Tame Capital

From Bob Fulkerson: Nordhaus symbolizes all that is wrong about the environmental movement’s embrace of conventional economics.
“Remarkably, Nordhaus—like most orthodox economists—has never bothered to consider this question. The growth-is-good mantra is so baked into our consciousness that to question it seems almost crazy. Indeed, growthism is hegemonic to the point of transcending ideology. Politicians on the left and right alike hold it up as the single most important policy objective; they may quarrel about how to make growth happen, and how to distribute its yields, but on the question of growth itself there’s no daylight between them.”

Me:

This is why it is important to understand that when all is said and done, there is but one perspective that is sponsored in our current political system and that is a capitalist perspective. It goes unchallenged in our political debates because there exists no viable opposition. There is advocacy, sometimes, for small fixes but never, at least in the mainstream of politics, any for fixes meaningful enough to cause a change in direction even if such is vital to survival. The cost to real people, to most people, of a society in which profit, not people or their planet, is profound but, terribly so, it is profiteers who have the money to buy power and they use it consistently to insure continued profits. The cost to others is always but a minor consideration if it is a consideration at all.

One more thing: We–people who really do care about people and planet–continue to react to incidents when we should be using our energy to deal with causes. The cause of most all of the problems progressives fight to solve can be linked to our–now global–economic system. Money is power because money buys power to buy more power. The fix is in nixing this equation, making it unworkable, ineffective. If we save a forest, while we are doing the work, some other forest somewhere is being destroyed, and so it goes and will continue to go so unless we tame capital, force those who hold the bulk of it to use it for the good of planet and humanity, this, to some extent, necessitating its redistribution.

Empathetically Weak. Empathy is Weakness

Nevada Sagebrush article

This shouldn’t have to be a topic of discussion on campus but it must be because there are terrible people running around doing terrible things to others. It is terribly sad that we live in a country where violence is a regular part of life and that young people have to find ways to cope with their legitimate fears of being harmed. Those who do harm to others, those who make others live in fear are, simply put, bad people, bad because they lack something of critical importance to a civil society, empathy.

How can some people be so numb to the pain they cause others? Perhaps it has something to do with the not so hidden ethos that is accompanies capitalism, the underlying theme that is actually appreciated more than we are willing to speak of that makes winning more important than compassion, that causes many who wish to “succeed” to ignore the cost of their success for others.

There exists in our society a tension between practicality and compassion and a notion of practicality that inures people to empathy for empathy prevents a person from acting boldly and decisively. Empathy undermines a “winning spirit.” He or she who would not hurt a flea is a fool!

The answer to violence in our society is empathy. The answer to violence in the world is empathy. But empathy threatens threatens the empire because the empire thrives on division, on the one against the other, one winning and losers and winning and losing. It is an empire and it is ruled by those with the least compassion, the least amount of empathy. Such people “get things done.” They get what they want. They get their way. And to get there, they have to push others out of their way even if it means killing them.

Nevada Sage Brush: “Anti-semitism, racism and prejudice, ADA accessibility and sexual assault on campus were the primary agenda items. Attendees were broken into smaller groups to create a more intimate setting for a conversation.

Anti-semitism was focused on during the town hall due to a swastika that was carved into the wall of Peavine Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Due to the vandalism, a hate crime investigation was opened.”

I STILL DO NOT LIKE GEORGE H.W. BUSH

I STILL DO NOT LIKE GEORGE H. W. BUSH AND FOR VERY GOOD REASON.

When George H.W. Bush was president, I thought him to be, for many a good reason, a bad person and not a good one. So did many of those now praising him. Okay, he got older and maybe he became a better person. But that is not what he is being praised for; he is being called a great man and a great leader FOR what he did as a public servant.

Are we so stupid as to forget the past, to revise history for the sake of some weird sense of propriety? To praise those whose beliefs and deeds do great harm is symptomatic of something far worse than bad ideas, an inability to understand where they come from and the real beliefs of those who propagate them.

“In a 2009 speech, George H.W. Bush said that Bill Clinton was not his enemy, but his friend.” (From CNN). What I get from this is that there is a class of people in this country who view politics as a game amongst friends. What is difficult to like about this is the cost to others of their playing at this game. To gain election, they accentuate important differences in world view so as to give hope that alternatives to the status quo are possible. In reality, within meaningful contexts of how the world is and will be, they only are different enough that little that is truly important will be affected no matter who wins at the game; things will remain pretty much as they are because as they are, things are pretty good for THEM.

Political opponents in a truly democratic system offer alternatives, representing different ways of going about–it should be–making life better for those who participate in the electoral process. What is most important IS their differences and the debate over how to go about doing things that ensues.

In the case of our modern day “democracy,” the differences are so insubstantial that those with what seem to be critically different political views, who possess different perspectives on how the lives of others should be considered, can reconcile so quickly. That the “opponents” can not only come to respect one another–even if the actions of one or the other is not respectable, even outright inhumane– but also come to see greatness in that other, is a sign that the game is but spectacle, of no gravity.

The truth of the matter is that other people, hardly ever the players themselves, are hurt by those so made respectable and great. Lives are destroyed and people killed. The electoral process, because it has little to do with meaningful differences between the “choices” offered is, to, spectacle, a hollow gesture to a democratic process that really does not exist.

Not what you learn in your government classes.

What government course never taught

Consider the classes you had in school, the textbooks that were used, to teach you about American government.  What you learned couldn’t have been much further from the truth. The illusion created by those who have taught us, the illusion that most of those who have taught us take to be the truth, has had the effect of destroying democracy.  We do not vote ever on what is true and real.  We hold in our minds versions of truth that have been created for us by those who have something, often much, to gain from our being deceived and accepting the deception as the best we can get to shape our understanding.

The American government, the illusion of government by and of and for the people that is the common and constant notion of government most Americans possess, keeps the people in line, keeps the people from doing what a well informed people who believe in the value of legitimate democracy would do, rebel.

The architects of our modern government did not build what they built for the good of the people.  They built what they built out of greed for money and power and a profound kind of cynicism that has come to be understood as the proper state of consciousness for those who wish to be truly successful.

These cynical, greedy, deceivers of public and owners of our politicians and our politics are now being exposed.  That their exposure will in anyway have an effect on the game they created to insure themselves to be the winners in our politics, the owners of our government, the only players with any real chance of winning, is another illusion that will allow them to win even in their losing.  Their people, their family and friends will fill the positions in the scheme they leave vacant while serving their terms, if they serve terms, and the money and power will continue to flow where it has been directed to flow for so very long a time now that few know of any other direction to consider.  “It is what it is.”

So, Roger and Paul and Charlie (he really is no angel) and the prodigy of Mr. Atwater and Mr. Ails and, yes, Mr. Schumer and Ms. Peolosi and all the others who have succeeded at politics has also succeeded in making people think that what they have put in motion is irreversible and it is irreversible unless people being to reject so much of what they have learned and use their minds to learn for once what is true.

Then there would be hope for something better.  Unlearning what one has come to be convinced is true is at least as hard as learning something new.

 

 

Cozying up with evil is not to be respected

I published this on FB and I am going to re-publish it because I think the issue I posted to acknowledge is one that is critical to understand even if by understanding it confidence in the integrity of our democracy is diminished.  That confidence should be diminished severely if confidence is built on illusion and here, the illusion upon which people base their trust in the American system needs to be acknowledged as such, an illusion that causes people to believe that despite its flaws, it actually does work.  That is wrong and most of us know it but do not want to acknowledge the truth because of urgency for radical change that the truth would reveal.  When there is a system in which only two parties are viable and neither really advocates for what is needed, what is truly good and right and, worse, when the only two viable options are so much like one another that choice is but an illusion, then that system is not at all a functional democratic one.  The truth is, because only the democratic party and the republican party are viable political parties in our system, there is no democracy because, if they are too much alike and offer too little in the way of meaningful options, then the people’s voice is so limited as to mean virtually nothing.  Our political parties serve but one cause, really, and that is an “American way” that works to serve but a few well, some adequately enough to keep them rooting for the system, and many now well enough, these without enough to really have a voice in the system.

So, when I read of how well the powerful of the parties get along and how they respect one another well even after the one or the other has acted in atrocious ways, has hurt, even killed hundreds and thousands needlessly, has worked to corrupt the system in consequential ways, I have to think of the kind of meaningful and consequential collusion in which they are truly involved.  Thus, I see the Obama’s wonderful friendship with the Bushes and the Clintons show of respect for Henry Kissinger and their attendance at Trump’s wedding party to be something more than letting bygones be bygones because I have to believe that they know of evil pasts and can embrace those who have done evil and are evil in a sincere and compassionate manner.  This, in my mind, says that they have no compassion for those harmed by the doers of evil deeds.

So, this FB posting:

Does anyone remember the use Mr. Bush made of the military? Does anyone care about what transpired during the war Bush made with Iraq? Does anyone remember the lies that led to the support that allowed Mr. Bush to put American troops in harms way and forced them, by order, to kill thousands and thousands of people in a foreign country far, far away from our borders. This is pure political bullshit. Bush did more to harm than he ever could to help those who would become veterans of his pathetically illicit war. So all is healed now and G. W. Bush receives a medal from Joe Biden for his contribution to liberty. Everything is not just a little bit upside down. It is absurd.

CNN: LIVE: Biden presents Bushs with Liberty Medal

The 2018 Liberty Medal Ceremony

The National Constitution Center announced it will award the annual Liberty Medal to President George W. Bush and former first lady Mrs. Laura Bush for their commitment to veterans. The award will be presented by former Vice President Joe Biden, Chair of the National Constitution Center’s Board of Trustees, at the 30th Annual Liberty Medal Ceremony on November 11, 2018 at 5 p.m. EST at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Nationalism

Nationalism puts nation above the human being and that is inhumane. This speaks to a critically important problem with our dominant notions of patriotism because they have so much to do with borders which make those on the other side something different than the WE our songs and pledges celebrate. Our patriotism is very much about US and them, the capitalization of the one and not he other here of significance. As human beings who care about human beings, as humane beings, we would not discriminate between them and US because all who are they would be understood to be constituents of US. A just god, if there were such a thing as a god, would never prefer a nation and it would teach people that borders are, by their very purpose, inhumanely discriminatory.
 
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Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values.

Is this American society capable of reasoned decision making?

We have been catapulted out of the realm of the reasonable and into very sick civic space where many believe that guns should be available to all who have not been proven to be mentally incapable of using a gun in a reasonable manner. Anyone who believes this to be sane policy should be on the list of those who need to be examined before being allowed to possess a deadly weapon. Those who are mentally ill often are not certified as such and they do not tell those who serve them that they are mentally ill, particularly when attempting to purchasing items that should not be in the hands of those who are not rational in their thinking and actions. Our society shows serious signs of suffering from collective mental debility each time one of these frequent events occurs and nothing is done to prevent them happening into the future. We have a long way to go to get close to sane.

Vote again next time or demand…

A decent political party would raise taxes so that all could share the nation’s wealth. It would be laser focused on eliminating poverty and advocate for a living wage, good health care for all whatever the cost. It would force the creation of an excellent educational system that would offer all the opportunity to grow to their intellectual potential and it would do this by attracting the best and brightest to teach by offering excellent pay, great benefits, and superb working conditions (how the fuck can it be that this isn’t the way things are now and how could it be that this is not a top list priority of some political party?), teachers who would not teach capitalism and a phony form of democracy that serves a few and screws over the rest. it would force the development of decent infrastructure that would eliminate the problems that the current creates: high speed train lines (no matter how hard the airline industry would fight against it) that make it affordable and convenient for people to move from place to place, everyone the opportunity to be where things are happening and where nothing but birds and bees doing their things are happening. Consider the absurdity of the fact that most would take such suggestions to be absurd, not because they are unreasonable but because we live in a society in which the absurd has devastated our ability to think reasonably.

Self-pity or new process?

Posted in response to sadness over the current state of things, in particular here, the fate of rainforests in Brazil under its new president.

In the midst of bad times the one way to cope that I know of is to get mad, not sad, mad enough to find the creative energy to do what seems at the moment to be impossible. It takes nerve and it takes will and it takes energy so it is a costly fix but it is the way through and possibly the way out. The roots of the problems need to be discovered–hard work, exposed–hard work–and cut–hard and dangerous work. To do such takes a different set of values and a different mind set and it is incumbent upon those who have the opportunity to engage the minds of others to start the process. Risky business but probably now essential to the survivable of decent civilization.

Nationalism, racism, tribalism, and sexism

Nationalism, racism, tribalism, and sexism are aspects of the same purview, sexism somewhat different because the differences between the sexes are real differences in the sense that sex is naturally of consequence of life, the other isms only of consequence because of decisions human beings, not nature, makes concerning how difference is regarded.  All reflect problematic in the way people choose to think about one another.  That the many are prone, in one way or another, to allow themselves to engage in such prejudicial ways of thinking and willingly act upon that thinking constantly impinges on my strong desire to believe that human beings are truly capable of engaging life humanely.  As were all who carry some degree of humaneness, I was disgusted by the carnage that occurred in a Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburg on Saturday.  I was also disturbed by the reaction of a number of people I know who thought the tragedy to be so much of a Jewish one as to pull it away from the context in which it exists, as first a crime against humanity and then, particularly, in this case, against people who the killer understood to be Jewish.  He did kill Jews but he exists amongst a class of killers who mass murders of people they, the killers, locate within the human race by tribe or race or national origin or by sex to harm or destroy.

So from where is it that such people who kill and do harm to others come?  They come from societies or sectors of society in which differences in people that are naturally of little consequence are made to be differences that count in deciding how people of one kindor anothercan and should be treated. Not all, probably not most of those who hold such prejudices would admit to holding them, often because they do not see the discriminations they make to be prejudicial.  For this reason, discrimination is, for a good many, simply a fact of life, no harm meant by it.

Thus, it  was disturbing to me to listen to many of those who expressed despair over the events at the Tree of Life Temple on Saturday, a good many of those who are Jewish speaking of the tragedy as though it was unique in some way because it involved Jews.  Only those of the Jewish faith were slaughtered.  That is true.  But to treat the event as different from those involving those who are not Jewish is symptomatic of tribalism, sorrow made more profound because they are ours, this symptomatic of the us/them way of thinking that allows for, even commands varying degrees of discrimination and prejudice.

I was particularly taken aback by the journalist Howard Fineman who I respect as a good journalist and good human being when he told of his feeling concerning the Tree of Life massacre.  He described how he was raised in the idyllic American community of Squirrel Hill, a section of Pittsburg that, when he grew up was populated almost exclusively by Jewish people.  In that community, he said, that almost exclusively Jewish community, he knew of no prejudice.  People treated each other humanely.  It was, he said, a safe place and a wonderful place in which to grow up.  Squirrel hill now, he mentioned, is now only a 50% Jewish community and I could swear I was hearing in his discussion a bit of longing for those old days when, in Squirrel Hill, all was well, Jewish people getting along well with other Jewish people.  He said nothing about the fact that the existence of ethnic or racial enclaves within America’s towns and cities is indicative of something like one of those problematic isms discussed above, by means other than hostility and/or violence but by separation and exclusion.

I too grew up in a neighborhood that was populated mainly by people of Jewish background.  I was never told to hate or even dislike others who were not Jewish.  I was made to know, from an early age, that I was Jewish and that being Jewish separated me, made me different from those who were not Jewish.  I assumed to be Jewish and not Jewish were as natural a division as being either male or female, I different from themin ways that mattered.  And it did matter because all of the friends I could have, for matters of proximity, yes, but also by sanction, were Jewish.  All of my parents’ friends were Jewish so that all of the adults who visited us in our home were Jewish, their children too, of course.  As I got older I did meet people who were not Jewish who I understood to be not as welcome at our house as those who were Jewish and, when girlfriends became a part of my life, there was always someone around to make clear that Jewish girlfriends were good and girls who were not Jewish could not be good girlfriends.

I cannot speak to whether these kinds of you are a Jew and remember you are a Jew and never even think about marrying a goy girl and try now to even think about having friends who aren’t Jewish, but knowing the Jewish kids I knew who are now Jewish adults, Jewishness is still a distinction that carries weight in life and some of the poundage comes in the form of prejudice and various forms of discrimination.

This is exactly what we need to get beyond.  A particular religion does not make one better or worse than others.  Being of a particular race does not make one better or worse than others.  Being of a particular ethnicity or nationality does not make one better or worse than others.  And being of a particular sex does not make one better or worse than others. Intermingling is the key to understanding and yes, intermingling does tend to dilute purity.  The good thing in all this is that purity of the national or religious or ethnic or tribal or sexual variety is at best worthless and desire for it of ignorance, against good sense.