The Left: Robespierre did nothing wrong

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by bricktop, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. Redav

    Redav My favorite meat is hotdog

    Thar's good on your mom but good luck avoiding a corporation that doesn't do horrible shit
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  2. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    THat's what I told her. Mom - it's really commendable youre doing this, but youre going to drive yourself crazy.
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  3. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    IM just thankful to have a baby boomer parent that's one of the few non awful ones.
  4. Pile Driving Miss Daisy

    Pile Driving Miss Daisy It angries up the blood
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    Not really relevant to anything, but here is the old white woman GOP mindset. I don't vote on party lines except when I do,

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  5. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    How do we feel about reparations itt? Im not against the idea of it, but Im also not sure just giving a financial reparation will change much. The institutional/societal damages still will remain. I feel like Im missing/ not considering a perspective on this

    Im also looking at this as something that will be hard to navigate during the election.

    TLDR - educate me pls. lol
  6. Tug

    Tug Well-Known Member
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    Most proposals out there are only to research potential impacts of reparations, or to provide reparations. So what you’re asking for should be a non-issue, until. At a minimum the official proposed research is concluded.
  7. AlternativeFactsRule

    AlternativeFactsRule Mmm ... Coconuts
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    My feeling has always been that a single lump sum payment would do a hell of a lot of good for a hell of a lot of people but would also allow white people to get away without actually addressing any of the structural problems that exist in this country.
  8. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    I feel though the MAGA types will just say - "You got your reparations, now you cant bring up any issues anymore"

    Not that their reaction should be a concern, but it also wont make anyone have to address the elephant in the room, either.
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  9. Tug

    Tug Well-Known Member
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    Correct on all counts. It’s not a financial issue. It’s a structural issue
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  10. Anison

    Anison Known friend and trusted agent
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    Correct. Which is why reparations should be about examining both the immediate direct impacts and the systemic impediments, and finding solutions to the two. It may mean “a check” but it can’t only mean a check.
  11. AlternativeFactsRule

    AlternativeFactsRule Mmm ... Coconuts
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    Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. Plenty of white liberals/moderates would be “We did reparations - we solved racism” too. That isn’t helping as much in the long run.
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  12. Lyrtch

    Lyrtch My second favorite meat is hamburger
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    this is wildly wrong, not saying its not systemic but it's equally as important financially

    everyone go read your Coates reparations article and report back
  13. Bricktop the white

    Bricktop the white Well-Known Member

    Reperations is the morally correct policy but the practicality of it's enforcement is impossible.

    How would you even determine who is entitled? I don't want the government building a 20 million+ member dna database. What about black people who emigrated after slavery but still suffered reduced economic opportunity as a result of Jim crow or living in the south today? What about someone who had a single slave ancestor hundreds of years ago but who's family has passed as white for a century and has never encountered real structural discrimination?

    A real underrated concern with reparations is you'd essentially have the government officially codifying the one drop rule. Imagine a future Trump elected on the back of yet another white reactionary rage surge that had a giant list of who's officially "black" or "slave descendant" along with a registry of how much money they got

    Tl;Dr just give everyone reperations for the wealth capitalism stole from them via a UBI
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  14. Tug

    Tug Well-Known Member
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    You can disagree with the point but I don’t think it’s appropriate to say that it’s wildly wrong.

    The issue is structural, and that is impacted by the financial. Providing financial reparations without addressing structural reparations would do less than vice versa.
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  15. BellottiBold

    Oregon Ducks

    The thing that should fuck all of us up in this discussion is the fact that we gave the Japanese reparations.
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  16. Redav

    Redav My favorite meat is hotdog

    Seems like lump sum payment would be a good start but don't call it reparations pls
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  17. Nandor the Relentless

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    Giving people a check isn't going to fix the systemic issues. Not going to make racism, white supremacy, police brutality, the school to prison pipeline, mass incarcerations, etc. go away.
  18. Anison

    Anison Known friend and trusted agent
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    Right. But if the US government is going to fix what it broke - “repair” being the root word in reparations - then you have to fix all of it systemic, structural, monetary and otherwise. “A check” is very likely part of the required repair; or some financial investment tantamount to one.
  19. Redav

    Redav My favorite meat is hotdog

    he rich and take their money imo
    #12970 Redav, Apr 8, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  20. Name P. Redacted

    Name P. Redacted I have no money and I'm also gay
    Kansas State Wildcats

    Kill whitey too
  21. Nandor the Relentless

    Kentucky WildcatsBoston CelticsNew England PatriotsUnited States Men's National Soccer TeamUniversity of LynchburgUSA BasketballNXTAEWMetal

    While I don't disagree, only doing one part would likely end up accomplishing nothing of any long term consequence.
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  22. AlternativeFactsRule

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  23. timo

    timo What is the cost of lies?
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  24. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    Somalia - another government committing acts of atrocity on its own citizens that the Trump admin is cozying up to.
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  25. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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  26. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
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    a long one from DK

    Another Week, Another Bridge Collapse in America

    Fortunately, only one person was injured, although the victim is in critical condition. Image from CNN.
    (This diary is a part of the Infrastructure Kos Series. You can read last week’s diary on the Flint Water Crisis here. The hope is for this to become a weekly series, because it is always be Infrastructure Week here at Daily Kos. Always.)

    This past Monday, news came of another bridge collapse in the United States, this time in Chattanooga. The fact that a bridge collapse has to be qualified with the determiner ‘another’ in the richest Country the World has ever know is distressing, even more so considering said bridge was also part of the largest infrastructure project the World has ever know.
    Late Monday morning, the side of an overpass on I-75 collapsed, tumbling onto the ramp headed to Chattanooga. This bridge had been built in the 1950’s, and was recently inspected in July 2018. The condition of the bridge was found to be ‘Fair’(1), which sounds more like a weather report than something very large that can collapse and kill you.

    Fortunately, no one was killed (this time), although one person was seriously injured. And fortunately, this particular failure didn’t appear to be directly related to neglect or structural deficiency.

    Engineers were quickly able to determine that the bridge had been previously weakened by an impact from an oversized load. Engineers were able to observe that all connecting steel rebar between the concrete that ultimately failed and the concrete that remained in place had all been laterally deflected (meaning they had been bent or sheared to the side) to the same extent prior to the collapse, and in the same lateral direction(3). The only way this could have happened was is from a lateral impact to that part of the bridge that did not result in its immediate failure. But once the rebar was bent, it was weakened, and it was only a matter of time before it would fail.

    This must have been some impact.

    How a conflict between a bridge and a semi-trailer always ends.
    There’s no record of what type of load struck the overpass(2). And the topic of how our trucking industry is insufficiently patrolled and largely relegated to self-regulation is the topic for another diary. And it’s possible that the time between impact and failure was too brief to be caught through inspection. Then again, Tennessee only inspects its bridges annually. That’s a long time for a problem to fester.

    Structurally Deficient Bridges, and Where to Find Them
    But the Chattanooga Overpass failure, while not directly a result of structural deficiency, has been just one of all too many. A report came out just two days later by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARBTA). The timing was coincidence, but the message all the more salient: it will now take 80 years to repair all the bridges in the United States at our current (and abysmal) rate of funding. From the latest report by ARBTA:

    This year's report, released Monday and based on 2018 data, found:

    • There are 616,087 bridges in America
    • Of those, 47,052 (nearly 8%) are "structurally deficient" and need urgent repairs
    • 235,020 bridges (38%) need some sort of repair
    • Americans cross structurally deficient bridges 178 million times a day, including such landmarks as the Brooklyn Bridge and the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge over the San Francisco Bay
    • The average age of a structurally deficient bridge is 62 years
    What is a structurally deficient bridge?

    On the same 0-9(4) scale, a structurally deficient bridge has a rating of ‘4’ or less. The Virginia DOT(5), gives a pretty approachable definition of what this term means:

    Bridges are considered structurally deficient if they have been restricted to light vehicles, closed to traffic or require rehabilitation. Structurally deficient means there are elements of the bridge that need to be monitored and/or repaired. The fact that a bridge is "structurally deficient" does not imply that it is likely to collapse or that it is unsafe. It means the bridge must be monitored, inspected and maintained

    While that doesn’t mean that bridge is in danger of imminent collapse, again, for 47,052 bridges nationwide to be in this state of disrepair is pretty alarming. You can even find the list of structurally deficient bridges near you. The same ARTBA report has a breakdown by Congressional District.

    In the above map, a congressional district with 0 — 4.9% structurally deficient bridges is in blue ,5.0% to 8.9% is in yellow, and 9.0% and higher is in red. Image from the ARTBA.
    The list of the bridges in the worst shape are here(6), and you’ll quickly notice that these bridges are exclusively urban interstate bridges. Why are highway bridges in urban areas the most dangerous of all in America?

    • Decades of neglect of urban infrastructure by state and federal authorities who feel taxpayer dollars are better spent on rural and suburban constituents.
    • Lack of public transportation, or overcrowding of public transportation, forcing these structures to carry far more vehicles than they were ever designed for.
    • Replacing these structures in an urban environment, where service cannot be interrupted and there is no available real estate to build a new bridge alongside, is extremely costly.
    What Does it Matter if A Bridge is Structurally Deficient?
    The following footage depicts the collapse of a section of the I-35 Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, MN. The bride was 8 lane, steel truss arch bridge that carried I-35W across the Saint Anthony Falls portion of the Mississippi River. The bridge failed catastrophically during the evening rush hour on August 1, 2007. 13 people were killed in the collapse, and another 145 were injured. A security camera for a parking lot located at the north end of the span captured the collapse, although the bridge is not centered in the video, and the resolution is poor.

    If you go examine the first frame of this security camera footage, you will see that the central span of the bridge is fatally deflected downward prior to collapse. The following still is from KARE 11.

    Horrifying still image from security camera, via KARE 11. Note deflection of beams in circled region and downward movement of the roadway. This is immediately prior to collapse beginning.
    Collapse would be a forgone conclusion once the bridge had failed to the point in the still image, above. Motorists wouldn’t have been aware of the danger until minutes or seconds before collapse., But motorists don’t inspect our bridges. The State does. And there were warning signs over the years.

    • In 1990, the bridge was designated structurally deficient for the first time.
    • In June 2003, the following image is from under the roadway. You can see the bowing plates(7).
    Photo from NTSB. Note bending of gusset plates.
    • In 2005, the bridge was again rated as structurally deficient, and in possible need of replacement.
    • In 2006, a steel reinforcement project was planned for the bridge.
    • In January 2007, the steel reinforcement project was canceled in favor of periodic safety inspections. Engineers had determined that the reinforcement project would, in fact, weaken the bridge further. Engineers also worried that if they began the work necessary to reinforce the bridge, they might uncover deficiencies that could force it's closure.
    • In 2007, The bridge ranked near the bottom of a separate federal inspection rating system, and still classified as structurally deficient.
    • By 2007, the bridge was scheduled to be replaced ca. 2020, an eternity in politics and long beyond the time frame needed to design and build a replacement. Meanwhile, construction work began on the bridge to make it until 2020, including joint work and the replacement of lighting, concrete and guard rails.
    Conservatism Strikes Again
    The I-35 Bridge Collapse shows many the problems with infrastructure spending in the United States, touched on in the last diary of the series regarding the Flint Water Crisis. In particular, we again see devolution of infrastructure funding to the lowest levels of Government, which cannot run deficits or print money like the Federal Government. There was a known problem, and nobody was willing to spend the money to fix it. Tim Pawlenty (R) was governor in the runup to the crisis, who campaigned on attempting to balance the budget without raising taxes, thereby starving municipal agencies of the funds needed for infrastructure inspection and repair.

    The bridge had design issues dating back prior to its actual construction, and a contributing factor in the collapse was that the state had placed new pavement on top of old, instead of removing the old pavement first, thereby increasing the static load by 20%. The bridge was under construction at the time of collapse, and an additional 262 tons of material were being stored on the bridge. Combined with the evening rush hour, where vehicle loading was at its highest, the bridge finally gave way.

    But in drawing a comparison to the crisis in Flint, one can’t help but wonder that with proper funding of inspections, both the tragedy this week and the tragedy in Minnesota could’ve been averted.


    (1) Federal bridges are rated on a 0 to 9 scale. There are only three descriptors used for bridge condition: Good, Fair, and Poor. A fair rating has a score of 5 or 6.

    (2) And that is a separate infrastructure problem in and of itself. Highways are very clearly marked, yet our municipalities and federal government must repair dozens of bridge strikes each year. Tennessee DOT noted that they see about 50 bridge strikes a year.

    (3) The collapse under vertical load would show vertical deflection and shear without any lateral movement, so the presence of lateral deflection without shear is proof positive that the bridge was deflected laterally prior to collapse.

    (4) You can tell an Engineer came up with this because it is not 1 through 10 like a normal human being would conceive.

    (5) For the purposes of this diary, it is safe to assume this definition applies Nationally.

    (6) Ranking of the worst of the worst is not be condition, but by loading in terms of average daily travel. The number 1 bridge on the list is simply a structurally deficient bridge with the highest loading, not necessarily in the worst condition.

    (7) These are termed gusset plates.

    Sunday, Apr 7, 2019 · 10:16:19 PM CDT · NoFortunateSon
    Thank you all for the wonderful comments!

    This diary was inspired by another user’s comment from last week, about a bridge in Joliet, IL. The bridge in Chattanooga would collapse the next day, so I though the atrocious state of our bridges would be a good topic.

    Also, please let me know if you would like me to put “Infrastructure Kos: ...” at the beginning of the title of the diary (I did last week / didn’t this week) to differentiate these from other topics.
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  27. Can I Spliff it

    Can I Spliff it Is Butterbean okay?

  28. Can I Spliff it

    Can I Spliff it Is Butterbean okay?

    interesting thread
  29. Can I Spliff it

    Can I Spliff it Is Butterbean okay?

  30. timo

    timo What is the cost of lies?
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    Loosely related to this thread, but it is about Russian interference in a foreign election, involves a man indicted by Mueller for interference in the 2016 election, and a wealthy elected president.

    Full report:
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  31. Can I Spliff it

    Can I Spliff it Is Butterbean okay?

  32. Anison

    Anison Known friend and trusted agent
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  33. Anison

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  34. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
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    The Man Who Saw Trump Coming a Century Ago

    Thorstein Veblen. (Wikimedia Commons)
    Distracted daily by the bloviating POTUS? Here, then, is a small suggestion. Focus your mind for a moment on one simple (yet deeply complex) truth: we are living in a Veblen Moment.

    That’s Thorstein Veblen, the greatest American thinker you probably never heard of (or forgot). His working life — from 1890 to 1923 — coincided with America’s first Gilded Age, so named by Mark Twain, whose novel of that title lampooned the greedy corruption of the country’s most illustrious gentlemen. Veblen had a similarly dark, sardonic sense of humor.
    Now, in America’s second (bigger and better) Gilded Age, in a world of staggering inequality, believe me, it helps to read him again.

    In his student days at Johns Hopkins, Yale, and finally Cornell, already a master of many languages, he studied anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and political economy (the old fashioned term for what’s now called economics). That was back when economists were concerned with the real-life conditions of human beings, and wouldn’t have settled for data from an illusory “free market.”

    Veblen got his initial job, teaching political economy at a salary of $520 a year, in 1890 when the University of Chicago first opened its doors. Back in the days before SATs and admissions scandals, that school was founded and funded by John D. Rockefeller, the classic robber baron of Standard Oil. (Think of him as the Mark Zuckerberg of his day.) Even half a century before the free-market economist Milton Friedman captured Chicago’s economics department with dogma that serves the ruling class, Rockefeller called the university “the best investment” he ever made. Still, from the beginning, Thorstein Veblen was there, prepared to focus his mind on Rockefeller and his cronies, the cream of the upper class and the most ruthless profiteers behind that Gilded Age.

    He was already asking questions that deserve to be raised again in the 1% world of 2019. How had such a conspicuous lordly class developed in America? What purpose did it serve? What did the members of the leisure class actually do with their time and money? And why did so many of the ruthlessly over-worked, under-paid lower classes tolerate such a peculiar, lopsided social arrangement in which they were so clearly the losers?

    Veblen addressed those questions in his first and still best-known book, The Theory of the Leisure Class, published in 1899. The influential literary critic and novelist William Dean Howells, the “dean of American letters,” perfectly captured the effect of Veblen’s gleeful, poker-faced scientific style in an awestruck review. “In the passionless calm with which the author pursues his investigation,” Howells wrote, “there is apparently no animus for or against a leisure class. It is his affair simply to find out how and why and what it is. If the result is to leave the reader with a feeling which the author never shows, that seems to be solely the effect of the facts.”

    The book made a big splash. It left smug, witless readers of the leisure class amused. But readers already in revolt, in what came to be known as the Progressive Era, came away with contempt for the filthy rich (a feeling that today, with a smug, witless plutocrat in the White House, should be a lot more common than it is).

    What Veblen Saw

    The now commonplace phrase “leisure class” was Veblen’s invention and he was careful to define it: “The term ‘leisure,’ as here used, does not connote indolence or quiescence. What it connotes is non-productive consumption of time. Time is consumed non-productively (1) from a sense of the unworthiness of productive work, and (2) as an evidence of pecuniary ability to afford a life of idleness.”

    Veblen observed a world in which that leisure class, looking down its collective nose at the laboring masses, was all around him, but he saw evidence of something else as well. His anthropological studies revealed earlier cooperative, peaceable cultures that had supported no such idle class at all. In them, men and women had labored together, motivated by an instinctive pride in workmanship, a natural desire to emulate the best workers, and a deep parental concern — a parental bent he called it — for the welfare of future generations. As the child of Norwegian immigrants, Veblen himself had grown up on a Minnesota farm in the midst of a close-knit Norwegian-speaking community. He knew what just such a cooperative culture was like and what was possible, even in a gilded (and deeply impoverished) world.

    But anthropology also recorded all too many class-ridden societies that saved upper-class men for the “honourable employments”: governance, warfare, priestly office, or sports. Veblen noted that such arrangements elicited aggressive, dominant behavior that, over time, caused societies to change for the worse. Indeed, those aggressive upper-class men soon discovered the special pleasure that lay in taking whatever they wanted by “seizure,” as Veblen termed it. Such an aggressive way of living and acting, in turn, became the definition of manly “prowess,” admired even by the working class subjected by it. By contrast, actual work — the laborious production of the goods needed by society — was devalued. As Veblen put it, “The obtaining [of goods] by other methods than seizure comes to be accounted unworthy of man in his best estate.” It seems that more than a century ago, the dominant men of the previous Gilded Age were, like our president, already spinning their own publicity.

    A scientific Darwinian, Veblen saw that such changes developed gradually from alterations in the material circumstances of life. New technology, he understood, sped up industrialization, which in turn attracted those men of the leisure class, always on the lookout for the next thing of value to seize and make their own. When “industrial methods have been developed to such a degree of efficiency as to leave a margin worth fighting for,” Veblen wrote, the watchful men struck like birds of prey.

    Such constant “predation,” he suggested, soon became the “habitual, conventional resource” of the parasitical class. In this way, a more peaceable, communal existence had evolved into the grim, combative industrial age in which he found himself: an age shadowed by predators seeking only profits and power, and putting down any workers who tried to stand up for themselves. To Veblen this change was not merely “mechanical.” It was a spiritual transformation.

    The Conspicuous Class

    Classical economists from Adam Smith on typically depicted economic man as a rational creature, acting circumspectly in his own self-interest. In Veblen’s work, however, the only men — and they were all men then — acting that way were those robber barons, admired for their “prowess” by the very working-class guys they preyed upon. (Think of President Trump and his besotted MAGA-hatted followers.) Veblen’s lowly workers still seemed to be impelled by the “instinct for emulation.” They didn’t want to overthrow the leisure class. They wanted to climb up into it.

    For their part, the leisured gents asserted their superiority by making a public show of their leisure or, as Veblen put it, their “conspicuous abstention from labour.” To play golf, for example, as The Donald has spent much of his presidency doing, became at once “the conventional mark of superior pecuniary achievement” and “the conventional index of reputability.” After all, he wrote, “the pervading principle and abiding test of good breeding is the requirement of a substantial and patent waste of time.” In Donald Trump’s version of the same, he displayed his penchant for “conspicuous consumption” by making himself the owner of a global chain of golf courses where he performs his “conspicuous leisure” by cheating up a storm and carrying what Veblen called a “conspicuous abstention from labour” to particularly enviable heights.

    Veblen devoted 14 chapters of The Theory of the Leisure Class to analyzing every aspect of the life of the plutocrat living in a gilded world and the woman who accompanied him on his conspicuous outings, elaborately packaged in constricting clothing, crippling high heels, and “excessively long hair,” to indicate just how unfit she was for work and how much she was “still the man’s chattel.” Such women, he wrote, were “servants to whom, in the differentiation of economic functions, has been delegated the office of putting in evidence their master’s ability to pay.” (Think POTUS again and whomever he once displayed with a certain possessive pride only to pay hush money to thereafter.)

    And all of that’s only from chapter seven, “Dress as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture.” Today, each of those now-century-old chapters remains a still-applicable little masterpiece of observation, insight, and audacity, though it was probably the 14th and last chapter that got him fired from Rockefeller’s university: “The Higher Learning as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture.” How timely is that?

    The (Re)tardiness of Conservatives

    As both an evolutionary and an institutional economist (two fields he originated), Veblen contended that our habits of thought and our institutions must necessarily “change with changing circumstances.” Unfortunately, they often seem anchored in place instead, bound by the social and psychological inertia of conservatism. But why should that be so?

    Veblen had a simple answer. The leisure class is so sheltered from inevitable changes going on in the rest of society that it will adapt its views, if at all, “tardily.” Comfortably clueless (or calculating), the wealthy leisure class drags its heels (or digs them in) to retard economic and social forces that make for change. Hence the name “conservatives.” That (re)tardiness — that time lag imposed by conservative complacency — stalls and stifles the lives of everyone else and the timely economic development of the nation. (Think of our neglected infrastructure, education, housing, health care, public transport — you know the lengthening list today.)

    Accepting and adjusting to social or economic change, unfortunately, requires prolonged “mental effort,” from which the leisured conservative mind quite automatically recoils. But so, too, Veblen said, do the minds of the “abjectly poor, and all those persons whose energies are entirely absorbed by the struggle for daily sustenance.” The lower classes were — and this seems a familiar reality in the age of Trump — as conservative as the upper class simply because the poor “cannot afford the effort of taking thought for the day after tomorrow,” while “the highly prosperous are conservative because they have small occasion to be discontented with the situation as it stands.” It was, of course, a situation from which they, unlike the poor, made a bundle in an age (both Veblen’s and ours) in which money flows only uphill to the 1%.

    Veblen gave this analytic screw one more turn. Called a “savage” economist, in his meticulous and deceptively neutral prose, he described in the passage that follows a truly savage and deliberate process:

    “It follows that the institution of a leisure class acts to make the lower classes conservative by withdrawing from them as much as it may of the means of sustenance and so reducing their consumption, and consequently their available energy, to such a point as to make them incapable of the effort required for the learning and adoption of new habits of thought. The accumulation of wealth at the upper end of the pecuniary scale implies privation at the lower end of the scale.”

    And privation always stands as an obstacle to innovation and change. In this way, the industrial, technological, and social progress of the whole society is retarded or perhaps even thrown into reverse. Such are the self-perpetuating effects of the unequal distribution of wealth. And reader take note: the leisure class brings about these results on purpose.

    The Demolition of Democracy

    But how, at the turn of the nineteenth century, had America’s great experiment in democracy come to this? In his 1904 book The Theory of Business Enterprise, Veblen zoomed in for a close up of America’s most influential man: “the Business Man.” To classical economists, this enterprising fellow was a generator of economic progress. To Veblen, he was “the Predator” personified: the man who invests in industry, any industry, simply to extract profits from it. Veblen saw that such predators created nothing, produced nothing, and did nothing of economic significance but seize profits.

    Of course, Veblen, who could build a house with his own hands, imagined a working world free of such predators. He envisioned an innovative industrial world in which the labor of producing goods would be performed by machines tended by technicians and engineers. In the advanced factories of his mind’s eye, there was no role, no place at all, for the predatory Business Man. Yet Veblen also knew that the natural-born predator of Gilded Age America was already creating a kind of scaffolding of financial transactions above and beyond the factory floor — a lattice of loans, credits, capitalizations, and the like — so that he could then take advantage of the “disruptions” of production caused by such encumbrances to seize yet more profits. In a pinch, the predator was, as Veblen saw it, always ready to go further, to throw a wrench into the works, to move into the role of outright “Saboteur.”

    Here Veblen’s image of the predatory characters who dominated his Gilded Age runs up against the far glossier, more gilded image of the entrepreneurial executive hailed by most economists and business boosters of his time and ours. Yet in book after book, he continued to strip the gilded cloaks from America’s tycoons, leaving them naked on the factory floor, with one hand jamming the machinery of American life and the other in the till.

    Today, in our Second Even-Glitzier Gilded Age, with a Veblen Moment come round again, his conclusions seem self-evident. In fact, his predators pale beside a single image that he himself might have found incredible, the image of three hallowed multi-billionaires of our own Veblen Moment who hold more wealth than the bottom 160 million Americans.

    The Rise of the Predatory State

    Why, then, when Veblen saw America’s plutocratic bent so clearly, is he now neglected? Better to ask, who among America’s moguls wouldn’t want to suppress such a clear-eyed genius? Economist James K. Galbraith suggests that Veblen was eclipsed by the Cold War, which offered only two alternatives, communism or capitalism — with America’s largely unfettered capitalist system presenting itself as a “conservative” norm and not what it actually was and remains: the extreme and cruel antithesis of communism.

    When the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, it left only one alternative: the triumphant fantasy of the “free market.” What survived, in other words, was only the post-Veblen economics of John D. Rockefeller’s university: the “free market” doctrines of Milton Friedman, founder of the brand of economics popular among conservatives and businessmen and known as the Chicago School.

    Ever since, America has once again been gripped by the heavy hands of the predators and of the legislators they buy. Veblen’s leisure class is now eclipsed by those even richer than rich, the top 1% of the 1%, a celestial crew even more remote from the productive labor of working men and women than were those nineteenth-century robber barons. For decades now, from the ascendancy of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s to Bill Clinton’s New Democrats in the 1990s to the militarized world of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to the self-proclaimed billionaire con man now in the Oval Office, the plutocrats have continued to shower their dark money on the legislative process. Their only frustration: that the left-over reforms of Veblen’s own “Progressive Era” and those of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal still somehow stand (though for how long no one knows).

    As Galbraith pointed out in his 2008 book The Predator State, the frustrated predators of the twenty-first century sneakily changed tactics: they aimed to capture the government themselves, to become the state. And so they have. In the Trump era, they have created a government in which current regulators are former lobbyists for the very predators they are supposed to restrain. Similarly, the members of Trump’s cabinet are now the saboteurs: shrinking the State Department, starving public schools, feeding big Pharma with Medicare funds, handing over national parks and public lands to “developers,” and denying science and climate change altogether, just to start down a long list. Meanwhile, our Predator President, when not golfing, leaps about the deconstruction site, waving his hands and hurling abuse, a baron of distraction, commanding attention while the backroom boys (and girls) demolish the institutions of law and democracy.

    Later in life, Veblen, the evolutionary who believed that no one could foresee the future, nonetheless felt sure that the American capitalist system, as it was, could not last. He thought it would eventually fall apart. He went on teaching at Stanford, the University of Missouri, and then the New School for Social Research, and writing a raft of brilliant articles and eight more books. Among them, The Vested Interests and the Common Man (1920) may be the best summation of his once astonishing and now essential views. He died at the age of 72 in August 1929. Two months later, the financial scaffolding collapsed and the whole predatory system came crashing down.

    To the end, Veblen had hoped that one day the Predators would be driven from the marketplace and the workers would find their way to socialism. Yet a century ago, it seemed to him more likely that the Predators and Saboteurs, collaborating as they did even then with politicians and government lackeys, would increasingly amass more profits, more power, more adulation from the men of the working class, until one day, when those very plutocrats actually captured the government and owned the state, a Gilded Business Man would arise to become a kind of primitive Warlord and Dictator. He would then preside over a new and more powerful regime and the triumph in America of a system we would eventually recognize and call by its modern name: fascism.
    Eamudo229 and BellottiBold like this.
  35. Can I Spliff it

    Can I Spliff it Is Butterbean okay?

  36. Can I Spliff it

    Can I Spliff it Is Butterbean okay?

    Reminder that sex workers arent allowed to live normal lives with conservatives around
    MA, Eamudo229, Anison and 2 others like this.
  37. Can I Spliff it

    Can I Spliff it Is Butterbean okay?

  38. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
    Utah UtesArkansas Razorbacks

    What do we do after Trump has been forced out of office?

    Donald Trump demonizes Muslims.

    Donald Trump demonizes Latinos.

    Donald Trump demonizes rape victims.

    Donald Trump demonizes Hillary Clinton.

    Donald Trump demonizes immigrants.

    Donald Trump demonizes scientists.

    Donald Trump demonizes professional athletes who protest institutionalized racism.

    Donald Trump demonizes CNN, NBC, MSNBC, the Washington Post, the New York Times and most of the American Mainstream Media.

    I’ve had face-to-face conversations with people about Trump’s hate-filled rallies, hate-filled tweets and hate-filled interviews, and I’ve been told that I worry too much. I’ve been told that Trump will be out of the White House in 2021 and the hatred, ignorance and cruelty will be over.
    It will be over?

    I’m sorry, but the hatred, ignorance and cruelty didn’t begin with Trump. Trump is like a fever caused by sepsis. He’s a symptom of a much greater problem.

    When Trump holds his hate-filled rallies in Biloxi, Tupelo, Mobile, Baton Rouge, Estero or Pensacola, look at the people in crowds. There are boisterous crowds of chanting, cheering fanatics, emphatically cheering Trump on as he attacks Hillary Clinton, Christine Blasey Ford, Colin Kaepernick, CNN, immigrants, climate scientists and the like.

    These people LOVE IT when Trump makes blatantly racists statements. They LOVE IT when Trump defends rapists and attacks rape victims. They LOVE IT when Trump attacks immigrants. They LOVE IT when Trump accuses all Latinos of being criminals.

    And when Trump is out of the White House, is he taking all these hateful, ignorant people with him? Will they perhaps go to Moscow and work at a right-wing theme park?

    No, these boisterous, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic people will still be here. They’ll still be reveling in their hatred of immigrants, African-Americans, LBGT people, civil-rights activists, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, investigative journalists and rape victims who dare to speak out against the men who raped them.

    Okay, I will admit that Trump incited these people. He’s given them a national leader to rally behind. He’s validated their irrational hatreds, encouraged them and amplified them, but HE DID NOT CREATE THEM.

    America has had a serious problem with racism from the very beginning. Racism was largely how white men justified enslaving the black man and engaging in mass-murder of the red man. And while we eventually got around to outlawing slavery and we eventually stopped slaughtering the many Native American tribes that lived on this continent, the racism remains.

    In point of fact, America seems to be one of the most racist nations on the planet. Millions of my fellow American seem to have irrational fears and hatreds of anyone who is the slightest bit different. And this all began long before Trump got into the White House.

    I’ve lived my entire life in the U.S.A., I’m over 50-years old and in my lifetime, I’ve seen religious leaders in this country preach hatred against gays, lesbians, Wiccans, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans, Hispanics, African-Americans, civil-rights leaders and public-school teachers.

    To reiterate, some of my fellow Americans spend their entire lives going to church and being told by their preacher to hate millions of their fellow Americans. They are told that God hates gays, lesbians, Muslims, Hindus and educators who dare to teach evolution.

    Steven Anderson of the Faithful World Baptist Church has called for the execution of all gay people in America. Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association tells his followers that Muslims are “parasites who must convert or die”. He calls homosexuals “homofascists” and calls for homosexuality to be outlawed.

    Steven Anderson and Bryan Fischer are just two examples of the sort of people I’m talking about.

    America has plenty of religious leaders who preach hatred against “heretics” and “abominations” that don’t mesh with their narrow-minded religious doctrine. America has an army of preachers who have blamed the Holocaust on gays, who have blamed the 9/11 terrorist attacks on feminists, gays, lesbians and civil rights groups, and warned that giving gays and lesbians the same legal rights as their heterosexual counterparts could lead to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and terrorist bombings.

    And when Donald Trump is gone from the White House, these people will still be out there, preaching ignorance and hatred to millions of my fellow Americans.

    Sure, Trump’s hate-filled rallies get more publicity than those thrown by Roger Jimenez, Kevin Swanson, George Grant, Scott Lively or Steven Anderson, however, these people have followers. And they spread hatred, promote ignorance and incite violence. These people aren’t as well known as Trump, however, they’re toxic and they’re poisoning America in much the same way that Trump is poisoning America.

    In addition to toxic religious leaders, America also has media leaders on cable, the Internet and on radio stations who promote fear, ignorance and hatred. Fox “news” Channel is probably #1 when it comes to spreading fear, ignorance, mistrust and right-wing talking points, however, they’re hardly alone. Alex Jones is a radio-show host with millions of followers. He’s spread conspiracy theories that have caused survivors of school shootings to be harassed, stalked and threatened.

    So, NO, it will not be over when Trump is out of office. America is infected with millions of ignorant, uneducated, racist, xenophobic, homophobic bullies, and they will still be here long after Donald Trump is gone.

    With Trump gone, they will no longer have a national leader in the White House to rally around, but they’ll still be here, and they’ll still be a threat. They’ll be out there, harassing, stalking, threatening, assaulting and even killing people that don’t fit in with their narrow-minded views.

    Getting rid of Trump may be the easy task compared to what comes next. What exactly are we supposed to do with the millions of Americans who share Trump’s racism, Trump’s belligerence, Trump’s irrational hatreds, Trump’s ignorance and Trump’s intellectual-laziness?
    from DK
  39. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
    Utah UtesArkansas Razorbacks

    also from DK
    I’m Not Afraid, That’s Why I’m a Liberal

    I have to start this with a concept that I’ve found to be true in every case. Fear is the base of all anger. I call myself a pagan priest because I am a devoted pagan and people talk to me. People from all walks of life just come up to me and start telling me about what moves them, what hurts them, what has them angry and or afraid. I get a lot of insight and sometimes, I even get the joy that comes when they listen as I give them my thoughts back. Sometimes I can help.

    I don’t know about you but I couldn't have made it out of childhood without a very real and visceral understanding of the conservative mind. They were my parents, my childhood friends- many of my teachers in the seventies were liberal, but not all, I was exposed to both sides. It was hard to go home singing “If I had a hammer” in the first grade only to be told “Don’t let your dad hear you singing that stuff, you know what he’ll do to you if he does!” by a whispering mom. There was this ever present dichotomy and I have the kind of mind that worries at things, trying to understand why they are and how they work. I came down, as I had to, on the liberal side of things. That’s my nature, there is a reason I am a healer who doesn't make money a requirement for what I do. I’d never let money get in the way of helping someone. That would be a betrayal of what I believe in.

    You see, I’m a liberal because I am not afraid, and my life has shown me that conservatives are conservatives because the world scares the daylights out of them.

    As I understand it, the very concept of modern conservatism is grounded in fear. The elites saw the upheaval brought about by people no longer willing to live under brutal, one sided systems and they decided that IF change HAD to come, then it needed to be slowed down, administered- but their basic “Id” really wanted no change to happen. “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it!” is an excellent bromide for the masses if you’re rich, in power and wanting to stay that way. Or even just damned afraid that those pushing for progressive change would make all of that go away for you, personally. Fear is anger.

    I can look at what my father was angry about to see exactly what he was afraid of, I can do this because I grew up in his very opinionated house. I can point to the anger that my brothers soaked up like little sponges and pluck out the fear that is driving their rage.

    They not only fear change, they fear all the results of change. They fear they will do worse under any new changes and that makes them angry! Why should they risk it, is how they see it.

    And I think that’s why I’m a liberal. I’m not afraid of a whole lot of things. Now, I’m not one of those people who fear nothing, that’s a medical condition that I know exists and not much more. I fear for my children, family and friends in an uncertain world and those situations can make me angry too. I’m no saint. I know that anger alone will not assuage my fear, nor will it fix the underlying causes of it. No, I need solutions, not gibbering, slavering hate- no matter how powerful that makes a person feel in the moment that can’t work for me and it cannot bring about good solutions to complicated situations. So, I have my fears, I do indeed.

    But I don’t fear my neighbor! I’m not afraid that my neighbor, whether she is black, brown, yellow, white, red or whatever blended shade in between, is going to make my life worse by her presence. I don’t fear that her husband or wife will move into my community and marginalize me. I believe in synergy and goodness and I believe she and her family are already my family and together- we’re all just stronger and better.

    I’m not afraid of being called gay, I’m not afraid of somebody thinking I am. Another person’s sexuality doesn't frighten me in any way unless it hurts other people or comes close to touching kids. I strongly feel that love is the most precious gift a human can receive and when it is found, it should never be turned away. I’m not afraid of you if you were born in the wrong body, what is a body but a shell anyway? Let’s sit and talk for awhile, show me your soul and I’ll show you mine, that’s how we dispel fear. I believe people have a duty to try and find happiness in this world and I’m not afraid to hope you and everyone else achieve that.

    I’m not afraid of job losses due to new technology. I’m a liberal, in part, because I embrace new technology. I want a world that is clean and beautiful and fairly safe and the old ways can’t give us that- I’m not afraid I won’t make it in a world without loud motors and oil stinking heaters. I’m not afraid of that change, I embrace it and think it can’t get here soon enough. I’m not afraid that you’ll think I’m not a man because the car under my behind is quiet and doesn't stink. Personally, I’m looking forward to a quieter, better smelling world and your fragile ego shouldn't be allowed to stop that.

    I’m not afraid that if we make health care available to everyone, really, everyone, that “My” monies paid into that system will go to help people I don’t think should get help. They don’t exist, I think anyone should be able to get help at need, I believe taking that step right there would alleviate many of our current problems.

    And before you try to tell me that humans would never think that way, let me remind you that I grew up among them. I’ve heard way too many say “I’ll be damned if I pay for them XXXXXXXXXXXXs to see a doctor! I pay for me and mine, they can pay for theirs! Why, charity begins at home!” and that we are denying people refuge right now because they have the wrong skin color and accent according to some Americans. Not all of us, but too many by far. Charity begins at home becomes a justification for greed when you don’t start by being charitable at home or anywhere else.

    I’m not afraid that helping anyone will make my life worse, I believe that when my neighbor is doing well, the chances that I’m doing well rise.

    I’m not afraid of walking around without a gun. I’ve been all over this world, talked to people from everywhere, my line of work was security and aside from my time in the military, I’ve never needed a weapon. I’ve used my mind and my mouth to make things turn out alright. Maybe that’s why conservatives buy so much body armor and want to live in “Fortress America”, though? They’re afraid of what’s on the slate anyway. Death comes for us all, accept it with some grace- believe me, when it’s your time, your Ar-15 and some Kevlar isn't going to keep death at bay. Live and die with dignity.

    I’m not afraid your religion or lack thereof is going to affect me in any way. I’m not afraid that if you don’t believe in my Gods, why, you’ll make me lesser than you or beat me up because I’m different. I’m not afraid of that because I wouldn't let you do that to me anyway. Life is about learning lessons, and living as you see fit. Believing as you believe no matter what they threaten you with is a much larger and worthy lesson than the one you learn by letting evil have it’s way in exchange for a faux peace. You might kill me, you’ll never force me to your ways.

    I’m not afraid that if we aren't actively and aggressively prosecuting wars first, that others will prosecute them against us. I don’t believe in hitting first, ever. I believe in defensive capabilities and I believe we should be able to project power to help- but only to help. I do not believe America should ever start a war of aggression, I don’t think our collective ego needs that.

    I am not afraid that if women, black people or “ANYBODY NOT LIKE MY KIND” (Primal scream and gasp) get power over me that I will suffer. I don’t share the revenge mindset. I’m not afraid they will use that newfound power to pay “Us” back for all that has gone before and everything I might do in the future. That is, to me, a very craven world view but it does exist, some people hold it, they fear that but it’s too small for me. I’ll not be shrugging into that coat no matter how often they scream at me that I’m in danger.

    I feel that those people, sisters or brothers, who will assuredly come into power in the coming America want to move forward as I do. They want to progress, if you will, to create a world that is more liberal for everyone. Liberal, liberate, from the ancient root liber- forgive me my musing, but the word just fits. Free, and yes, I want a more free nation and a freer world with free peoples all over it’s face. I feel that will benefit all of us.

    I’m a liberal because I’m not afraid of the world that’s coming. I’m a liberal because efforts to keep us in a world that no longer works for all of us, is actually endangering all of us, make me angry. And I’ll admit it is because I fear what those people will cause with their chains of fear. I won’t let their personal shackles screw it all up for everyone.

    I’m a liberal because I feel love and hope, not hate and humiliation.

    I understand that my father and his cronies would have guffawed and told me in no uncertain terms that I was too optimistic- “You liberals, you don’t know how the world works, boy!” I’m no longer a boy and I believe I do, I believe we shape how this world works and I’ll keep my optimism and hope while y’all hold onto your pessimism, despair and yes, fear.

    I’m a liberal because I believe we are in the process, right now, of building that better nation and that we have to push right through that conservative bloc to get there- because this time for them is existential and they know it. Fear is always anger- we need to break the chain they hope to bind us with and actually, I think we’re doing it. We can’t let their fears hold us back, no matter how angry they are- they’re always angry, they always will be because they will not let go of their most cherished fears.

    I’m a liberal because that won’t ever rub off on me!

    With that, happy Wednesday to all of you and keep fighting the good fight!

    We have a world to build.
  40. Name P. Redacted

    Name P. Redacted I have no money and I'm also gay
    Kansas State Wildcats

    not a great article

    libs are afraid of a lot

    "fear is the base of all anger" gonna have to disagree

    love me love me i'm a liberal
    Eamudo229 likes this.
  41. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
    Utah UtesArkansas Razorbacks

  42. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
    Utah UtesArkansas Razorbacks

    from dk

    Rupert Murdoch and Fox News continue to slowly poison our country to death

    Protesters outside the News Corporation building in New York City.
    When I first watched Fox News in the late 1990s, my reaction can probably best be described as a tempered sense of horror. As a former reporter, editor, and journalism student I found it hard to believe that anyone could take such a shoddy caricature of journalism seriously. The embarrassingly lowbrow lack of quality among its “reporters" and "anchors," the fact that virtually none of them (aside from, at that time, Brit Hume) had any prior serious journalistic credentials or experience, seemed so obvious—and the blatant right-wing bias in the garbage that they spewed so divorced from reality—that I recall feeling almost a sense of comfort in my confidence that while this parody of an actual news channel might provide some entertainment value to a certain, limited type of audience, it could never be viewed by Americans overall as a legitimate, reliable source of information.

    I should have paid more attention to the “horror" aspect of my initial reaction. Because as it turned out, a horror is actually what Fox News has become in our lifetime, a horror which, along with “talk radio," has done more extensive and lasting damage to the fabric of this country than any Islamic terrorist (to borrow a tired cliche right out of the Fox News playbook) could ever wish for in his wildest dreams.

    Wikipedia pretty much nails it:

    Fox News has been described as practicing biased reporting in favor of the Republican Party, the George W. Bush and Donald Trump administrations and conservative causes while slandering the Democratic Party and spreading harmful propaganda intended to negatively affect its members' electoral performances.[9][10][11][12] Critics have cited the channel as detrimental to the integrity of news overall.[13][14] Fox News employees have said that news reporting operates independently of its opinion and commentary programming, and have denied bias in news reporting, while former employees have said that Fox ordered them to "slant the news in favor of conservatives."[15]

    In hindsight, I gave far too much credit to what I naively viewed as a reasonably enlightened American population. I know now those vast swaths of this country are woefully, willfully and obstinately ignorant, ignorant to the point of threatening violence if only to defend their racial and sexual biases and prejudices, and those are the very people that Fox News targets like a venomous, insatiable predator.

    But from the start, Fox News was aided by an even more insidious aspect. Because the Fox brand was already associated with decidedly non-doctrinaire, mass-marketed professional sports and entertainment, it was easy for people to assume that its presentation of “news” was a legitimate and natural development—that it was simply an extension of corporate competition extended to the news industry, albeit one with a slightly rightward tilt. If you ask me, this, more than anything, is why it came to be accepted by millions and became the juggernaut it is today.

    However much its origins were rooted in raw, unchecked capitalism, the monster created by Fox News now literally threatens the outright destruction of the American republic. Millions of Americans have allowed themselves to be comfortably sucked into the vortex of what is essentially a propaganda and contrived outrage and blame generator on a scale unprecedented in its reach and effects.

    The symbiosis between Fox News and the Republican Party has been documented ad nauseam. It simply achieved its apotheosis in the administration of Donald Trump who is widely acknowledged to rely exclusively on Fox News propaganda in making policy decisions and staff appointments that impact the lives of millions of Americans. Worse, we have a huge cross-section of the American public willing to support those decisions, solely because they are validated and legitimized by Fox News.

    The fact that this propaganda outlet was foisted on us by Rupert Murdoch has long since faded from the national conversation even as our national policies and the actions of those who implement them are now dictated almost exclusively by his “agenda.” When Donald Trump speaks of immigrants as a foreign menace it is without the slightest sense of irony that the real menace to America is one beamed into our homes by an Australian media mogul who decided decades ago to devote his accumulation of money and power towards refashioning our country to serve his own ends.

    As Eric Alterman, writing for The Nation, puts it:

    From day one, billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch and communications savant and sexual terrorist Roger Ailes created Fox News as a political mechanism through which they could control the Republican Party and shift the debate in favor of their regressive agenda. Republican candidates were routinely given contracts and free airtime to spout lies about immigrants, climate change, tax cuts, and so much else, and Fox’s hosts rarely pushed back. Sometimes the network’s anchors lied outright, but most often they left the fabulism and incendiary hate speech to their contributors.

    There have been many devastating testimonials published here and elsewhere that detail the ruinous impact that a constant diet of Fox News has had on the minds and attitudes of our parents, friends, and loved ones. How once compassionate, thoughtful people in our lives have succumbed to the corrosive, divisive poison poured incessantly into their brains by highly-paid, morally vacant provocateurs like Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson, and Jeanine Pirro.

    Add in supposedly “serious" commentators such as Neil Cavuto, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, all of the Fox News circus performers who essentially appeared out of nowhere with no established journalistic capacity but were somehow, suddenly being taken very seriously by millions in this country-- as if they’d always been around, as if their opinions had always mattered.

    Jen Senko, Jodie Evans and Matthew Modine even produced a full, feature-length film titled The Brainwashing of My Dad that chronicles the deterioration of Senko’s father into an angry, one-dimensional shell of himself, parroting Fox News talking points.

    Luke O’Neil, a Boston-based freelancer and writer at large for such publications as the Boston Globe, Esquire, and Elle, collected over a hundred stories from people who’d lost—in both a real and metaphorical sense—their family members to the divisive, paranoid and racist dogma spewed on Fox News, as well its counterpart Sky channel in Australia and Daily Mail tabloid in the U.K.

    His method, as he admits in this piece written for New York Magazine, was unscientific: He invited people on Twitter to post their stories, which he then posted on his newsletter. But the reactions and anecdotes he received demonstrated a consistent pattern that seems to afflict thousands, if not millions of Americans addicted to the endless cycle of perpetual white, (mostly) male grievance propagated by an agenda-driven propaganda outlet.

    No matter where the stories came from they all featured a few familiar beats: A loved one seemed to have changed over time. Maybe that person was already somewhat conservative to start. Maybe they were apolitical. But at one point or another, they sat down in front of Fox News, found some kind of deep, addictive comfort in the anger and paranoia, and became a different person — someone difficult, if not impossible, to spend time with. The fallout led to failed marriages and estranged parental relationships. For at least one person, it marks the final memory he’ll ever have of his father: “When I found my dad dead in his armchair, fucking Fox News was on the TV,” this reader told me. “It’s likely the last thing he saw. I hate what that channel and conservative talk radio did to my funny, compassionate dad. He spent the last years of his life increasingly angry, bigoted, and paranoid.”

    O’Neil chronicles, however inexpertly, what happens as people whom we knew as formerly decent human beings devolve into drooling, hate-filled caricatures of their previous selves.

    There was the one reader who wrote of his Puerto Rican uncle becoming a Fox News junkie, and turning on his own people, as he put it, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. “He was literally sitting in the dark and still defending Trump,” he said, which seemed a metaphor almost too on the nose. Hearing stories like that over and over again all weekend wasn’t pretty.


    I heard from several people that Fox News was a key factor in a divorce. One reader told me about his father, a one-time Trump skeptic turned believer. “He and my mom separated last November. There were other reasons but one of the big ones was his Fox addiction,” he wrote. “I went down to help him get set up in a new apartment. He cried a lot. We found an apartment and furniture and I got the utilities set up but I did not sign up for cable TV. He did that after I left, before he got a job.”


    Another person told me that Rush Limbaugh sent his father on the path to isolation before eventually mainlining Fox News on a regular basis. Eventually, out of the blue, his mother filed for divorce. “He was crushed, couldn’t understand why, and took comfort in drinking while watching his friends on TV. She is happier than I have ever seen her and he is sad and angry living in the basement of a rented house, still watching The Five, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, etc.

    It is with older Americans, for the most part, that the mind-deadening effects of Fox News are at their most destructive.

    Dozens who responded to my piece talked about the sad lonely twilight of their parents’ or grandparents’ lives, having been spurned by, or having disowned much of their families over political disagreements. Older people, recent studies have shown, are much more likely to share misleading information online, but the anecdotes I was hearing seemed to indicate this behavior wasn’t limited to the internet. Young parents wrote that they don’t want to bring their children to visit aging Fox-brainers. “The worst is when my children go to spend time with their grandparents and come home with Fox News talking points coming out of their mouths,” one told me. “I have to decontaminate them every time.”

    As O’Neil observes, the genius of Fox News lies not in actually creating race-based resentment but exploiting and amplifying their audience’s sense of fear and discomfort hit to the point that it becomes, for its audience of mostly white, mostly older males, the go-to rationale for every buried grievance, misstep, or disappointment in their lives.

    It taps into the very human tendency to blame others for our problems rather than forcing the hard and often uncomfortable exercise of looking inward at ourselves. It provides a ready foil for coping with societal changes that are simply too great and too profound for many people to accept or even comprehend.

    This is, I think, where the channel’s genius lies. Any salesperson or con artist will tell you that you can’t incept a thought in a mark’s mind out of nowhere. You have to find the hook that’s already there — fear, or desire — and exploit it. When it comes to exacerbating and honing the anxieties of aging Americans you can’t do much better (or worse) than race and immigration.

    It is bad enough that we have now had a government that is wholly beholden to the selfish agenda of a ruthless billionaire, and that one of our two major political parties is now wedded to that same agenda by virtue of his propaganda machine. At least we have a robust Democratic party and other, more honest sources of news capable of opposing that.

    But in the long term, whatever the fate of Fox News, the fact that we may be losing an entire generation of decent human beings who will instead go to their graves in a state of self-delusion, grinning smugly in their knowledge that Fox News had all the answers, even as their families sadly, slowly disengaged and separated themselves in dismay, even as their capacity for critical thinking, understanding, and compassion disappeared under this constant onslaught of ideological lies—that is the real, terrible, human tragedy that can never be cured.

    One of the respondents whose story is posted on O’Neil’s newsletter tried to convey the magnitude of what is being lost:

    I just know that I’m with you. I hate what they’ve done to almost everyone in my family. It’s absolute poison and the only thing I think is worse is that there are people who think that destroying the morals and conscience of multiple generations is worth a few more bucks, because I absolutely refuse to believe that people like Hannity don’t know what they are doing.

    I wish I could do something, but who has the time or energy to combat that? And how the hell do you reteach someone to have empathy?
    ...My pastor says “progress is made one funeral at a time” and it’s hard to disagree with him at this point.
    BellottiBold likes this.
  43. Prospector

    Prospector I am not a new member
    Utah UtesArkansas Razorbacks

    The name of this Georgia waterway was so offensive it was changed to Freedom Creek
    By Doug Criss, CNN

    Updated 11:19 AM ET, Tue April 16, 2019

    A Google Maps aerial view of the newly renamed Freedom Creek in coastal Georgia.
    (CNN)It took awhile, but the effort to rid a Georgia stream of its offensive name has finally succeeded.

    Runaway Negro Creek, a small waterway on the state's Skidaway Island near Savannah, has been officially renamed Freedom Creek.
    The US Board on Geographic Names, which maintains uniform usage of place names throughout the federal government, voted to OK the name change during a meeting last week.
    "The name has been updated in the Board's official geographic names database, and future editions of federal maps will reflect the change," geographer and board research staffer Jennifer Runyon told CNN in an email.

    The move to change the name gained momentum last year as people complained it was culturally insensitive.
    It also highlights a small piece of history. The original name dates back to at least the Civil War, when it's believed escaped slaves from a nearby plantation would swim across the creek to freedom on islands controlled by Union troops, CNN affiliate WJCL reports.
    State Sen. Lester Jackson sponsored a resolution last year to change the name of the creek, which Georgia lawmakers approved and was later signed by former Gov. Nathan Deal. But the change wasn't official until the Board on Geographic Names gave its blessing to the new name.
    CNN has reached out to Jackson for comment and is waiting to hear back.
    guessing that isn't what the locals called it
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