Moyers & Company: Mark Leibovich on Glitz and Greed in Washington
[E]verything about the Congressional system, whether it's leadership, whether it's how money is raised, is going to reward cowardice. The true mavericks are going to be punished in some ways. If you are going-- if you want to build a career outside of office when you're done, when you're voted out as a lobbyist, as a consultant, as many of them do, you are absolutely in-- you are absolutely encouraged not anger too many people....Not take a big stand, right. No truth is going to be told here by-- based on any sort of cowardly go along, get along way. And I think that there are many ways in which the money, the system is financed-- the politics are financed the way the media works, that will not under any circumstances reward someone who takes a stand.‘Dollarocracy’: How Special Interests Undermine Our Democracy
[The emphasis is mine]
by John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney - November 8, 2013
The United States has experienced fundamental changes that are dramatically detrimental to democracy. Voters’ ability to define political discourse has been so diminished that even decisive election results like Barack Obama’s in 2012 have little impact. That’s because powerful interests — freed to, in effect, buy elections, unhindered by downsized and diffused media that must rely on revenue from campaign ads — now set the rules of engagement. Those interests so dominate politics that the squabbling of Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, is a sideshow to the great theater of plutocracy and plunder. This is not democracy. This is dollarocracy.truthdig: Rise Up or Die
[The emphasis is mine]
by Chris Hedges - May 19, 2013
Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform—the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions—we are left defenseless against corporate power.
A handful of corporate oligarchs around the globe have everything—wealth, power and privilege—and the rest of us struggle as part of a vast underclass, increasingly impoverished and ruthlessly repressed. There is one set of laws and regulations for us; there is another set of laws and regulations for a power elite that functions as a global mafia.
[The emphasis is mine]
El Fenómeno De Las Canicas
Sometimes I think about this challenge this way: I imagine a guy standing over there; just one guy. There are 100 of us standing over here. Behind the guy there are plastic buckets, each holding 100 marbles. The guy picks up the first bucket of marbles and spills them on the ground, and each one of us runs every which way trying to grab one of the marbles; we bump into each other, and that causes some to argue. At the precise moment when all 100 of us have finally retrieved one marble each, the guy picks up another bucket of marbles, and spills them on the ground again, and we all disperse going after them... After this happening 50 times, someone suggests, "Hey, there are 100 of us here, and this guy is only one person. Why don't we stop going after these spilled marbles, one at a time, spinning our wheels, spending all our energy, and instead go and stop him from spilling the marbles?" There is a look of astonishment from many in the group, and some yell out loud, "What the fuck are you talking about? Are you crazy?" As the guy spills another bucket of marbles... And on and on and on we go.
Image credit: Joe Mabel
"We’ve found through our experience that timid supplications for justice will not solve the problem. We’ve got to massively confront the power structure."
-- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr - 1967
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.
The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal...
- Frederick Douglass
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Sockpuppets & Trolls Watch: Their aim is to disrupt, to annoy, to introduce "noise" in order to prevent meaningful discussions of issues. Their tactics include casting aspersions (attack on the reputation or integrity), and ad hominems, where instead of addressing issues, they attack the character of people. They also engage in mockery, and logical fallacies. A good source of information about the tactics used by sockpuppets, trolls and hacks is "The 15 Rules of Web Disruption." Once you familiarize yourself with those tactics, it is pretty easy to spot the potential troll. Once spotted, the best thing is to ignore them. [Image credit: Jacob Bøtter from Copenhagen, Denmark]