HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Garrett78 » Journal
Page: 1 2 Next »


Profile Information

Member since: Wed Aug 19, 2015, 04:47 AM
Number of posts: 10,721

Journal Archives

The Platform of The Movement for Black Lives

Do centrists support this: https://policy.m4bl.org/platform/


A reminder of what General Smedley Butler had to say.

With all of the talk about how soldiers have died so that the rest of us in the US can have freedom, I think it might be good to recall some of what General Butler (the most decorated soldier in US history at the time of his death) had to say.

Here's a quote:

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

Here are more quotes: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

What constitutes a "centrist" position?

What constitutes a centrist or moderate position in the US? And what percentage would you say fall into that category?

I suppose they might be those who, leading up to elections, are undecided, which I always find dumbfounding. But why are they undecided? Are they centrists or just ignorant of how different the candidates are?

Before someone mentions so-called independents, let me point out what studies make clear, which is that most independents are very partisan and not centrists/moderates.

Anyway, terms like centrist, left, right, far left and far right get used a lot around here. But I wonder how many can define what they mean? And can a consensus be reached as to the definitions? If not, the use of those terms is problematic.

A long drive last night served as a depressing reminder about the state of our media.

As many have pointed out before, we are getting our asses kicked when it comes to media. As my wife and I drove a long distance last night, we were reminded that right wing and religious nuts dominate the radio airwaves.

And then you turn to the television infotainment industry with its penchant for promoting false equivalencies and the notion that all statements are equally valid opinions worthy of airtime (no facts, no falsehoods, only opinions).

Add to all that the Russian infiltration and it's hard to feel hopeful.

If someone like Warren Buffet wants to truly make a difference, he'll invest in changing the media landscape.

"It is time to scrap patriotism."

Years ago I read Robert Jensen's thorough deconstruction of the concept known as patriotism. I recommend everyone read it: http://robertwjensen.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Citizens-of-the-Empire-Chapter-3-Patriotism-pdf.pdf

What do you love?
If we use the common definition of patriotism -- love of, and loyalty to, one‟s country -- the first question that arises is, what is meant by country? Nation-states, after all, are not naturally occurring objects. What is the object of our affection and loyalty? In discussions with various community groups and classes since 9/11, I have asked people to explain which aspects of a nation-state -- specifically in the context of patriotism in the United States -- they believe should spark patriotic feelings. Toward whom or what should one feel love and loyalty? The answers offered include the land, the people of a nation, its culture, the leadership, national policies, the nation‟s institutions, and the democratic ideals of the nation. To varying degrees, all seem like plausible answers, yet all fail to provide a coherent answer to that basic question.

The author goes on to explain why each of those answers does not suffice. As he writes in the intro, patriotism is "morally, politically, and intellectually bankrupt."

One big reason why most Trump supporters simply can't be reached.

The "alternate reality" is real.

It's one thing to disagree about the cause and effect nature of various facts. It's one thing to disagree about the appropriate response to various facts.

But flat-out denying facts (while simultaneously inventing or buying into utter falsehoods) is a whole other ballgame. That's what we're up against, and it isn't going to change anytime soon.

And you can give up on the idea that presenting facts will bring people around. As a Boston Globe article made clear years ago, presenting facts actually backfires.

Inspire and motivate the base, raise hell about race-based voter suppression and gerrymandering, put some time and energy into youth turnout, and just outnumber the opposition. Forget about reaching across the aisle, and "fight dirty." Someday, perhaps, some semblance of sanity will return to the opposition party (be it the Republican Party or a new party). For now, though, Democrats just have to win. Our species and other species need Democrats to win.

The Nation-State: Is it Dead?

Not long ago, someone posted an article by Rana Dasgupta, claiming that the nation-state is dying, if not already dead. I think this is an important read/rebuttal: http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=39086

When we published our latest book – Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World – last September, Thomas Fazi and I approached the UK Guardian to see if they would publish an Op Ed by us summarising the main arguments presented in the book. We received no response. Pluto tell us that the book is one of their better sellers since it was published. And it is not as if the topic is irrelevant in the Guardian’s assessment. That is clear from the fact that on April 5, 2018, they published one of their ‘long read’ articles by Rana Dasgupta – The demise of the nation state – which is a direct refutation of the ideas advanced in our book. This ‘long read’ also falls into the same traps and analytical errors that we point out has besotted the Left side of politics since the 1970s. The article is clearly part of the Guardian’s agenda to appear progressive but, in fact, be anything of the sort. As I have noted previously, the Guardian seems content to publish a torrent of anti-Brexit articles and criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn rather than provide any semblance of balance.

Here are a few simple questions to start with:

If the nation state is dead why does Wall Street spend billions of US dollars trying to influence who wins government and once government is decided on influencing the outcome of specific legislation.

Over the period that Rana Dasgupta claims the nation state has lost relevance, the total spending in the US on lobbying has gone from $US1.45 billion (1998) to $US3.36 billion (2017) and the number of unique, registered lobbyists who have actively lobbied has risen from 10,404 to 11,502 (Source).

Why does “Dark Money” exist? Billions are spent in an effort to influence elections for the ‘nation state’. Why, if the nation state is dead?

Look at the major US donors – National Rifle Association, US Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, American Future Fund, and more.


Why do organisations such as the Dow Chemicals spend $US13.6 million lobbying government in 2016, if the state no longer has the capacity to limit their activities?

Why do “Many of the UK’s largest companies shroud their lobbying efforts in secrecy and do not disclose their political engagements to the public or shareholders” and spend billions of pounds lobby government? (Source)

Why did “six of the big energy companies” spend “tens of millions of dollars for a climate change denial campaign, despite knowing the claims were false”? (Source)

Even though the Greek government surrendered its currency sovereignty upon joining the Eurozone, why did the ECB essentially threaten to bankrupt its financial system in 2016 at the time of the referendum if they didn’t think the government had any legislative capacity to take independent decisions?

Why in small nations such as Australia is there a multi-million dollar lobbying industry? Why do gun lobby gropus spend hundreds of thousands of dollars “helping minor rightwing parties win seats” at elections in Australia? (Source)

Tobacco, gambling, medicines, energy, and the rest – why do they outlay billions to influence government legislation if the state has withered away?

Note, the neoliberal framing going on here.

Tax bases have shifted somewhat – governments have run out of money which the rich have take for themselves and so the social-democratic welfare state has to be dismantled and the ‘moral promise’ abandoned because the governments can no long buy stuff or transfer money.

That is as a pure neoliberal myth as you will ever find. It is typical of the fake analysis that the Guardian promotes these days.

In the period that Dasgupta is considering (post 1970s), the monetary system that most nations operate within fundamentally changed.

Governments adopted fiat monetary systems and floated their currencies in international markets. That freed them from financing constraints that were present during the Bretton Woods era of fixed exchange rates.

These constraints existed even though the governments issued their own currencies because the central banks were committed to defending agreed parities between currencies, which meant that they had to withdraw currency from the system when it was facing downward pressure and vice versa in times of currency pressures upward.

In the modern era, no such financial constraints exist and so the fact that tax bases have shifted is largely irrelevant to the capacity of a national government to maintain first-class hospitals, schools and income security (the ‘welfare state’).

The reason that public infrastructure and public services are under threat and being retrenched is nothing at all to do with ‘lost’ fiscal capacity.

It is all to do with the shift in the dominant ideology that has occurred since the 1970s or 1980s depending when you start counting.

In many countries successive governments began cutting expenditures on public sector employment and social programs; culled the public capacity to offer apprenticeships and training programs, and set about dismantling what they claimed to be supply impediments (such as labour regulations, minimum wages, social security payments and the like).

The neoliberal era was in full swing.

But, importantly, neoliberalism works through the state not apart from it. The state can set the conditions that private capital has to work within.

That is why capital spend billions lobbying governments.

There was no ‘fiscal crisis of the state’, just a relentless and strengthening campaign from capital to extract more national income for profits and it used the ‘fiscal crisis’ smokescreen as a vehicle to justify all sorts of policies – privatisation, cuts to income support, deregulation that would be in their interests.

Note the causality – capital lobbied governments to change policy positions through legislation and regulation – to advance its interests.

Nothing has been done independent of the state!

Race is a social/political construct, and a rather recent invention at that.

With all of the posts about racism, something I myself have written about extensively, I see comments (e.g., 'no matter what race a person is') that suggest now is a good time to remind folks that race is a social/political construct. It has no biological basis. It wasn't until the late 1700s that a supposed classification of races was first constructed (by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach). Even Blumenbach, as his Wikipedia page points out, concluded that "individual Africans differ as much, or even more, from other Africans as from Europeans."

By no means am I suggesting racism (or how to address it) shouldn't be discussed. In fact, it's paramount. As I've written many times, the fostering and exploitation of racism is single-handedly keeping the Republican Party viable. A dismissal of "identity politics" -- while proclaiming the preeminence of "economic justice" -- is, for that reason, dangerous and misguided.

And, paradoxically, addressing racism requires raising awareness about the true nature of what is known as "race."

Millennials may constitute the largest bloc of voters this year.

I'm guessing, though, most millennials (or most people in general) are not keen on reading through a party platform.

Should Democratic candidates (on social media, in advertisements and in speeches) emphasize certain issues? If so, which ones and how? Gun control and higher education would seem to be obvious ones at this time. But what exactly should the message be and how should it be conveyed? What other issues are millennials, more than other age groups, most concerned about?

In other words, how do we increase youth turnout for Dems?

There's more than 1 great reason to push for free or much more affordable higher education.

Aside from it being beneficial to society, look no further than what exit polls say about those with and without a college degree. I know the gap was wider in 2016 than it's been in past elections, but even if we see a regression toward the mean (which is not a certainty), there will remain a gap. The bottom line is that more people with college degrees is good for Democrats.
Go to Page: 1 2 Next »