Denial

I've been thinking a lot these days about the human capacity for denial. It is an amazing thing to behold, even when the consequences are profoundly dire and imminent. From the coming water wars and climate change to income inequality, poisoning the environment, peak oil, and our infrastructure collapse, the signs of growing chaos surround us.

This from a billionaire:

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent. But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

For better or for worse, the only real possibility for effective action on any of these fronts is government. That's where the institutions we've created to help our society manage itself reside. And I fear it's for worse, because at least half of our government is occupied by greeders and thieves whose interests lie in profiting from the chaos. It's not exclusively the Republican party, there are plenty of like-minded Democrats. But at a policy level, a big chunk of the responsibility for inaction rests on Republican shoulders.

Comments

If I were a young person today

I would find it very hard to choose to have children. That's not to say I don't love my children and grand children. I adore them and am working to create a future that works for them. But I am not very optimistic these days.

It is easy to become overwhelmed

and I must admit that I'm not brimming with optimism either. Twenty years ago I thought things would be better for my children. I know they are in some ways, but this whole going backwards thing is horrifying.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

The plutocrats

also figured out that the only obstacle to their absolute monarchy is government. Hence their all-out effort to take control of government.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

Excellent article

Kraus’ even more recent work, not yet published, goes beyond what high-status individuals believe in order to maintain the status hierarchy and explores what they do. Consider Congress. Members’ median net worth, in 2011, was $966,000. “They’re quite wealthy individuals,” Kraus says. “And because they’re wealthy they’re likely to engage in not only these essentialistic [mental] processes, but these people actually have power to enact laws to maintain inequality.”

Not only do they have the power, they are taking action to do just that. The vast inequality we're experiencing today is the result of public policy designed to accomplish that very goal.

Killer paragraph

The American political system is overrun by money. Economic inequality translates into political inequality, and political inequality yields increasing economic inequality. In fact, as he recognizes, Mr. Piketty’s argument rests on the ability of wealth-holders to keep their after-tax rate of return high relative to economic growth. How do they do this? By designing the rules of the game to ensure this outcome; that is, through politics.

Home grown

And here's North Carolina's owner making that case that money = speech and no one better trample on his right to "speak" louder than everyone else. Because there's (more) money to be made, dammit.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

They bettter hope

I never become a billionaire. I'll show them free speech. I'm probably willing to fritter away more money by speaking freely than they are.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Funny you should mention Pope Artie

I held out as long as I could. His words:

Our family has worked hard and benefited from America's free-enterprise system, and we want to make sure that the benefits of a democracy with a free-market economy are there for everyone's benefit and for future generations.

The above referenced articles go a long way to explain where he and the Kochs get their chutzpah! (That's Swahili for brass balls).

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"Let's not be too rough on our own ignorance; it's what makes America great!" - Frank Zappa (6/29/1988)

Pope Art speaks the truth

in that quote. One just needs to understand his own personal definition of "everyone's":

"...we want to make sure that the benefits of a democracy with a free-market economy are there for everyone's a few callous, uncaring, entitled, insulated, out-of-touch, rich, white, straight, faux-Christian, Republican males' benefit..."

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

The regular folks respond

It seems that a few people don't agree with the whining of the state's owner about limits being imposed on how many legislators and judges he can buy via television attack ads.

Not just one, not just two, not three, four or even five, but six letters responding to Pope's propaganda.

And that illustrates the issue so very well: Art is in the minority but he can overwhelm people with his money. As one letter writer said:

Most of us are limited to these free, letter-to-the-editor-types of speech, which only reach as far as individual newspaper readers. Meanwhile, Pope’s millions can get his “free speech” out through multiple outlets, that we non-millionaires can’t access.

I heartily defend our freedom of speech, but not Pope’s and others’ freedom to buy our election process.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

Thanks James

I thought I'd dust it off and give it another go. I'll try not to procrastinate and start ranting anew.

It's running on my own server and I'm trying to get a handle on configuring search engine updating so I can get real popular, sell the site to the highest bidder, and buy me some Free Speech of my own.

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"Let's not be too rough on our own ignorance; it's what makes America great!" - Frank Zappa (6/29/1988)

Plutocracy can only take us

Plutocracy can only take us back to feudalism. Or, as I wrote here almost two years ago, to the time of the story Les Miserables. No restrictions on business, no protections for people, no minimum wage, no health care, no real justice.

With the replacement for justice

being who can draw one's gun faster.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

Excellent thread

Thanks for starting this one James. I haven't had a chance to read any of the linked articles yet, but this is a topic that must be addressed if our kids and theirs are to have any chance at all of survival, and we have to do it now.

It is very depressing.

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"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail