary. Obviously I'm more on Hepburn's side here.

        "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue May 28, 2013 at 01:54:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  this is an awesome piece of oped... (5+ / 0-)

    that should be read by everyone who ever considered themselves liberal and even those that don't.

    you're a regular Tom Paine in this one... a revolutionary - and that's meant as highest compliment...  :D

    The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those that speak it. ~George Orwell

    by poligirl on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:42:43 PM PDT

  •  You mention that you have problems with the (0+ / 0-)

    video "There's No Tomorrow'': could you summarize the key objections you have?
    It is an excellent summary of our modern dilemmas, though I do have to see how they are manipulating certain groups of statistics--
    excellent diary.
    Thanks!

    The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

    by Ignacio Magaloni on Tue May 28, 2013 at 12:09:50 AM PDT

  •  Global economics will reorder the world (0+ / 0-)

    I really like the diarists comment about looking at trajectory. Brilliant!

    Here's what I see for the future. The big Giants, China and India will be the dominant players. Our GDP is barely growing a few percent while they are growing 8-12%. For those of you who remember math, try compounding that over a few decades. OK, I'll do it for you. The differential growth is 400%. China has the second largest economy in the world and at the current trajectory will pass the US in 2016 and completely eclipse the US in 20 years. India will follow. The US will be a second tier country, probably a good thing.

    Can the US keep up? Sorry, not a chance. We would need 1 billion plus people, and an economy that could actually produce robust growth and we would have to eliminate parasitic economic activity, such as a dominant investment sector, health care insurance sector and military spending. Don't hold your breath on that.

  •  Empires rise, empires fall - even the American one (0+ / 0-)

    Those of us who are in our 60s and 70s are living in a unique time -- where we experienced the awesome rise of the American Empire and all the benefits of having so much wealth and progress that it reached almost everyone in the country. That empire started in Dec 1941 when the US was thrust into a role as eventually the greatest power not only of the Americas but East Asia, the Pacific, and Western Europe.
    Now the empire is falling. Our wars are ineffectual in doing anything we planned them to do, they merely sap our resources and finances. We had an infrastructure so well-built in the middle of the 20th Century that we took it for granted and so expected it to last forever without maintenance. We are swamped with easy access to so many pleasures, addictions, distractions, time-wasters -- even the poorest among us can still get ahold of drugs to comfort themselves.
    The empire is falling. If it seems like the wealthy are hell-bent on only acquiring money, then I suspect it's because they are keenly aware that in the very near future America will have severe financial problems, and are trying to stock up on as much dough as they can.
    Perhaps the only unique thing about the American Empire is the stunning rapidity at which it rose to dominance and now is sinking into mediocrity. So fast that those of us under 70 have experienced both the rise and now the falling of this nation. I suppose you could list Germans living between 1920 and 1945 with having the same experience, but that was never an empire that had the support of the world. We did, for a while.

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizzam!

    by fourthcornerman on Tue May 28, 2013 at 05:45:32 AM PDT

  •  Yea! I am not the only one! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quilldriver

    Thanks.

  •  What about the last summary point? (0+ / 0-)

    Summary point 8: they (the powerful)  will appear insurmountable until they aren't.

    Mr. Hepburn requires us to imply his answer since I cannot find where he makes a definite statement about this last, crucial, point. My feeling: "They" will remain "insurmountable" until we move public opinion to admit that  capitalism has had a good run but what has it done for us lately?

    If we move the course of public opinion in the direction of looking for capitalism's successor, the appearance of insurmountability can be overcome. The Occupy movement led the way. Let's go forward with ideas and not just condemn "the rich".

    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." -Salvor Hardin, first Mayor of the Foundation in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy

    by Duane Kilian on Tue May 28, 2013 at 11:03:28 AM PDT

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