Thursday, July 12, 2012

Consume Mass Quantities!

Caught in the trap of life, man is moved by a field of attraction determined by a flash point where solid forms are destroyed, where the various objects that constitute the world are consumed as in a furnace of light.  -- Georges Bataille
I've been thinking about the good Reverend Earwhigger's emphasis on the consumer as key to solving the present crisis (see previous post) -- but I've come up with a solution very different from what he's proposed. (He shouldn't feel badly, however. He was my inspiration!)

It seems to me that what we need from the consumer is not a boycott (see previous post), but the exact opposite, i.e. exactly what the Gods of Capitalism created the consumer to achieve: consumption. Mass consumption. The consumption of mass quantities. In other words (the words of Bataille): Expenditure Without Reserve!

Did you watch 60 Minutes recently? I'm thinking of the segment hosted by the ever-lovely, ever wise Lesley Stahl, the one on truffles. Did you know that a single meal featuring truffles in a top French restaurant can cost $1,000 or more? So why not go for it? Grab that credit card, hop a flight to Paris, preferably First Class, make your dinner reservation, enjoy your meal, and be sure to spend the rest of your stay in a first class hotel.

Why, you say? Well, let's face it, the world economy is due for a total collapse, but the powers that be are doing everything in their power to delay the inevitable. Meanwhile, since the only arrow in their quivering quiver is spelled "austerity," it seems that their solution is to squeeze every last drop of blood from the 99% in order to protect the vast wealth of the 1%. If things continue along such lines for very much longer (and it looks like they will), then all us ordinary folk, workers, middle class, professionals, ne'er do wells, always do wells, under achievers, over achievers, college grads (with huge debt loads) and high school dropouts (with huge families) alike, will be forced into bankruptcy -- or worse (if you've racked up student debts they won't let you go bankrupt, you'll become their slave).

The longer they kick the can down the road to preserve the "economy" for the banks and the super-rich, the worse it's going to get for the rest of us. So what is needed, if we want to survive, is some strategy to force their hand, i.e., to bring the whole absurd mess down around their necks, Sampson style, as soon as humanly possible. Only then will the spell of the Plutogarchs be broken; only then will society be free to pick up the pieces, recognizing that what is important is not money, but resources, both natural and human, managed by true representatives of the people, not the super-wealthy and their minions, whose wealth will have evaporated into thin air once the money mirage concocted exclusively for their own benefit and at our expense has lifted.

So, who will be our Sampson? In some past posts, I've nominated the workers, and I still think a united international movement of organized workers, aided and abetted by sympathizers among the middle class, professionals, students, etc., could achieve a great deal. However, the Reverend H.C. Earwhigger ridiculed that idea as hopelessly outdated and perhaps he's right. For him, it is the consumer who is all powerful. And I have to admit that on reflection there is definitely some truth in that. But a consumer boycott won't work, because for one thing consumption is already down and for another, consumer boycotts are effective only when very precisely targeted, which means they can only have a very limited effect.

Nevertheless, there IS something we consumers can do to trash the "economy" and I'm not sure why I never thought of that before. What has brought our financial system to the brink of disaster has been reckless borrowing. And because we borrowed so much we are now very cautious about how much we spend and are reluctant to borrow much more. Nevertheless, because the powers that be are now in panic mode and not thinking straight, it is now actually almost as easy to borrow today as it ever was. Just check out those automobile commercials. No money down, easy terms, easy credit no problem. Same with mortgages, which are now selling for the lowest interest rates in history. Same with credit card debt, student debt, etc.

So, we now have it within our power to resume the same destructive process that blew the last bubble, only this time, if we really gird our loins and try, we can blow the damned thing up literally to kingdom come. It will, of course, take organization. Don't try this at home folks, until you're sure you won't be alone. It will require the mobilization of consumers on a vast scale, for sure, in every corner of the world where credit is easily available (in other words, just about everywhere).

Once we are organized, then hold onto your hats. We'll start buying everything in sight, en masse. Need a new car? Why settle for a Ford or Chevy when you can buy an Audi, BMW, or better yet, a Mercedes or Cadillac? Already own a house? Why not buy a summer place, preferably in the Hamptons? Think you can't get the loan? Well think again. The "market," especially the housing market, but also the automobile market, is as starved for attention as a teen age delinquent. Get out that credit card and if that isn't enough, head for your local bank. If they turn you down, try another, I can almost guarantee you'll find some bank eager to loan you just about whatever you want.

Students, don't be shy. Step right up to that admissions office and sign yourself up for the biggest student loan you can get, preferably for the full four years, and at the most expensive Ivy League school that will take you. They'll be down on their knees with gratitude, because a great many of these hallowed institutions are now in deep deep trouble.

If millions of us go on a spree all at once, all at the same time, borrowing to the hilt and buying whatever we damn please, spending like crazy and without reserve, we can send that bubble soaring into the stratosphere. All it will take will be a tiny pea from the tiniest pea shooter you can imagine to bring it down. And all the King's horses and all the King's men will NOT be able to put that damned phoney baloney "economy" together again.

Amen!


19 comments:

  1. Oh, sure, Doc G, you're right: overfeeding the system could be just as much a corrective as starving it. But why go into debt to do it?

    The method would be to buy, buy, buy – as you say – but have everything you buy sent as a gift – to your credit card company.

    So, for example, you would buy six KIA SUV's or 1000 cartons of Pampers or a diamond brooch from Cartier and have them all sent to your credit company, along with an enclosed card stating that the cost of the items should be credited toward your next credit card statement. I guess, just to prove you are not being unreasonable, you should make sure that the items may be returned for credit within thirty days.

    You've helped correct the economy ("correction" as might be defined by a dominatrix) at no cost to yourself.

    Whether the goods are returned or not – and they probably would not be, considering the cumbrousness of these huge corporations – you will have managed to throw the system into disarray. And – either way – you have a foolproof defense when the collection agencies begin to call. Just don't lose your paperwork.

    You might even make a little money if, foresightedly, you bought some stock in UPS and FedEx.

    FYI:
    Discover Card International, 2500 Lake Cook Road Riverwoods, IL 60015
    Visa Financial Services 595 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94104;
    Mastercard, 2000 Purchase St., Purchase, NY 10577
    American Express, 200 Vesey St., New York, NY, 10285

    Your old pal,

    Rev. H. Carlton Earwiggherd

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  2. Yes, Reverend, you have an excellent point. Borrow to the hilt from the banks and send it all back to them as a gift. LOL!!!! Stuff it down their throats. I love it!

    But honestly I'd prefer to keep all that loot to myself. That's what I'D call financial innovation! :-)

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  3. I'm not sure any of the USA's inequality problems (which are the source of ALL problems) let alone the world's, is ever going to be solved by worldwide methods or ideas or banks or national parties. Organization of "workers" is ridiculous considering the difference between such workers worldwide. Not to mention cultural and historical differences. Half the working world (in 2012) still lives in total poverty. Half of those live in authoritarian regimes which would easily crush any such movements. I think the only movement against the obscenly wealthy and the rest of us, is to hammer home that message to all and anyone we know or meet. The message that all of us need to stop "settling" for the lessor(s) of two (or more) evils.

    Every country experiencing turmoil now, is struggling with this concept. And it's so old. That is, are these people in power really one's "friends," concerned in the least with our welfare? Or are they only historically passing fads of politics?

    Especially so in the USA. The fact that Americans, based on polls, are almost equally divided between Obama and Romney, I find very disconcerting. But such total asshole candidates have won in the past. For the next few months at least, I think our main hope is that Obama turns out in his second term, much less of an asshole than he gave us in his first.

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    1. Thanks for this very thoughtful post. I still think an international worker's movement is our best, if not our only, hope. The cultural and historical differences you mention are rapidly dissolving, especially among the young, who share a great many things, including computers, cell phones, Internet access. The authoritative regimes you mention would lose their hold over their militaries after a worldwide financial collapse and many in these militaries might well side with the workers, who are after all their own parents, brothers and sisters.

      It wouldn't be easy. It would be a real struggle. (Was it Hegel or Marx who said that all life is struggle?) But the more desperate things become for working people the clearer the call to action will be. The good news is that the worldwide coup could be bloodless if preceded by financial collapse, which would totally undermine the power of the oligarchs.

      It's difficult to foresee the future. Who could have foreseen the anti-Vietnam movement, for example? Or Occupy Wall St.

      As far as Obama is concerned, if he is re-elected then hopefully he won't be so much under the thumb of the big money people, so maybe there would be some hope. If Romney is elected, then the US could become a fascist country I'm afraid, since he'd have no choice but to cater to the extreme right wing. So regardless of how disenchanted with Obama we might be, there's really no choice.

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  4. Docg, I'd be interested in a new, long post from you, perhaps a new article?, PREDICTING what the following 4 years after the election could be or realistically look like, in two parts. What might we expect if Romney/Ryan beats out Obama? Or if Obama/Biden beats the liars/hypocrits?

    How about a nice, new, freshly polished major post from you?

    My own view and prediction is that after all is said and done, after the election, Obama will have won by 3-5 percent and about 50-60 extra electoral votes. Anyway, hope so.

    I'm no Obama fan, but Romney and especially this psycho Ryan, scare me. For all the problems I have with Obama, the alternative is truly something I don't really want to ponder. Eeegodz...

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  5. Is this a dead web blog? There has been nothing new on here for half a year it seems, so should I delete this site's bookmark on my Mac???

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    1. I still monitor this blog for comments, and every once in a while I'm inspired to add a new post, but for the most part I feel I've said more or less everything I really want to say on the economy. Or to put it another way, whatever I might want to say is already being said now by others, which is actually a good thing. Thanks for checking in and nudging me, though.

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  6. ok nice work DocG keep it up your blog is good i also see it, Keep It Up......!

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  7. What do you think of this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G3VOjFUe48

    and this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym9pON7nJqk

    You should revive this blog with some new posts,
    but they needn't be economic, there certainly are
    enough other issues about these days. You wrote
    about Wall Street and Occupy and all of that, so what
    do you think of all this NSA has legal rights to in
    effect, copy the internet, and track all of us, whether
    we use google or apple or microsoft or verizon or facebook
    or our cellphones or our tablets or our notebooks or our
    laptops or our cable tv meglomeglo INC?

    Obama is such a disappointment. When the Washington Post if I recall, labels you "George W. Obama," well, jeezzz. As always though preferable to Romney, but what's that saying? Dang nab it, I heard this on CNN, and Rachel Maddow devoted half her
    show about it. What is this, what's happening here, DocG? Is there any serendipity afoot here? Wall Street numbers are at an all time high, but Obama's approval is less than 50 percent.

    Did Obama ever have any real chance upon re-election? Any real chance to bring real change from a lame duck? Sure, he could've realized early on that he wasn't done with the wacko right wing. And just govern by executive order. The recent NSA stuff is only one of almost half a dozen mini-scandals, as I type this, plagueing the "white house." Why? I'm seeing this on mainstream media and Faux newz. When is the real socialist going to stand up?

    Would be interested in your return here for a new article, but would at least be interested in your view of the two video links attached. Take care.

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    1. I enjoyed the videos, thanks. Especially the second one. Impressive! Who made them?

      As far as reviving this blog, I have to confess I maintain three blogs, plus two other websites, plus other projects that are important to me, plus I do actually have a social life, plus a long list of email correspondents, so it's hard to find time to keep all those balls in the air at once. I just recently started posting to another blog of mine that's also been moribund for some time, and I might get back to this one soon as well, we'll see.

      "so what
      do you think of all this NSA has legal rights to in
      effect, copy the internet, and track all of us, whether
      we use google or apple or microsoft or verizon or facebook
      or our cellphones or our tablets or our notebooks or our
      laptops or our cable tv meglomeglo INC?"

      I'm NOT a kneejerk liberal, so I don't have prepackaged responses to this sort of thing. In fact I must say I'm more disappointed in the current state of liberalism/ progressivism in this country than I am in Obama. We are, since 9/11, living in a very different world than that of the late 20th century. Warfare has taken on a completely different meaning. Our vaunted powers can be turned against us, and no matter how powerful we might consider ourselves to be, we are in fact extraordinarily vulnerable.

      I predicted many years ago that the wars of the future would be fought on the basis of "intelligence," meaning both the need to be intelligent in dealing with our problems and our "enemies", i.e., outsmarting them, and also "intelligence" in the sense of maintaining effective networks of information gathering.

      In the age of terrorism, when a single person or a small cell has the potential to launch a devastating attack, anything from some firecrackers in a pressure cooker, to a nuclear device, the govt. has the responsibility to gather as much information as possible about any individual or group that might be in the process of preparing such an attack -- and that includes, imo, the kind of surveillance and also "entrapment" exercises that bother liberals so much. Unfortunately surveillance and entrapment are absolutely necessary if we are to survive as a civilized society. As Obama recently stressed, there is always going to be a tradeoff needed, we can't have it both ways 100%.

      The Internet and phone surveillance that everyone is so concerned over is not the same as wire tapping, and only means monitoring who is in contact with whom. If you are tracking a known terrorist, or other crazy nutcase, then it's important to know who that person is in touch with. I for one could care less if the govt. is keeping track of my contacts, because I'm not a terrorist and feel reasonably sure none of my friends are either. And there is safety in numbers. I would much rather see that sort of thing happening (govt. surveillance) then be faced with a situation where I wake up some morning to learn that NYC or Washington has been hit by a nuclear device someone smuggled into the country in a suitcase. And think of what would happen to our "civil rights" after such an attack. Moslems would be murdered in the streets, and most likely the survivors would be carted off to concentration camps like the Japanese during WWII. If a certain amount of judicious surveillance can prevent such an event from happening I'm all for it.

      As for the rest, yes, Obama is a big disappointment. He lacks the sort of leadership skills and also the guts to do what is necessary to save this country from itself. But our liberals also have a lot to answer for, because as you say we no longer seem to have many "real socialists" left among us and at this point we desperately need them.

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  8. "If a certain amount of judicious surveillance can prevent such an event from happening I'm all for it."

    Wow, this is disappointing. They're building some massive complex out in the western desert the size of several football fields as I recall, at billions of dollars, taxpayer dollars, just to HOL nsa/cia/fbi/dea/homeland security personal files on nearly everyone in the USA. WTF? How many supercomputers do they need to run in that top secret storage bin, to compute a good picture of all of us, individually?

    I don't know why so many are so willing to use force, when just a bit of a change in perspective and some empathy for the other side, would maybe come to some compromise in this question. The media asks, "is there any real PRIVACY" these days?" And it's just another fluff piece. And then they say "expectation of privacy rights?" I think any connection any of us here have are through the "net" and our providers, so I'd check on their privacy protections.

    I am a libertarian progressive. Snowden is a hero. And I think he just revealed the tip of the iceberg. Whatever happened to this country, and whatever happened to the whole concept of:

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    Where are your other current writings? Links please.

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    1. Libertarian progressive is a contradiction in terms. Because in this day and age, libertarianism stands for the most regressive policies imaginable, to the point of outright fascism. Ron Paul would even restore the old southern policy of separating white from black restrooms and water fountains, because, after all, we don't want "big government" telling us how to run our businesses, right?

      Nor do libertarians want "big government" snooping into our "private" communications. I think it telling that Snowden is a supporter of Ron Paul, and that certainly raises some red flags for me. As I see it, in the battle with the oligarchs, big government is the only force that can serve as a counterweight to big money. Without it we might as well be serfs. We are already becoming wage slaves.

      In the USA government was conceived as "of the people, by the people and for the people" and I still believe in that. So as far as I"m concerned "big government" is, or should be, the voice of the people writ large. The challenge is not to fight against or resist big government, but to fight to make sure it remains "of the people, by the people and for the people" and that fight is now shaping into a battle royale for sure.

      As far as that massive NSA complex is concerned, and all the rest of the huge NSA/Homeland Security apparatus, what bothers me is not the violation of our human rights, because imo that's not what's happening, but the sheer inefficiency and self delusion entailed in such a monstrous, overblown, out of control program. I'm bothered also by the sheer stupidity of the people running the sort of system that would enable someone like Snowden to get hold of all these secret documents in the first place.

      I'm not against the sort of surveillance the NSA is doing, so long as there are checks and balances in place to protect the privacy of innocent people. In fact I think such surveillance is absolutely necessary because we have real enemies out there, and not just some nut case suicide bombers in turbans or burkas but sophisticated organizations with piles of money at their disposal.

      That said, I completely agree with what you've written regarding a "change in perspective and some empathy for the other side." We wouldn't need homeland security at all if our leaders were more capable of understanding that the terrorist attacks and anti-US resentment are driven by real pain and in many cases legitimate concerns over real injustices. A perfect example is our insistence on supporting Israel, whose racist policies have produced very understandable outrage all over the world. A little sensitivity applied under the right circumstances can help us a lot more than a whole bunch of murderous drone attacks.

      Nevertheless: for all the hysteria about the US descending into a "police state," I'm sorry but I just don't see it. I don't see any sign that Obama or anyone else is abusing any of the gathered info to deprive anyone of his or her rights or use the info to his or her advantage. And whenever we do see signs of that then that's a different story and we must certainly resist.

      What I do see is the US applying pointless and self destructive overkill to a problem requiring intelligence, efficiency and finesse. That IS a serious problem and does need to be addressed as soon as possible.

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    2. "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

      That was written a long long time ago. Things are different now, I'm sorry to say. We're not talking "temporary safety" but the future of civilized society, the future of democracy and the future of common decency. Also no one is being asked to give up "Essential Liberty" or even ordinary privacy, at least as we've known it over the last 20 years or so. Governments have been in the business of surveillance and spying for a very long time now and what Snowden revealed is really nothing new. If you're worried about your privacy, then get off the Internet and stop using cell phones. NSA has a mandate to protect your privacy, and systems in place to make sure its protected. And its now being looked at very carefully, so any holes in that system can be plugged. Google, Facebook, Verizon, Microsoft, etc. have no such mandate and have been playing fast and loose with our privacy for a long time now. If privacy is what concerns you I suggest you worry about what they are up to.

      "Where are your other current writings? Links please."

      Most of my other writings deal with scholarly topics with limited general interest so there's no point in sharing those links here. However, you might be interested in my e-book, Aliens Among Us, available via Amazon.com (see ad on the upper right of this web page). It's political satire dealing with some of the same issues raised on this blog. Another work of mine that might interest you is my play with music, "I Bertolt Brecht," freely available here: http://doktorgee.worldzonepro.com/BrechtProject/Brecht_main.htm

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  9. I find it odd you would mention the current state of affairs in the "world" as "civilized." How can you say this? Do you know that THOUSANDS of innocent children DIE each day for lack of basic necessities of life? No potable water, no decent food, no basic immunization shots, unsanitary living conditions, outdoor in the mud "toilets." And yet, here we are in our nice cozy worlds, thinking "our" reality IS reality.

    And WTF does "democracy" mean to you, because to me it mean zilch? It's a big phony long-lived concept which has nothing to do with the USA. The USA is one big lie. Has been ever since Eisenhower warned us all of what we have exactly these days. Democracy is stupid anyway. Why should a "majority" get to rule anyone or shape policy? I mean, if this is the case, what was so bad about Hitler? The "majority" of Germans loved the fuck.

    "The future of common decency?" WTF? Whose "common decency?" Who decides exactly what that means and who gets to legally enforce in our wonderful western democracies, what is "decent" or not? I don't understand your POV, dude.

    You talk about how all these agencies like the friggin NSA are all doing God's work, and we should just leave all these God-fearing folks controlling all of us, to just dand-blamed let them do their duty to protect all us unprotected. So...

    Where does it stop? Where's the fine line? If all these draconian policies continue (blessed by King Obama), where do YOU draw the line? When "they" come for you?

    "If privacy is what concerns you I suggest you worry about what they are up to."

    What a weird statement. WTF does that mean? Seems another when they come for you ideology.

    And lastly, "If you're worried about your privacy, then get off the Internet and stop using cell phones." Wow, man, do you really hear yourself? That's really some fascist, elitist shit there. What are you, some multi-millionaire living it up with privacy insurance second to none? Really.
    I mean, you willingly give "the government" control over what you see and hear and digest? And soon, how the hell do you even know the difference between simple right and wrong?

    But that is a discussion best left to the future. If any...

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    1. Yes, innocent children are starving and dying all over the world, exactly. And workers all over the world are being exploited, underpaid and abused. We keep being told there is "no money" to deal meaningfully with such matters, and yet we are living in an era of vast wealth, far beyond anything ever encountered in the history of the world. As individuals there is little we can do about this situation (unless we are billionaires, of course), but as voting members of a democracy, we can work to change our government into a truly progressive force.

      To me issues like these are the ones we should be focused on. So I get impatient when "progressives" follow in the path of the most regressive political movement in American history, the Tea Party, to launch a vicious attack on "big government" simply because one whistle blower has revealed what anyone with any understanding of how the world works already has known for many years now. I.e., intelligence organizations gather intelligence. That's their job and in fact that is their responsibility, because we are living in a world far more dangerous than what you seem capable of imagining.

      If you prefer to be cynical about abstractions such as "civilization" then think simply in very concrete terms of a nuclear device being set off in a major US city, and the impact that would have on the future of the world. So, yes, it looks like the NSA is bending some rules as part of its efforts to protect the world from such a calamity, and its consequences. And there is a legitimate debate going on regarding such practices, and whether or not they violate the constitution. Looks to me like some of the controls need to be tightened for sure. But I'm sorry, we are NOT living in a police state, I see no danger of our living in a police state, and I am not worried about "big government" monitoring everything I say and write, because I have already written more than enough to get me into trouble and have had no compunction about going public with my thoughts on the Internet and elsewhere.

      And, yes, I like you, am concerned about what has happened to democracy in the USA, because more and more decisions are being made by the oligarchs and then rubber stamped by our elected officials. And I'm also concerned about all the wars we've felt it necessary to fight, and the horribly destructive effect of those wars. But I am also intelligent enough to realize that there is no simple fix that can be applied and I also happen to be very cynical when my fellow "progressives" show no awareness of basic issues such as class consciousness, the exploitation of the working class, the organization of labor, building socialism, etc. and focus instead on what look to me like typically elitist concerns, such as global warming and "privacy."

      And no I am not a billionaire or a millionaire. In fact I've made my living for most of my life teaching part time. I am not a hot shot professor making $100,000 a year, in fact I left the academic world years ago, after having been reappointed to my position, because I could sense even then that it was corrupt. I laid my career on the line more than once to fight the good fight for real issues that matter, so excuse me if I get impatient when I see my fellow "progressives" whining on endlessly about issues that don't.

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  10. I don't see why you insist on some black and white view as it comes to libertarianism and progressive or socialist viewpoints. Why can't one take the best tidbits from each to arrive at a possible solution to problems? Of whatever type?

    "As individuals there is little we can do about this situation (unless we are billionaires, of course), but as voting members of a democracy, we can work to change our government into a truly progressive force."

    You can do a lot about the innocent children dying in the thousands daily for lack of basic human "decency" among those who talk voting and "democracy." On a personal basis. Go to Childfund.org.

    I think a lot of libertarians are crazy, but those are easy targets. Where's the easy "progressive" voices in the media, just as NUTS. Like on MSNBC or for Huffington Post, etc. All toss that term around so loosely. When in truth, most "progressives" these days are just Obama/liberal/democratic media asskissers. The closest thing you get these days to anything actually "progressive" is right-wing as far as I'm concerned. Yes, I'm a very, very, very disgruntled Obama twice voter (fool me once...).

    Your attitude about the government and its control (or that which you freely let it have) over you, cuts to the heart of the problem, but you don't see the problem. You accept the blindfold. So, what do you think of Snowden? Is he a hero or a traitor? Oh right, Obama and the USA has officially declared him one of the most wanted. How absurd. And this Army guy, Bradley I think, who was TORTURED by your own USA government. Oh, but "we" don't torture...

    How about the HALF MILLION people in USA prisons and jails for "marijuana offenses?" And federal agencies like the DEA and CIA and FBI and NSA and (insert your three letter government agency of choice) all the military, para-military, contractor, warpigs, creating slave labor (prisons) for profit in the good ol' USA?

    And the irony is, we have a "reformed" pot-head president who likes throwing folks like he used to be as a teenager/young adult, into PRISON for smoking a fucking joint. 1000's are arrested every month, mostly black, for this. He has the nerve to comment on this whole Trayvon Martin - George Zimmerman trial.
    Like what is it about the two words "SELF DEFENSE" or "NOT GUILTY" that don't make sense to the current crop of wimpy liberals?

    What was Obama's major achievement outside of making Wall Street "work" again, with absolutely NO convictions of previous evil-doers? Oh yeah, he GOT Osama. And the mobs were outside the White House chanting like zombie frat boys USA USA USA. And they can't even KILL the guy with any transparency. They murdered some old stoned guy in his PJ's then dumped his body into the ocean, where ex-CIA dead men tell no tales. Oh, blame the republicans, and yes, they are scum, but Obama could get a LOT of good things done if he just invoked executive privilege. But he's a wimp like the rest of the Democrud party.

    The truth is, workable answers and solutions to the world's problems ARE simple. But really, look how broken the whole system is, why would you want to depend on the very same governmental forces to get us out of the mess they've created, and champion?

    What's that old saying, we need a good revolution every so often? I don't think it starts or ends with "groups" and the whole concept of "democracy" (majority rule) as now constituted, is shameful.

    Since when did the whole concept of at least SOME "privacy" become an "elitist" concern. Or maybe that's just what you really believe and if so, I kind of feel sorry for you. Thanks for responding anyway.

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    1. I suggest you take a look at this video of Naom Chomsky on the term "libertarian": http://amoleintheground.blogspot.com/2009/01/chomsky-libertarian.html
      I'm assuming you're a libertarian in the old fashioned sense that he embraces. But it's important to understand that the term in this sense has been totally co-opted by modern neo-conservativism. So be careful how you use this term, because its meaning has been reversed, as Chomsky points out.

      And no I don't believe in solving the world's problems by contributing to charitable organizations. I do in fact make such contributions and I do think they make a difference, but it's not an excuse for bad or indifferent governments to neglect the basic necessities of the great majority of their people.

      "The closest thing you get these days to anything actually "progressive" is right-wing as far as I'm concerned"

      Well, this is what I see as the great danger. More and more, especially on the Internet, I see "liberals" and "progressive" sounding like Tea Partiers, especially in their incredibly vicious and imo insensitive attacks on Obama. At times it almost sounds like blatant racism. I too am disappointed by Obama and if you read enough here you'll see many criticisms of him and his policies. But I also realize the difficulty of the position he's in. He sees himself as a great compromiser, but the opposition is unwilling to compromise so he ends up looking like an amateur and even a fool. But it's clear, to me at least, that he's trying, even when he's tilting at windmills.

      "So, what do you think of Snowden? Is he a hero or a traitor?"

      I've been reading recently more about Manning, and it seems to me that his actions were justified on the basis of principles established at the Nuremberg trials. He witnessed atrocities and injustices, he reported these to his superiors, who ignored him. What Nuremberg established is that simply obeying orders is not an excuse. Thus despite Manning's technically breaking the law, his actions should be condoned under the higher law of Nuremberg. And on that basis, I think Obama should pardon him.

      That said, I see Manning as an immature, naive person, someone with a good heart, but also someone acting recklessly. So when he decided to release documents to WikiLeaks it looks like he way overdid it and released information that probably did do harm to some people who didn't deserve it. (Along with many who no doubt did deserve it.)

      Snowden's story is a bit different. It's not clear whether he actually blew the whistle by complaining to his superiors before releasing the classified documents. And he could have gone to members of congress first, before taking the action he did. Nevertheless, as I see it, he too should be covered by Nuremberg, because he was aware of some things that in his view were illegal and immoral and his actions were in that sense justified.

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    2. If you read much here you'll see that I do not advocate armed rebellion. And if in fact it comes to that, the rebellion is much more likely to come from the right than the left. What I'm counting on is a complete collapse of our financial system, to the point that this would be the equivalent of a bloodless revolution that would not require violence. Once the wealth of the billionaires is revealed as the mirage it is, their power will vanish and we'll be in a position to build a real democracy, both political and economic from the ashes. Am I a hopeless Utopian? Probably.

      As far as the privacy issue is concerned, I AM concerned and I do think the activities of the NSA need to be investigated and if necessary brought into line with the 4th Amendment. What bothers me, however, is the tendency of "progressives" to fixate on this sort of issue, what I would call a typically ACLU issue, in other words a relatively technical, philosophical issue which doesn't really ever make much of a difference, but makes liberals feel good about themselves. That's what makes it an elitist issue for me. Even if the NSA were abolished (which ain't gonna happen), any pretense that we actually have much in the way of privacy in this society would still be a delusion.

      Meanwhile, there are much more important, fundamental issues, such as the exploitation of workers, class struggle, socialism, etc. that never get much attention from "progressives," at least not in the USA.

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  11. I myself think Jimmy Carter was the last "great" thinking president. I had hoped Obama might be that, but either he's really not in control of anything, or just a liar. Thank you for your thoughts. You should write a new article for this website. How about one on how most of the American people present day are "zombies." And I mean "zombies" in this way:

    http://consc.net/zombies.html

    Good day...

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