09/07/2014 archive

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: “Do NOT Let Them Get Any Ideas…..” by Diane Gee

I am back to work, and actually excited about being a wage slave once again – the pay is good, but the training hours are brutal. 60 hour weeks are not what they were when I was 21.  51 is a whole ‘nother ball game. I mention this for two relevant reasons:  1) It may make you forgiving of any errors found within, since I am penning this an hour before deadline, and much more importantly 2) Yesterday I took a nap and had a fairly lucid dream in which I ended up explaining to a teenaged girl why “Americans are so dumb…”

I whipped it off as a short story of almost the same title to keep the epiphany I had fresh in my mind for today’s missive.  

I want to offer the idea in a more cohesive manner to this esteemed audience, rather than the off-the-cuff explanation my sub-conscience offered the little girl.

I also am asking you to check your historical preconceived notions, and consider the possibility of what I am thinking, as well as offer your thoughts on it.  

“Lily, think about it.  France had a long time to grow up.  Wars, revolts, leaders and kings, assassinations and like most of Europe, has had time to try and balance between what is ‘good for the people’ and ‘what the rich want.’  Its not so hard to convince the French after hard times, that all Frenchmen – something they all hold in common – deserve to have nice things.  Not just a few.  

The same for every Country in Europe, they have an identity that binds them.  The US not so much.  There is no sense of countrymen for people from so many places.  Each identity group- primarily the white anglo-saxon capitalists think they are the ONLY face of Americanism.

Its not just that though.  Because in Europe they have fought hard – I mean the richest that rule – to make sure that Socialism only goes so far.  Far enough to keep them from revolting, bonding against the power.  They worked hard to make sure Capitalism was always in charge and to this day paint Russia as a demon.

America, the US?  I think, really was a new experiment in Capitalism.

Why do you think that so many in Europe are multi-lingual like you? And we are not?  Europeans can ride a train and be in another country in an instant – quicker than we can go state to state, and realize how cool other people are and never want to war on them.  USers are isolated.  

If you were making a new country and wanted your rule to be unquestioned; create a belief that the elites know whats best, and that Capitalism, English and the cycle of working and buying to make you rich, what would you do? You certainly wouldn’t want to have to share with the poor. Socialism is painted as helping ‘others’ not ‘USers’ I mean, they aren’t helping you get rich, so why would you allow people to think helping them is good? You wouldn’t want too good an education to happen, then there would be no one willing to work for nothing.  You certainly wouldn’t want them to know too much world history – only American History which you make sound like we were the best place with the best way on Earth.

That’s why socialized medicine that everyone else has hasn’t been allowed in the States.  They tell us its bad, and won’t work.  And for a while?  Most Americans had more “stuff” than other people, but to get it, and having known nothing else, they don’t realize the actual quality of their life sucks compared to most places.  They don’t have TIME, they don’t have community and a feeling of belonging, beyond “I got a new Iphone too!”  They have no sense of pura vida.  We have become convinced our only value is not in how we live, but what we have.

Americans aren’t stupid, they just were raised in a system that isolated them from reality.  If they knew other languages, they would know what other people thought or said. If you don’t know what they are saying, you trust the so-called smart guys when they tell you that they are evil.  That they have bad intent.

So, really, if you were planning on starting from scratch, and wanted to be the new rulers, and untouchable?  You would plan a country exactly like how they made the US.

They made sure that we wouldn’t get any ideas, right from day one, and if we did?  The McCarthy era cinched it.  

In fact, if you remember nothing else – the US’s real motto is – “Don’t give them any ideas.”  In the rest of the world, the ideas are already there in their history.  We don’t have that.  Our history is only one system period.  Rule of the rich, by and for the rich. ”

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert – Midterm Round-Up

Stephen Colbert – Midterm Round-Up

Zephyr Teachout Speaks Out For New York

On Tuesday New York will decide which candidate they want to represent the Democratic Party on the November ballot for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor. While incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo has been refusing to debate his primary challengers, Zephyr Teachout and Randy Credico, to the point of pretending he didn’t see Professor Teachout at Saturday’s Labor Day parade, Prof. Teachout has been making appearances on radio and television talk shows.

Saturday morning Prof Teachout was a guest on MSNBC’s “Up with Steve Kornacki

For many New York voters the choice is becoming clear: a vote for Andrew Cuomo os a vote for the 1% and the same old corruption and pandering to the interests of Wall St.; a vote for Zephyr Teachout is a vote for the working class majority of New York and real Democratic principles.

On This Day In History September 7

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 7 is the 250th day of the year (251st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 115 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1813, the United States gets its nickname, Uncle Sam.

The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812. Wilson (1766-1854) stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to the grub as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.

In the late 1860s and 1870s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) began popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today.


On this day in 1813, the United States gets its nickname, Uncle Sam. The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812. Wilson (1766-1854) stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to the grub as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.

In the late 1860s and 1870s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) began popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today.

Keeping An Eye On Kansas

Kansas State Seal photo Seal_of-Kansas_zps747315a6.jpg
Kansas has always been a strange place for politics. Since joining the Union as a slave free state on January 29, 1861, Kansas has been one of the most socially conservative states of the union, driving its politics off the right wing cliff. Currently, Republican Senator Pat Roberts is in a tight fight to maintain his seat, barely winning his primary. His Democratic challenger, Chad Taylor, withdrew from the race at the last minute this week but Kansas Secretary of State says his name must remain on the ballot. Still, this gives the better funded Independent candidate, Greg Orman, a shot at unseating Roberts in what would be a real upset

Polling analysts, who usually sneer at the possibility of “game-changers” disrupting the fundamental trends of a race, are now all worked up about the game-changing possibilities on display here. Nate Silver declares that the Kansas Senate race “just got crazy,” adding that his “totally wild guess” early on is that the contest is now a “toss up.” (Studious Nate, as always, would like to think about this for a little while.) Princeton’s Sam Wang puts Orman’s “winGO probability at 85 percent,” meaning “the probability of Democratic control of the Senate is about to pop up by 20-30 percent.” Nathan Gonzalez, writing at the Rothenberg Political Report, dubs Roberts the “most vulnerable Republican Senator in the country.” [..]

The race will hinge on how Orman chooses to define himself and how Roberts and the Republicans choose to define Orman. If it breaks down into an effective Democrat vs. Republican race, you’d think, just given the fact that this is Kansas in a strong Republican year with an unpopular Democratic president, that Roberts would be able to pull it off. But if Orman can manage to maintain the “independent” image and marry a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans, then he could pull off this most unlikely of upsets.

However, the Democrats need to be careful about wishing for an Orman win. It may not change anything since Orman, a Republican who once ran as a Democrat, has parked himself in the middle

The problem for election forecasters is that Orman has given a novel answer to the question of which party he would caucus with should he win. “If one party is clearly in the majority,” Orman’s campaign website says, “he will seek to caucus with the party that was in the majority as that would be in the best interest for the state of Kansas.”

More importantly, Orman has been coy about what he might do in the event his caucus choice would determine which party held the majority. “If I get elected, there’s a reasonable chance that neither party will have a majority in Washington,” Orman told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki. “If that is the case, I’m gonna caucus with whichever party is willing to actually go to Washington and start trying to solve problems as opposed to just pleasing the extremists in their own base.” [..]

If either party wins a majority with room to spare, Orman’s choice is irrelevant. If Democrats end up with 50 seats or Republicans win 51, Orman can give the majority party one extra vote, but his choice will not decide which party takes control. (Vice President Joe Biden votes with the Democrats to break ties, so Democrats would have a working majority with 50 votes in their caucus.) However, if the Democrats hold 49 seats and the Republicans win 50, Orman will be in a position to determine the majority.

Add to the fact that the very unpopular Republican governor, Sam Brownback, is in serious jeopardy of losing to a Democrat, Paul Davis, makes Kansas worth watching.

Kansas has been crazy for a long time, maybe now the voters are fed up with the crazies. As Doc Maddow would say: Keep watching this space.

Formula One 2014: Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Now I’m not going to try and blame all of Formula One’s problems on the undisputed fact that Nico Rosberg booted his ‘team mate’ Lewis Hamilton out of the race at Spa-Forchamps two weeks ago and will skate without any meaningful sanction at all, nor do I think the problem is merely ugly new circuits, ugly cars, no engine sound, or blatant nepotism, or even boring, slow, heavy cars.

Nope, the problem is money, but not the way you think.

The problem with any professional sporting franchise is that team owners pretend to think of it as a business, like selling groceries, instead of what it really is which is a gigantic penis you can masturbate in public.

First the power relationship is not at all like marketing directly.  The League you play in has every bit of it, otherwise you’re the Harlem Globetrotters inventing your opposition and playing High School Gyms against cops, firefighters, and politicians in wheelchairs (you want some public embarrassment?  Even the bad teams practice once a week and they use those chairs all day every.  Besides, they give you the crappy ones with the hinky wheels.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  The fact I can’t hit an undefended layup standing on my own 2 feet has nothing to do with it).

The League always makes money, usually most of it, because their overhead is low and all they provide you with are rules, structure, and branding.  If you want to see libertarian Calvinball I suggest America’s Cup where everything is negotiated between the franchise owners except the wind and the water and they’re trying like heck to remove the water.

Anyway, if you want to watch Basketball you, the sports consumer, have certain expectations about what you are about to witness.  There is a ball.  It is round.  Players can touch it with their hands.  Occasionally they bounce it on the floor or throw it to another player.  There is a horizontal hoopie thing that serves as a point scoring goal.  I choose Basketball as my example because it was invented in the U.S., is familiar to most readers, and clearly and historically artificial in construction (a designed game), but the principles apply universally.  This is the ‘structure’.  If the hoopie thing were oriented vertically and the game played with your hips and the (usually) non-bouncy severed heads of your defeated enemies it would be Aztec-ball.

So ‘structure’ is what separates sports from each other and ‘branding’ is what fills the seats.  ‘Rules’ are about subtleties and competition.

You might argue that all non-running racing is ‘structurally’ the same.  You have a vehicle (bike, camel, doesn’t matter) and you win by either traveling the farthest or by crossing an arbitrary distance (could be farthest) in a smaller amount of time.  Yet there is no arguing that Turn Left racing is immensely more popular in the U.S. than camel racing, perhaps because of our Islamophobia or perhaps because of our outrageous taxes on camels (which I would walk a mile for).

And now we are getting closer to the subtleties.  What is the difference between IndyCar and Formula One?  Well, one favors close competition and the other favors speed.  In sports favoring speed the dynamic that develops is that one participant gains an early advantage which simply increases until the race is mercifully cut short.  The only chances for a change in position are reliability problems or management mistakes.  In sports favoring competition artificial and arbitrary rules are introduced to ensure any early advantage is erased.

Most team owners will complain about money when what they mean is that their team is uncompetitive because of management decisions.  Salary caps and other restrictions are put into place to make the Harlem Globetrotters play more like a team of politicians in hinky wheelchairs when the real difference is that they can make an undefended layup and you can’t.

In fact either you make a commitment to winning or you don’t.  Where Formula One has gone wrong is in restricting practice and testing.  Practice develops the pool of drivers, engineers, and mechanics so that supply side economics lowers your labor costs, not kickbacks, nepotism, and bribes.  Testing develops your design by exposing strengths and weaknesses outside of competition where corrections can reduce the impact of flaws and new strategies are suggested by discovery of advantages.

Yup, sure is expensive, but not as expensive as a failed program that is a waste and a joke (looking at you Scuderia Marlboro), simulated onanistic computer time (looking at you again Scuderia Marlboro), and wrongly calibrated high-tech wind tunnels (looking at you a third time Scuderia Marlboro).

At least Ferrari gets it and is agitating for more track time while the also rans are complaining that their cars need to get cheaper, not better, and blaming the drivers for lack of preparation while throwing ever increasing chunks of money at them in a lame attempt to create a box office bonanza out of noteriety and hype.

Autodromo Nazionale Monza is the fastest track in Formula One.  On offer today are the Hard and Medium tires between which there is not much difference.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); Rep. Peter King (R-NY); Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA); and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

The roundtable guests are:  Yahoo News national political columnist Matt Bai; Democratic strategist Donna Brazile; ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl; Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol; and FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are: former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD); CBS News Elections Director Anthony Salvanto; and David Leonhardt, The New York Times.

His panel guests are: Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal; David Ignatius, The Washington Post; and Peter Baker, The New York Times.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: Chuck makes his debut as moderator of MTP with an exclusive interview of President Barack Obama.

If you think that Chuck will be an improvement over the Dance Master, read this article by Simon Maloy at Salon.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); Rep. Tony Cárdenas; Mayor Michael Nutter, (D) Philadelphia; Mayor Marty Walsh (D) Boston; and Mayor Kevin Faulconer, (R) San Diego.

Her panel guests are Crossfire Hosts Newt Gingrich and S.E. Cupp; CNN Commentators LZ Granderson and Maria Cardona.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Ukraine crisis: Ceasefire shaken by fresh shelling

 7 September 2014 Last updated at 07:58


There has been fresh shelling near Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine, raising fears that a 36-hour-old ceasefire is near to collapse.

The truce held for much of Saturday but overnight shelling in Mariupol was followed by the explosions near Donetsk airport early on Sunday.

The truce and 12-point peace roadmap was signed at talks involving Ukraine, Russia, the rebels and the OSCE.

Fighting in the east has left some 2,600 people dead since April.

Before the ceasefire was agreed on Friday, the separatists had been advancing on both Donetsk airport and Mariupol, a key city on the route to Crimea and an economic prize for any possibility of independence for the eastern Ukraine region.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Ebola outbreak: Why has ‘Big Pharma’ failed deadly virus’ victims?

How will robotic surgery help Indians failed by basic healthcare in the country?

Charity criticises Sierra Leone’s proposed Ebola lockdown from September 19

Qatar confirms arrest of UK rights workers

What’s a ‘hairy monkey’? Chinese artists share their secret