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Bill Longstaff: The United States—democracy or oligarchy?

Last year, Iran held an election to choose its president. Many in the West mocked the election because the candidates were vetted by the Guardian Council (a group appointed largely by the Supreme Leader). This, however, is not so different from American presidential elections. In the U.S., candidates have to get approval from the corporate sector simply because if they don’t get those big

Dead Wild Roses: The First Honest Cable Company…

A big thanks to Moe over at Whatever Works for finding this short video on our ISP’s. Just watch the free market in action…

Filed under: Rant Tagged: Cable Providers, Free Markets?, ISP, Oligarchy

Parchment in the Fire: Let’s Get This Class War Started – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

Chris Hedges: Let’s Get This Class War Started – Chris Hedges – Truthdig.

By Chris Hedges

“The rich are different from us,” F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have remarked to Ernest Hemingway, to which Hemingway allegedly replied, “Yes, they have more money.”

The exchange, although it never actually took place, sums up a wisdom Fitzgerald had that eluded Hemingway. The rich are different. The cocoon of wealth and privilege permits the rich to turn those around them into compliant workers, hangers-on, servants, flatterers and sycophants. Wealth breeds, as Fitzgerald illustrated in “The Great Gatsby” and his short story (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The GOP War on Working Class America

Freshmen GOP – 2010

Paul Krugman recently questioned the sanity of Congressional Republicans who, he contends, have inflicted such a level of dysfunctionality on the federal government as to leave America ungovernable.

Robert Reich, however, seems method in the madness of the “Party of No.”

The real answer, I think, is they and their patrons want unemployment to remain high and job-growth to sputter. Why? Three reasons: First, high unemployment keeps wages down. Workers who are worried about losing their jobs settle for whatever they can get — which is why hourly earnings keep dropping. The median wage is (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Waging Class War is One Thing, Winning It Before the Other Side Knows About It is Everything

Bad news for working class America, white and blue collar – the class war they never really understood had been waged against them for the past three decades is over and they lost.

A team of researchers from the U.S. government and Brookings Institute pored over 350,000 tax returns from 1987 to 2009 has led them to conclude that income inequality is not merely vast but, far worse, permanent.

“For total house-hold income, the large increase in inequality over our sample period was predominantly,though not entirely, permanent. For this broader income category, both the permanent and the transitory parts

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Waging Class War is One Thing, Winning It Before the Other Side Knows About It is Everything

The Disaffected Lib: Living in Automated Times

We are steadily, inexorably it seems, leaving the world of manual labour.   Even the Chinese are beginning to turn to robotics to replace low-wage workers.  So, how do entire societies live when machines have taken their work?  An interesting problem that invites interesting solutions.

During the Industrial Revolution, working hours increased by 20% as factories replaced feasting. With our post-machine standard of living, we can afford to shed some of the Puritan guilt that has, for centuries, kept our noses to the grindstone.

Today we find a great deal of work-sharing in poor countries. It is the

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Living in Automated Times

The Disaffected Lib: They Are Not Of Us

An interesting essay from George Monbiot today on the grooming of oligarchs and why, even though they govern in our name, they don’t rule on our behalf.   They rule as they were born and raised to rule.   An excerpt.

In the Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt explains that the nobles of pre-revolutionary France “did not regard themselves as representative of the nation, but as a separate ruling caste which might have much more in common with a foreign people of the same society and condition than with its compatriots”.

Last year the former Republican staffer Mike Lofgren wrote

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: They Are Not Of Us

The Disaffected Lib: To the Big Picture, Does the White House Matter?

A substantial majority of Canadians want to see Barack Obama re-elected.  Why?

To be sure, the Republican offerings of late have been unpopular here and pretty much around the world, Israel perhaps excepted.  It could be that Ike was last truly popular conservative president of the United States on the world stage.

Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, Bush II – slim pickings at best.  Anyone believe that gang left the world a better place than they found it?  (Hint – if you do, seek help)

The other team put forward Kennedy, Johnson (don’t undervalue his civil

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: To the Big Picture, Does the White House Matter?

The Disaffected Lib: Amerika Exposed

We can thank Chris Hedges and his colleagues for this. They had the guts to sue Obama and Panetta to challenge the constitutionality of the National Defence Authorization Act and, at least in the initial ruling, they beat the government. Hedges provides a look into today’s America that we should all find dark and disturbing.  

We filed the lawsuit, worked for hours on the affidavits, carried out the tedious depositions, prepared the case and went to trial because we did not want to be passive in the face of another egregious assault on basic civil liberties, because resistance is

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Amerika Exposed

Red Tory v.3.0.3: “Obock Obama”

Wearing a matching sweater vest, Foster Friess, the billionaire investor backing Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum’s frothy campaign to be Theocrat-in-Chief of the Free World, introduces his pet candidate at CPAC 2012:

After opening with a mildly amusing joke at the expense of Mitt Romney, Friess goes on to observe that rather than supporting hackneyed old political warhorses as the Republicans have too-often done in the recent past, Democrats have won presidential elections by bringing “fresh faces” like Carter and Clinton “from out nowhere”… A fair enough comment perhaps, but then he goes on to add, “they bring Oback Obama

. . . → Read More: Red Tory v.3.0.3: “Obock Obama”

The Disaffected Lib: The Goldman Technocrats Take the Throne in Europe

Did Goldman Sachs play a key role in Europe’s fiscal meltdown and are Goldman Sachs alumni now moving into top positions in the most unstable Euro nations?  Apparently so.  This one’s a true eye-opener.

“According to its detractors, the European network of influence woven by American bank Goldman Sachs (GS) functions like a freemasonry. To diverse degrees, the new European Central Bank President, Mario Draghi, the newly designated Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Monti, and the freshly appointed Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos are totemic figures in this carefully constructed web. “Draghi was Goldman Sachs International’s vice-chairman . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The Goldman Technocrats Take the Throne in Europe

The Disaffected Lib: Der Spiegel Says the "O" Word

Spiegel Online has come right out and asked whether America has been transformed into a true oligarchy?It’s an perfectly legitimate question and the answer is plainly “yes.”"Inequality in America is greater than it has been in almost a century. Those … . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Der Spiegel Says the "O" Word

Red Tory v.3.0.3: Lifestyles of the “Job Creators”

Danish luxury retailer Aesir hopes to sell its $57,400, limited-edition 18-carat gold phones to the burgeoning market of elite “job creators” in the world. The solid gold mobile phone doesn’t provide an email service or internet access, has no built-in … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Red Tory v.3.0.3: Lifestyles of the “Job Creators”

Dead Wild Roses: Class War – 10 things you should know about what is going on in the United States

Keeping with the light blogging schedule, this is a repost from Alter.net about why the people of OWS are so ticked off and why they are protesting. Consider it a primer to help in understanding their positions. 1. Wall Street caused the crash: Unless you are suffering from financial amnesia, you should remember that it [...] . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Class War – 10 things you should know about what is going on in the United States

Dead Wild Roses: US Debt – The Shock Therapy Begins

The US debt crisis is being oversimplified. The message we here is we cannot pay our debts and therefore we need balance our spending and balance the budget. Average people can understand that – but here is what has been done so far to combat debt via Whatever Works and a big thanks to Moe [...] . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: US Debt – The Shock Therapy Begins

The malignant influence of the Kochtopus

Via Montreal Simon and Alison at Creekside, this little gem: Teabaggers, Astroturfers, the Fraser Institute, robocalls directing voters to the wrong places, Harper wanking on about Canada being an “energy superpower” … all part of the same noxious… . . . → Read More: The malignant influence of the Kochtopus

Amnesty International concerned about Bradley Manning

Amnesty International has taken up the case of Bradley Manning. In an open letter addressed to Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, the organization expresses its concern regarding the treatment of Manning: The harsh conditions imposed on PFC Manning also undermine the principle of the presumption of innocence, which should be taken into account in [...] . . . → Read More: Amnesty International concerned about Bradley Manning

All Hail the Oligarchy

Yes, of course it’s obscene that the minority Conservative government is going to spend an estimated $1 billion for security for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits as a result of political grandstanding (remember 9/11?!) and in the shallowest attempt to highlight one of the Cons’ ridings (which those attending the summit won’t see anyway because, apparently, it’s too scary out there!). But let’s get real here: the opposition won’t vote against this spending (inflated from the original estimate of $137 billion in the budget documents – did I say “inflated”? Try “blown right out of the (Read more…)