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Capitalism at its worst

Pro and Con

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Mar 24, 8:48pm Top

This event reminds me why I was a communist in my youth.

Summary: the UK is closing down, like other countries. There will be economic hardship all round, no question. And those who own only their labor-power will be hit the hardest. The answer is not government ownership of the economy, but we can argue that elsewhere. However, there is unavoidable hardship ... and then there is being a pig.

We have a hotel chain in the UK, called Britannia Hotels. I don't recommend staying in
it under normal circumstances: it has been voted the worst hotel chain in the country, for
seven years running. https://www.theguardian.com/busines...orst-chain-seventh-year-in-a-row-which-sur... On the other hand, maybe that's made them lower their prices and the tradeoff would have been worth it. Free market and all that.

But now ... here is what these pigs did: they sacked their staff (mainly overseas workers), and evicted them, with no notice. Out on the street, immediately. Here's the story:


Click on it, read it.

Of course, these pigs immediately tried to CYA:

I've followed the story ... nowhere does it say they rehired the staff or fired the pig who did the sacking. I contacted them. No reply, of course. Stonewall it. No one cares, right?

So ... I would like to request everyone to repost this story wherever you can: Facebook, Twitter, whatever other forums you are on.

And -- most important -- email them and tell them you will never ever ever stay in their filthy hotels again, and that you are going to spread the word among all your friends to do the same. A couple of days have passed now and they're probably saying, 'Ha, it's all blown over'. No it hasn't. It doesn't matter whether you ever did or ever would stay in one of their hotels. Go ahead and lie. God will forgive you.

Here's their contact details. It will take you thirty seconds to type in a message: https://www.britanniahotels.com/contact-us

What they did is disgusting purely in its own right. As a tiny footnote, this is what makes idealistic young people become Reds -- by this act they probably recruited five thousand kids to the Incredibly Revolutionary Socialist Proletarian Peoples Party or whatever the toy revolutionaries call themselves nowadays.

And I think that it would be just terrible.... really really terrible ... if, in a year or two, when things are back to normal ... if they're still in business ... some Hacktivists made their website an ongoing never-ending target for denial-of-service attacks and the like, unpredictably, every few months. I would cry myself to sleep over that.

Capitalism, with all its brutality, is the only system that brings prosperity. There is no alternative. But some of its worst enemies are certain capitalists themselves.

Make them suffer.

Mar 25, 12:26am Top

>1 Doug1943: Capitalism, with all its brutality, is the only system that brings prosperity. There is no alternative.

It isn't, and there is.

But while you're on about capitalism in the UK, it's worth noting that yesterday the Tory government effectively renationalised the railways, something which we old socialists, as well as rail enthusiasts and passengers, have been calling for for more than twenty years, since those same Tories sold the railways to private companies in 1996 at a knock-down price. Amidst the virus pandemic, they've finally acknowledged that the railways are an essential national service, and that private companies, whose focus is on profit rather than service, cannot sustain this service when times are hard. Or perhaps they've just acknowledged that their friends the capitalist companies are not making a profit any more (actually two railway companies went bust even before the pandemic and had to be taken over by the government, ie nationalised) and so they're seeking a way of baling them out. But one way or the other, the railways are now effectively a national asset again.

UK suspends rail franchise system after passenger numbers slide (Financial Times)

Has the government just renationalised Britain’s railways? (City Metric)

Mar 25, 1:21am Top

I'm all for nationalized railways. And nationalised National Parks. And a strong military, an example of pure socialism.
No one wants genuine socialism any more, though. See the Socialist Calculation Question.

Mar 25, 5:49am Top

#4--most people don't want deregulated predatory capitalism either. People want the safety net programs. In the United States the majority of people actually want a health care system that covers everyone. They want public schools and people keeping up infrastructure such as roads and bridges. The common stuff. We also want a shared economy and by that I mean why should there be billionaires? Why the wealth gap?

For me personally though I would set limits to how much wealth any individual could have. Who needs more than $25 million for instance?

Edited: Mar 25, 8:17am Top

>3 Doug1943:, >4 lriley:

As I've said often before, I favour a mixed economy, which worked well in UK, Scandinavia and the Netherlands during my formative years. I'm not against private property, private wealth and reasonable profit, but it must all be balanced against the common good. Unregulated free market capitalism is not the asnwer to anything. I tend to agree with >4 lriley:.

Mar 25, 9:37am Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)

Don't fall for this stinking facho crap, people. Doug's been peddling his "I once was blind (used to be "Marxist", now "communist"--LOL!!!), now I see" lying bollocks forever. Have you no memory? This group and other here (and a few other places on the internet) are filled with his "anti-fascists are the real fascists" tirades.

Dude's a white supremacist Christianist (Mormon) fascist and not-so-crypto-Nazi (Hitler by way of, wait for it... Bismarck. Like no one can figure that one out!) If that's who you want to waste time on, fine, but don't say no one warned you.

Mar 25, 10:14am Top

Trying to choose between being a capitalist and being a socialist is like trying to chose between being an individualist and being a conformist.

You cannot be purely either. You will be some combination.

Societies decide what is to be capitalized and what is to socialized and then it is done.

Problem solved.

Move on.

Mar 25, 10:33am Top

This is all very interesting -- and, in one, case, sad, actually -- but people: click on that Britannia Hotels link, and let them know that you travel a lot, that you often have stayed in their hotels (God will forgive you), but never again.

Iriley and JohnTheFireman: almost everyone on the planet believes in a mixed economy nowadays -- there are a few thousand pure Marxists on the Left, and a few thousand pure Libertarians on the .... Right? Somehow that seems wrong ... anyway, beyond that, we all agree in principle.

The devil is in the details. But let's not argue that here: go after Britannia Hotels.... copy my post and put it on your Facebook Page, etc.

And ... apparently only Lefties are reading this thread at the moment .. and you won't be interested... but if any people on the Right are, please
get a copy of the recent book by F.H. Buckley, The Republican Workers Party, read it, and if you agree with what he's saying .... PM me and get involved in trying to make it a reality.

Mar 25, 10:35am Top

Those links in >1 Doug1943: aren't working

Mar 25, 11:22am Top

Cue Leon Rosselson's Song of the Old Communist

Mar 25, 11:35am Top

>4 lriley: $25 million? Why so much? If you're going to determine a formula of any kind to eliminate the obscenity of a wealth gap, you might begin with asking what worker deserves twice that of what other worker? or non-worker, for that matter?
Back when I drove a taxi to support my writing, I made $11,000 or so one year. My brother the airline pilot made $150,000. His mechanics made $30,000. What if you give me 40, the mechanics 60 and the pilots 80? I'll give 20 back and write half the year.

Mar 25, 11:58am Top

No, we don't all agree in principle.

Mar 25, 12:01pm Top

>10 johnthefireman:

False address.

Mar 25, 12:17pm Top

#11---the main thing is to ratchet it down. But really it's not what you're making year to year---it's what you have shouldn't exceed but no problem setting it lower.

Mar 25, 1:31pm Top

>13 LolaWalser:

Thanks, Lola, but it seems to be working for me - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5ecU2yGDpM

Edited: Mar 25, 1:56pm Top

>1 Doug1943:

Your aim is off.

Say what you will about it, capitalism is inherently premised on the use of a range of human characteristics which include, very importantly, greed, risk-taking and quite often, the shirking or shrugging off on others of as much as possible in risk and cost while at the same time taking and keeping for the capitalist's as much as possible of the benefits. That is because people are involved and they come with everything from the best to the worst in their qualities and characteristics.

"Capitalism," per se, couldn't (even if "it" "wanted to") make morally-bankrupt people into paragons of (real) virtue (not the much-beloved and insipidly stupid air-head pseudo-liberals' version of it) or virtuous people into horrifying scoundrels--unless these latter already possess the elementary make-up for such a turn of events.

Some rather noble, public-spirited and, so, admirable, people go into business. But there is nothing about it which makes such people more likely to launch a venture or, for that matter, to "succeed" once it's launched ("succeed" here is intended as its minimum feature: "not going bankrupt.")

What you want, and quite rightly, is for genuinely effective curbs and controls to be in place to ensure--by law--because there is no other way to do this--that as much as is reasonably possible of the worst of human nature is disallowed formally, openly, where the public is fully aware in advance of the terms and their application.

Thus you are concerned with government regulation of corporate power. That is always a challenge but it is certainly not impossible. But it's completely foreseeable that private (and public) corporate power--an important part of it, anyway--should seek to capture and control their regulators and erase the distinctions between public and private interest and control, making virtually everything a matter of de facto private interests. That is the world in which the overwhelming majority of people live today. It's as true in China as in Britain--regardless of what the propaganda posters and the news personalities say to the contrary.

In France, in Britain, in the U.S. and in other places in the world, and, currently, most notably in large parts of Scandinavia, history's examples offer us far, far better protections of wage-earners, of students, of unemployed people, of homeless people and of people who, though not homeless, are quite poor. Indeed, some of the best of the examples have gone some way in attempting to virtually eliminate the worst extent of poverty.

So, contrary to the case under which all of us live, the corporation's greediest having virtually everything their own way, these people find themselves required to treat those who depend on them with a certain level of what we'd call decency and fairness--which some, if they weren't under a legal obligation, wouldn't do. Though it would probably surprise the most cynical how much a good example learned by long-standing and expected practice can lead otherwise-not-very-noble-people to have a good deal more enlightened view of what is best for themselves, those dependent on them and the society in general once they've had a chance to actually see it with their own eyes.

Now your problem is figuring out how to come to (or return to, at the least, what was once better in) this kind of set of circumstances within the deplorable political conditions which prevail virtually everywhere outside the aforementioned Scandinavian countries (and which is under threat even there). Neither France, certainly not Britain, nor the U.S. looks today anything like the sorts of places which could and would produce Scandinavia-like social progress. But all of them used to look more likely to have produced such a set of circumstances. You'd be extremely mistaken to think that is mainly or only due to the grip which, in the U.S., political conservatives and, especially, Republicans have on things.

Corporate thuggery and thievery got along just fine under Bill Clinton and under Barack Obama. It would not have suffered at all under Hillary Clinton, one of Goldman Sachs' best friends.

Before there's going to be anything like the ground-conditions for the panoply of changes required for the sort of better world you envision, there's going to have to be a sea-change in the common-place idiocy which is so deeply embedded in much of Americans' political and social assumptions. And very, very much of the worst of them are currently decidedly among the political so-called "Left."

Mar 25, 1:50pm Top

And there's always the Internationale. I like Billy Bragg's English version - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAw0Ri4FSdM

Mar 25, 4:29pm Top

>15 johnthefireman:

Not what I meant.

Hint: there are no "old communists" in this thread.

Mar 25, 7:22pm Top

Actually I find that hard to believe too.

Edited: Mar 25, 7:49pm Top

What's hard to believe?
Which links aren't working? The Britannia link is...send them an email!
Proximity1: I'm off to bed now but I will reply tomorrow.
Anyone who believes in genuine socialism --state ownership & planning of the economy -- ought to read Francis Spufford's Red Plenty. It's brilliant.

Mar 25, 8:58pm Top

>20 Doug1943:
The 2nd and 3rd links in the first post go to 'Can't find this page'

Edited: Mar 25, 10:10pm Top

Rich and super-rich GOPers are very upset because their Trump
era gravy train is off the tracks


they appear to want us to play the part of guinea pigs in their
restoration project.

Mar 26, 12:33am Top

>18 LolaWalser: Not what I meant.... there are no "old communists" in this thread

Not what I meant. I just like that song for its evocation of past dynamics, and I think it is relevant to a conversation on socialism and capitalism regardless of who is in the conversation.

Mar 26, 5:10am Top

>23 johnthefireman: I get tired of Lola's dictates about the people of this thread. I don't know Doug1943, but I can decide for myself what I agree and disagree with. Beyond that, I don't know what she means by 'old communist', but I certainly consider johnthefireman a comrade of mine, along with Iriley, and C-W, and of course Lola herself and I share virtually identical views of the political world.

Edited: Mar 26, 2:39pm Top

>24 RickHarsch: a comrade of mine

Thanks, comrade. "Comrade". Now that's a good word. I got used to using in during the 1983-2005 civil war in Sudan. In the 1980s the Sudan People's Liberation Army went through a Marxist phase, driven by their principle backer, Ethiopia's military ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam. They didn't really ingest much Marxism and soon moved on to other sports, but they took a liking to the word "Comrade", and it has stuck. Those of us who were there in the bush with them during the guerilla war still tend to use it when talking of and to the old comrades, from the president of South Sudan downwards.

Mar 26, 3:26pm Top

I think Lola was triggered by my statement that this action by the pigs at Britannia Hotels -- HAS EVERYONE SENT THEM AN EMAIL???? DO IT NOW!!! reminded me of why I was a communist in my youth. (And, truth to tell, into middle age ... for about twenty years.)

So I'm an "old exb>They've become liberals on the war issue!!!? Jesus, can't you see this???

And more than that: for sixty years, the Left screamed and hollered about the FBI -- COINTELPRO -- and the CIA (Coups against democratically-elected leaders!) ... and the Right's response was, largely, to support these agencies in the fight against Communism.

And now ... everything has changed!!! I don't really understand the new-found love for the FBI and CIA on the Left --other than using them as a convenient cudgel against the Orange One .... but the shift in the base of the Right has been dramatic. The phrase 'deep state' is now a commonplace among ordinary conservatives. Some of this started with Ruby Ridge and Waco so it's not entirely unexpected. But now we have a lot of young people on the Right, judging from some of the 'boogaloo' Facebook pages, who you can't tell, based on their posts, from AntiFa. (This is actually a problem for my side, because good conservatives know we need the state, including the secret police.)

Anyway, where we agree -- say on foreign policy -- we ought to hold our noses and work together. (I was sorry to see that the Socialist Rifle Association, who have a very good position on gun control, boycotted the magnificent turnout in Richmond Virginia on the 20th of January. A shame .. they would have been very welcome.)

Edited: Mar 26, 3:36pm Top

I've been asked to rule on some words above, namely:
"Dude's a white supremacist Christianist (Mormon) fascist and not-so-crypto-Nazi…"
Here is my ruling: It is inappropriate and against the TOS. I am not sanctioning anyone because I don't feel we've been clear about the situation before. Rather, I'm noting it here, and adding a line to the TOS to cover it.

I will admit this is a very tricky one. And new. The Terms have mostly been invoked when someone calls someone an asshole, a liar, a pedophile, etc. Those are easy—it's name calling. We haven't had many cases where the objection was solely to wiggly political labels like "Nazi" and "fascist."

Calling someone a liberal, a socialist, a fascist or even a Nazi has a long history in English rhetoric, especially online. It rarely means "You are a card-carrying member of the Nazi party." That would be an easy one to police. Rather, it tends to means something more like "I hate your views and think they're Nazi-like." It's vitriolic hyperbole.

That said, LibraryThing's code is explicitly rhetoric code. It's what we do differently than most other sites. One aspect of this is that we prohibit all name-calling. You can't say "You are a liar" on LibraryThing. You can't even say it if it's clearly true! You have to say that a given post, line of argument, or whatever "is a lie." You can say that as much as you want, but not directly call someone a liar.

So that's the ruling. No calling people Nazis. It's name-calling, and therefore forbidden by the TOS.

As always, remember to send staff notes when you see something you believe to be abuse. We aren't trolling around looking for it.

Mar 26, 3:53pm Top

Unfortunately, the Terms of Use page is in between LT and LT2. I can't push changes without a lot of work. So here's the update, when it happens.

Freedom of discussion and personal attacks
* LibraryThing prohibits all personal attacks on members. As Wikipedia's policy states, "Comment on content, not on the contributor."
* Personal attacks are attacks on a person. To dispute or disparage someone's words is not a personal attack. It is the line between "You are a liar" and "Your recent post was a lie." The former is a violation of the TOS. The latter is not.
* Personal attacks include name-calling. Name-calling is not restricted to pure insults (e.g., "asshole"), but also ones that imply both a personal and a content problem (e.g., "liar," "Nazi").
* LibraryThing has no speech code per se. You can dispute ideas and words without limitation.

Mar 26, 3:57pm Top

Tim ... it should be clear to everyone -- except perhaps a casual first-timer -- that this poor woman is not responsible for what she says.
I know this is usually a leftist get-out when defending some horrible murderer -- "Racism made him do it!" -- but in this case, it's blindingly
obvious. I feel sorry for her, and do not want to see her censored in any way. Not that my attitude makes any difference, I suppose.

This is a great site. You get really smart people, Left and Right, confronting each other and -- not to be pollyannaish about it -- sometimes, maybe, learning from each other.

I lived in Beserkeley in the 60s. There was a woman there who, when you were standing on a street corner downtown, Shattuck Avenue for example ... who would come up quietly behind you and then suddenly scream incoherently in your ear. She was well known. Poor soul. The first couple of times it was quite startling. But you got used to it ... just one of the unusual things about living in dear old Berkeley. So let it be here.

Mar 26, 4:21pm Top

>29 Doug1943: That "poor woman" is actually quite brilliant, and I agree with her near 99% of the time when she's making her points. As for >26 Doug1943:, I would say you no longer seem to understand what 'left' means. The argument that it's okay for the FBI to investigate political malfeasance but not illegally wiretap does not have a political 'gender'.
I have no idea why LolaWalser thinks you are what she said you are, but had I been in on the argument I probably would have been on her side.

Mar 26, 4:27pm Top

>27 timspalding:

First, let me remind I have been watching Doug post, here and elsewhere, for over ten years now. While my descriptions of him may not be diplomatic, they are certainly not hyperbolic--not in my opinion, nor in my intention. I take his posting history as all the evidence necessary to come to the same conclusions I did.

For fresh evidence:


Note the finale in the OP:

And that will mean acknowledging the truth of old Bismarck's observation that all the great questions of mankind are settled not by parliamentary majorities (or Supreme Court decisions) but by blood and iron.

The underlined phrase is notorious for being used by neo-Nazi sympathisers as an allusion to "blood and soil"--charming Volk like Doug find that pushing Bismarck, a great hero to the Nazis but with lower name recognition, buys them more time to peddle their views than openly endorsing Hitler.

While we are discussing what the TOS allows and doesn't, and "vitriolic hyperbole", I have to ask, how do you feel about the thread I linked?

How do you feel about someone directly, openly, calling for civil war in your country? For "patriots" (sic) to get armed and wage war against, one presumes, the "unpatriotic"?

As for being a Christianist, a racist and a white supremacist, that too is all on evidence, not just historically but again here just recently, for example:

In Africa, the poor savages have to kill each other with stones and machetes, whereas the Germans did it far more efficiently.

But at the moment, anyone with a brain knows that it's far nicer to live in America or Europe than in Africa, much of Latin America, and a lot of Asia.

As for 'free market' policies -- dear God, man, do you think that the problem with Venezuela or Zimbabwe is that the government doesn't have enough power over what economy is left?

No, I prefer civilization, and almost all the people of the world -- the certainly the poor devils in the Third World living under their violent, corrupt, brutal, stupid, savage leaders, do too.


When Blacks begin to move into a previously-white neighborhood, the whites start to move out. It's called "white flight".

What's interesting is that almost ALL the whites -- the ones who can afford it -- move. The evil wicked racist David Dukes, and the pure, virtuous, shining anti-racist Lola Walsers, they all get out.

Why? Why it's obvious: the white racists are evil and don't want to live near Blacks.

But the white liberals/progressives ... are just making their homes available to the Blacks, whom they love! It's an act of loving self-sacrifice!!!!


Check ouit this poor young man's case.

He'd done his time. Now he should be allowed to carry on ... probably studying to be a doctor or an astrophysicist.

If you live in Edmonton and you see him, and if you're a good white liberal, invite him to come live in your home, especially if you have children. Prove your anti-racism! Or, if he can be located ... he's probably willing to travel to where you live! Show your virtue!!!


Or, from the first thread I linked, note the utterly random sneering at Michael Brown, the unarmed man whose murder triggered the riots in Ferguson and Black Lives Matter:

Or we may have President Warren, who will proceed to decree a Michael Brown Martyr Day.

Edited: Mar 26, 4:31pm Top

>29 Doug1943:

I feel sorry for her,

You want to see something tragic, take a look in the mirror.

Mar 26, 5:38pm Top

>31 LolaWalser: Facebook. Twitter. And now this august site have much in common.

Mar 26, 7:36pm Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
I'm not sure what you mean re. the FBI. Could you expand? I'm certainly in favor of a secret police, but not one which investigates people who are not reasonably planning to commit felonies.

I don't know how much history of the FBI you know, but if you do anything about it, you'll know what COINTELPRO was, and how wrong it was: the FBI infiltrated groups which J. Edgar Hoover didn't like, because of their leftist political beliefs, but which were not planning on carrying out violent acts: for example, the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, who finally successfully sued them over it.

They didn't just gather information to be used in future prosecutions. They did things like try to stir up lethal encounters between groups they didn't like. For example, the Black Panthers, and Ron Karenga's US group. Both were Black militants, both were at a low cultural level, both embraced the ghetto macho stuff, and so it was not difficult for the FBI to get them lethally angry at each other. US ended up killing two Panthers at UCLA, where they were rivals for the money the idiot liberals were handing out to Black militants at the time. (See Thomas Wolfe's brilliant Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers for how easy it was, and is, for race hustlers to screw money out of gullible white-guilt lefties.) Ron Karenga, founder of US, became an FBI fink, and also is the author of the phoney Kwanzaa holiday. A perfect hero for the idiot Left: his bio is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maulana_Karenga

On the other hand, they also infiltrated and tried to disrupt groups which WERE carrying out violent acts, namely, the KKK. The American rulers didn't care very much about the Klan's activities before the Cold War, but after it began, it was embarrassing to them, since they were competing with the Soviets in the non-white Third World. So, although J. Edgar Hoover hated Martin Luther King and thought he was influenced by communists (and in a sense he wasn't wrong), and even tried to get King to commit suicide by threatening to expose King's rather extensive sexual activities outside the sacred marriage bond, he also had to go after the KKK.

In fact, they probably went over the line with the KKK but no one's complaining. Anyone interested in this should read TERROR IN THE NIGHT -- THE KLAN'S WAR AGAINST THE JEWS. Anyway, a secret police is always a dangerous, if necessary, institution to have. There is no magic formula to absolutely guarantee that they won't exceed their brief ... you've just go to watch them all the time.

Yes ... I think you would be on Lola's side. I think of her as the essence of the modern Left. which has, over time, transitioned into a new species, with not much in common with the traditional Left. She's deranged, but then, so is the modern Left.

Mar 26, 8:25pm Top

Oh yes, for the record, I'm an atheist. Like all sensible people, I think the Europeans and their offshoot have achieved the best the human species have done so far.

This can't possibly be because of 'genes', although they may play a role, because we can see societies with the same basic gene pool, go from one extreme to the other. The Mayans had a pretty advanced civilization -- comparable to the civiliztions like Babylon and Egypt -- with exponential-positional numbering system, for example. Now, they're just inert peasants. The Danes were fierce warriors. Now, they're the nicest people on earth. Can't be genes, has to be social conditions.

Genes may play a role, by the way. Lola and a friend made fools of themselves by arguing over and over against something that is in black and white, namely, the view of the distinguished anthropologist Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel. I'm sure most people who post here are familiar with it, if not, here's a synopsis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns,_Germs,_and_Steel You'll notice he seems to be arguing against genetics and for what I would call a historical materialist approach (which is what I favor, although not his particular one). But when I read the book, something caught my eye: he actually concedes the argument the 'genetic' people make about the differences among the races (or whatever you want to call them).

He says "in mental ability New Guineans are probably genetically superior to Westerners." Whoops. So ... intelligence IS a function of genetics? This is so against the whole thrust of his book that I assume it's either a subtle joke, or a slip. (Most people who study this question know that genetics has a real role in intelligence but you're not allowed to make this point very prominently nowadays ... the Thought Police will be on to you and your academic career will be over.)

Anyhow, we had a long argument on this. Beats me how anyone can misinterpret Diamond's words, but .. ideology is a powerful master. Anyone interested in this can find the whole argument here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/11208

And as a footnote: you'll note Lola was MUCH more coherent, and honest, ten years ago. Wrong, but making an argument. But these things happen ... biological entropy, to which we are all subject one way or the other.

Oh yes: on Bismarck, and that famous 'Blood and Iron' quote. Hey, it's quoted so often it's a cliche... I recall Rick Harsh caught me out uttering a truism some time ago, so maybe I'm overfond of them. But Bismarck was just saying what any sensible person knows: underlying the laws, is force. Dissolve the Army and Police ... and you've got South Chicago on a Saturday night, raised to the fifth power.

Or as Mao said: political power comes out of the barrel of a gun. Does anyone seriously dispute this?

I do believe the US is headed towards becoming a 'normal' country: that is, one where there are savage conflicts between different groups. Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, Central Europe right after WWII, British India right after WWII and intermittently, right down to today, Sri Lanka, Burma, the Philippines, most African countries, Iraq and Syria and Lebanon, Cyprus, not to mention Greater Israel ... basically, wherever there is more than one tribe, and they are interpenetrated.

Amy Chua's The World on Fire goes into this in depressing detail. I used to be a sort-of, hopeful, maybe-it-will-work tepid supporter of the idea of 'draining the swamp'. (Initially, I was quoting Robespierre's wise observation about people not loving missionaries with bayonets. Should have stuck with my initial impulse.) We had a lot of arguments here on the issue. I was wrong and the non-interventionists were right.

I think America is headed in that direction. What I would like to see is a peaceful separation, an amicable divorce. Red America and Blue America, and my advice to 'Red America', is, make every possible concession to 'Blue Americans' who would remain in the territory of Red America. (How annoying the American reversal of the elsewhere-universal political meaning of those colors.)

Lots of problems to be solved, the most important one being how to maintain a credible high-tech military defense as we slide into second place in the world. But if we can throw off the chains of empire and bring the troops home from their 400 military bases all over the world, we could do it.

But of course, at the end of the day (oops, cliche again), power comes out of the barrel of a gun, so people who are on my side of the political barricades need to spend a few hundred dollars and get an AR15, a dozen magazines, and a couple of thousand rounds of ammunition. And take steps to learn how to use it, and to be in a group of like-minded people. The youngsters need to enlist in the National Guard if they have not yet done their military service, and everyone on my side needs to go to Marxists.org and download Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution, to learn about how political moods can shift dramatically in a crisis.

What I really hate is cant and hypocrisy. White liberals who pat themselves on the back about how oh-so-moral they are, and then join all the other whites in 'white flight' when Blacks start to move into their neighborhood. Or scream and shout, as they were doing in New York City a few weeks ago, when the mayor wants to break up their white-and-Asian high-performing schools by putting in some Black and Hispanic kids -- who will of course transform it, and not in a good way from the academic point of view. What hypocrites.

Yikes. Way too long! Let's finish with a movie! Everyone likes a movie!

Are American elections boring? They're very exciting in other countries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSD28-Q-5Yg

Mar 26, 10:15pm Top

>34 Doug1943: I would guess I know near as much if not more than you about COINTELPRO, etc. Your argument seemed to be that leftists suddenly love the FBI if they are going after their enemies. And that's bizarre. Naturally anyone on the spectrum would at least want to appear to approve of white collar criminals and politicians who abuse their offices being investigated and punished.

Lola is not deranged. I flagged you for that, and I assume others will. No reason for me to read your second post, and, frankly I only skimmed the first.

Mar 27, 5:47am Top

>27 timspalding: " One aspect of this is that we prohibit all name-calling. You can't say "You are a liar" on LibraryThing. You can't even say it if it's clearly true! You have to say that a given post, line of argument, or whatever "is a lie." You can say that as much as you want, but not directly call someone a liar."

>28 timspalding: "As Wikipedia's policy states, 'Comment on content, not on the contributor.' "


Okay, then. Here's my comment on the above-cited "content":

That is just so hilariously fucking "precious".

In other news,

"Ut sine timore de manu inimicorum nostrorum liberati : serviamus illi.
In sanctitate et justitia coram ipso : omnibus diebus nostris.
Et tu puer Propheta Altissimi vocaberis : præibis enim ante faciem Domini, parare vias ejus.
Ad dandam scientiam salutis plebi ejus : in remissionem peccatorum eorum.
Per viscera misericordiæ Dei nostri : in quibus visitavit nos oriens ex alto."

Mar 27, 11:21am Top

Anyone interested in finding out what Doug is going on about regarding Jared Diamond would do best to read the thread he linked to in >35 Doug1943:. There's no point in having myself and other posters who opposed him then repeat what we were saying, as Doug's sole interest is in propagandizing his view that racism is vindicated (in several ways--in the sense of a "natural" stance to the innate inferiority of non-white groups, and, politically, by white leftists no less than rightist being racist).

Thus, in that example, he has zeroed in on a single sentence in a book whose entire argument is against racism, and uses his distortion to claim that Jared Diamond is a racist. Since it's thirteen years later now, clearly no amount of argument to the contrary will serve to dislodge this notion.

Now, documenting Doug's racist arguments disseminated here and elsewhere could fill days, if not weeks. That's not how I want to spend my time, so I'll link just one other thread in illustration:


and trust that, as far as any doubts to what he thinks may exist, what he's posting currently suffices to onlookers.

For example, and because Doug called me out by name in making this argument earlier (possibly not for the first time either):

>35 Doug1943:

What I really hate is cant and hypocrisy. White liberals who pat themselves on the back about how oh-so-moral they are, and then join all the other whites in 'white flight' when Blacks start to move into their neighborhood. Or scream and shout, as they were doing in New York City a few weeks ago, when the mayor wants to break up their white-and-Asian high-performing schools by putting in some Black and Hispanic kids -- who will of course transform it, and not in a good way from the academic point of view. What hypocrites.

When I said you're tragic, Doug, I meant it seriously. Your inability to see outside your racist bubble is tragically sad--as is your inability to see what your constant return to supremacist arguments reveal about you. It's you and people like you who can't fathom black Americans as your fellows, co-citizens, compatriots, neighbours, friends and family. You are the one who bangs on about race and tribes, who finds racial and "tribal" segregation natural and good.

Since you called me out by name in making this argument, let me tell you that I not only chose to live in a city that is now majority non-white, but also a neighbourhood that is majority non-white, and into a building that is close to a lower-income co-op, about half of whose residents are black families. Far from "white-fleeing", I moved INTO a "Black" neighbourhood, Doug. I walk every day down the streets where I see more black faces than white.

Nor are the black people here majority lower-income--in fact most are Young Urban Professionals, like the corresponding Asian etc. demos. The fanciest penthouse in my repurposed-to-condo building is occupied by a black performer, the second most expensive apartment belongs to a black Franco-Canadian photographer. Most residents are non-white; many of those are black. On my floor, in my wing, there are two white-black couples, one of them immediately opposite. The guy next door is a South Asian, and the people further down are black/Asian via Trinidad.

This is my normal, Doug. This is where I chose to live and where I love to live.

I'm not an exception, neither here nor in the US. It's your sort that's getting more weirdly foreign by the year. You are stuck in hatred of the 1960s "Berserkley" in more ways than one.

Mar 27, 2:48pm Top

>35 Doug1943: "Now, they're just inert peasants"

uhhhhhh excuse me?!?! the mayan people have sustained one of the most impressive and successful anarchist revolts in modern history! they challenged the mexican state, the catholic church, and shocked the world! miss me with that racist chauvinism

Mar 27, 2:55pm Top

>35 Doug1943: "Like all sensible people, I think the Europeans and their offshoot have achieved the best the human species have done so far."



Mar 27, 6:42pm Top

Jesus, can't you read what I wrote? Yes, the Mayans were very impressive. Now their descendants are not. What changed? Not the genes.

Edited: Mar 27, 7:00pm Top

Good for you, Lola. Most whites, including most white liberals, move out when Blacks move in. They fear violent crime. And they're not wrong.
As for my attitude to Blacks -- I took part in the first sit-in to integrate segregated supermarket counters at Weingartens in Houston in 1960. I went door to door with petitions to abolish the poll tax. I was in the Progressive Youth Association, picketing Foley's Department Store because they wouldn't hire Black employees. I was in stand-ins to integrate the movie theatres in Houston and Austin. I spent the summer of 1964 in =Fayette County Tennessee registering Blacks to vote (and after being in a car chase pursued by white racists, we started carrying a rifle for protection -- so I don't have any illusions about the ultimate source of power and protection in this world. Bismarck was right.). I raised money on my campus to buy ammunition for the Deacons for Defense and Justice and delivered it in person to Charles Sims, in Bogalusa, La... I still have burned in my memory walking up to his house at night, knocking on the door, and then looking at the business end of his M1-carbine ... I was detained by the NYPD while serving a summons on a slumlord in New York as part of a rentstrike led by CORE -- he attacked me and my partner and the police detained us ... that was all when I was a young communist .. which included a spell in military prison ... years passed ... my only successfully supervised PhD student was from St Lucia -- he applied to 80 UK universities to do a PhD, was turned down by all of them -- his degree was from the U of the West Indies, which probably had something to do with it -- all of them except me ... and his PhD was earned, not an affirmative action reward, as I know for sure since there was at least one racist among the external examiners ... my best tutee a few years ago, with a mother from Kenya, went on to build a very successful business (for which I don't take any credit)_... I've just helped a fellow from Ethiopia bring his family to the UK, and when this virus stuff is over, we'll start a charity to raise money for his village back in his country, which doesn't have clean water ... so you see, I have walked the walk and have absolutely no white guilt whatsoever ... and I think people like you are just phoneys. Virtue signallers. Bullshitters. You and people like you couldn't care less about real people, of any color. You're all talk and no action. Plus being intellectually dishonest.

Edited: Mar 28, 8:06am Top

>42 Doug1943:

... "have walked the walk and have absolutely no white guilt whatsoever ... and I think people like you are just phoneys. Virtue signallers. Bullshitters. You and people like you couldn't care less about real people, of any color. You're all talk and no action. Plus being intellectually dishonest."

and that sums these people up in a nutshell. They are just that; and that, unfortunately, is what the shitty current circumstances mainly give us in interlocutors --at sites such as this one, at any rate.

These people are deeply racist and have no idea of it. They're brimming with all sorts of other bigotries and prejudices and intolerances and are equally ignorant of them. How do I know this? Simple: it's rife in their commentaries.

If I interpret your user-name correctly, it indicates that, besides being named Doug, you were born in 1943. (Ironically, then, much about the allusions to the in-many-ways-better-days mentioned in my post >16 proximity1: were times you knew more of personally and better than I ever did!)

If so, your life was right in what I might call the "sweet-spot" of the Baby-boom's post-World war II prosperity. I have no idea of course whether or notyour father, assuming as I do that he was in uniform during the war, survived that war. But if he came through it without terrible injuries, then he, like you, just born, had a good two decades ahead of what were the most prosperous times the country had ever known and has evern known since. I myself was too young to have known all of those years.

One wage-earning man could work a 40-hour week at an office, a factory, a mill, and afford a single-family home, afford, with a wife at home to care for them until school-age, two or three children. It was safe for the children to play out of doors with no adult superision from, say, the age of seven or eight at the latest. Adult strangers would actually step in and help advise, correct, instruct, admonish a child or children who were otherwise on their own on the playground or the park. And no one would find that strange or shocking.

Children and adolescents had real social lives with their peers, not on-line social lives. They saw and spoke to their friends face-to-face. The phone, of which there was typically one per household, was at home, tethered to a cord which fed from an outlet in the wall.

Many of the people here you're tying to communicate with know of these things only through the movies or by stories from elders--which they generally ignore.


I wonder: did your father come home from the war physically sound?

Mar 28, 7:21pm Top

Yes, 1943 is my birth year.
My father was born in 1905, so was too old for the military. He was a boiler-maker, and went overseas to Egypt to ... make boilers? I'm ashamed to say that I never asked my parents much about their lives before i came along. I do remember him saying that he slept on the deck of the ship, for fear of torpedoes. My mother was raised in Sweetwater, Texas, to a very poor family -- she picked cotton for fifty cents a bag, and was in a WPA project. My parents were very strong Democrats and I just absorbed their values.

I will say this: the conservatives I encountered in Houston Texas in the late 50s an early 60s were nasty people. There were no doubt decent people in the conservative ranks then, but the ones I came up against were awful.

Example: if you wrote a letter to the editor of one of our newspapers, expressing support for racial integration or some other liberal cause ... if you gave your name, and if you were in the phone book ... you would start getting threatening phone calls about every fifteen minutes, around the clock. Some group -- at the time we thought it was the Daughters of the American Revolution -- had a phone chain set up to do this.

Although i was an atheist, I started going to the Unitarian Church. My 'Sunday School' teacher, Ben Levy, was head of the ACLU in Houston, and also chairman of the Houston Socialist Forum. Someone empted the chamber of a .38 into his house, barely missing his two year old daughter who was sleeping on the couch in the living room. The liberal radio station KPFA (I think) was bombed, putting it off the air.

My parents went to an anti-war protest (this was a few years later) in Hermann Park, a sort of central park in Houston. Someone dropped wood screws into their gas tank .. hundreds of dollars damage.

The Houston Socialist Forum had panel discussion in 1964, on the elections. One of our speakers was Texas' only open Communist, come over from San Antonio -- when he began to speak, a bunch of people
in the audience suddenly stood up, unfurled a banner reading 'COMMUNISTS KILL AMERICANS IN VIETNAM" ... the police were called and actually arrested the leader. (Our forum was in the very respectable Jewish Community Center, which may have had something to do with that). When his
case came up for trial --disturbing the peace, I suppose -- his lawyer just said one sentence (which had
been made famous by Barry Goldwater): "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no crime!" Charges dismissed.

On the other hand, a few years later, when a local Black militant (and petty criminal and hustler), named
Lee Otis Johnson, whom the police hated, sold a single marijuana joint to an undercover cop ... he got
THIRTY YEARS in prison, and did four. A friend of mine who took part in some street theatre wearing fatigues and playing the part of an American soldier, was arrested and charged with 'impersonating a
member of the military' and got six months. Later overturned by the Supreme Court.

But, yes, for white working class people, the fifties and sixiies -- until their sons went off to Vietnam--
were good times, and the social structure was supportive. Even Blacks had a majority of births within
wedlock. For some, it was a Golden Age.

Now ... we see social disintegration everywhere. You have probably read Charles Murray's {Coming Apart}? Or {Hillbilly Elegy}?

I don't think the traditional Republican Party approach to social welfare issues is adequate to deal with the problem, which is why I've been trying to get fellow conservatives to read FH Buckley's {The Republican Workers Party>}. https://www.encounterbooks.com/books/republican-workers-party/

I don't think the adoption of a different approach to the social welfare issue on the part of the Republicans would transform things, but it might buy us time before the whole country comes apart.

Mar 28, 10:37pm Top

>42 Doug1943:

and I think people like you are just phoneys. Virtue signallers. Bullshitters. You and people like you couldn't care less about real people, of any color. You're all talk and no action. Plus being intellectually dishonest.

You're hilarious, Doug. But I hope not insane. Because this much ought to be clear even to you: I don't give a shit what someone like you thinks about me. Literally. I value a flyspeck more than I do the ignorant, incoherent, lying garbage you've churned out over the years. And don't worry that your altruism, philanthropy and above all the high esteem you have for those not of your race, ethnicity and religion will go unrecognised--your posts have been more than enough for people to judge YOUR intellect, honesty, and how much you care about people.

Does that Ethiopian charity cover your agitation for the next American civil war, or is that a different rubric? Praise the Lord & pass the ammunition.

>39 alexanme:, >40 alexanme:

Yes, alexanme, how did you miss Doug's deep respect and fellow-feeling for the non-European, non-white wretches, or as he likes to say, savages? He's probably just emulating Rousseau in that, plus he's actually one of the heroes of the Civil Rights movement, and if he tends to agree with racists like Charles Murray and every, why, that's just yet another mark of his intellectual honesty.

Like this:

>44 Doug1943:

Even Blacks had a majority of births within wedlock.


Edited: Mar 29, 3:19pm Top

So basically what I get out of Doug's explanations here are 'I'm not now who I use to be back in 1960. I'm a completely different person. Back then I had 'naive' values that advantaged me personally not at all and so I don't adhere to now'. Is that it? Good to know.....I guess.

Mar 29, 11:13am Top

>44 Doug1943: ..."never asked my parents much about their lives before i came along."

What a pity!

Mar 29, 11:16am Top

I think it's more that these are completely different times, and Doug is stuck in the paradigms of the sixties (his interpretation thereof, anyway).

Completely different person--probably not.

It reminds me of another character on LT who used to be a rabid Dawkinist, the worst type of the hectoring, intolerant militant atheist one could imagine. Then he got religion--and now he's a rabid, intolerant hectoring militant Catholic.

Lambs don't turn into wolves or vice versa.

Mar 29, 1:41pm Top

>41 Doug1943: i was referring to the zapatistas. the mayans are TO THIS DAY, the year 2020, conducting one of the most impressive and successful anarchist revolts in history. the zapatistas are the descendants of the mayans. are you saying that's not impressive?

i dont support genetic determinism, but please dont spout uninformed racist bullshit like "the zapatistas are just inert peasants"

Mar 29, 1:46pm Top

>45 LolaWalser: christ, i missed his murray citation, not to mention the elitist Hillbilly Elegy; truly a caricature

Mar 29, 2:38pm Top

>49 alexanme: The Zapatistas have been an inspiration to the barely visible Slovene left...Of course, it is not easy to get information about them. If you have any English language sources of recent activity I would appreciate any information you have.

Mar 29, 7:09pm Top

>51 RickHarsch: if ur interested in zapatista thought and history, u should absolutely check out the publications w contributions from Subcomandante Marcos

if ur interested in more journalistic recent news, ur best source would be to checkout ppl from CIPO-RFM online; some are on twitter, and some post to publications like anarchistnews or Its Going Down

Mar 29, 7:37pm Top

Marcos and and the Mexican crime novelist Paco Ignacio Taibo II (aka PIT II) collaborated on a book together.

Edited: Mar 29, 9:57pm Top

>52 alexanme: Thanks. I admit that after a couple years I virtually forgot about them, and then was reminded they were still around some years ago...I just checked anarchist news and found this: from March 25. 'ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST' A TRUE-LIFE POKE AT AUTHORITY, which is the main subject/theme of the novel I am working on now, entitled as diversion The Assassination of Olof Palme, a People's Novel. It's a people's novel because it is literally so, an anthological novel, with I expect far more than the original 50 contributors to what is essentially my novel. The cover as designed has the death photo of Giuseppe Pinelli on it in two forms, Pinelli being that particular fallen anarchist.
So thank you for a new news site for me.

I just made my profile photo that book cover.

Edited: Mar 30, 12:14am Top

While thinking of old left wing groups who are still active, might be worth mentioning the Communist party of Sudan. They are small but generally respected as part of the progressive opposition to Islamism. They were heavily persecuted during the 30-year rule of Islamist military dictator Omar Hassan al Bashir, and they played a part in the intifada (popular uprising) which overthrew him last year without using violence.

Mar 30, 12:55pm Top

>55 johnthefireman: woah, thanks for the rec/tip ! didnt kno abt those ppl !

>54 RickHarsch: omg, that sounds like an exciting project! is it mostly slovenian contributors or ? what language(s) is it being written in?

Mar 30, 1:30pm Top

>56 alexanme: It's in English, but there is some Italian (Ballad of Pinelli: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlL2u8nv4tY )
A Dutch newspaper article with translation...
The contributions are mostly mixed in so a reader would not always know what I wrote. For instance, I asked a friend to tell me something about the famous torturer Dan Mitrione. He wrote about a page and it came off like a report so I just put it directly in.
Characters include Nancy Reagan, Oliver North, C. Wright Mills, several Italian fascists, Pinelli himself, Olof Palme will have a small role, as will Werner Heisenberg. Klaus Barbie has a scene.
If you're interested in being one of the contributors, my email is rick.harsch@gmail.com. Something can work for just about anyone; for instance, the guy who made my son's guitar is in there, contributing a joke about Tito.
I don't think anything quite like this has ever been done. Authors have collaborated by donating chapters, but nothing on this scale or a true inclusive anthology.

Mar 30, 2:04pm Top

Yes. The egotism of youth. I could have learned a lot from them, because they lived a lot of their lives before the USA become Number One and entered the Golden Age.

One thing that I recall: as a good lefty, i of course was indignant when I learned of the internment of Japanese Americans. (And I still am. Look at the history of the Japanese-American 442nd Infantry Regiment, the most decorated unit in American military history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/442nd_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States) They would have had every right to say 'screw you' to the country that had interned them and their relatives, but.... they did the smart thing.

But ... my father, who had had lots of contact with Japanese Americans on the West Coast, had a different view: he said, every Japanese home he went into, had a picture of a relative in the Japanese military. So he thought their loyalty was questionable. As did Roosevelt and I suppose most other liberals at the time.

My first introduction to the real world, and how it doesn't always conform to theory and ideals.

Mar 30, 2:11pm Top

Yes, that's sort of true.

I have the same ideals I had sixty years ago.

What has changed is this:

(1) I have more experience of the world now. When I was young, I was pretty naive.

(2) I know from the inside how seductive a powerful ideology is, and genuine Marxism is certainly that. It actually explains a lot. In fact, I still retain a lot of Marx's approach to the world. Like him, I think the advance of capitalism is a good thing, and I'm glad to see the backward countries of the Third World being pulled into the world market and modernity. It's sad that, as Engels noted, history drags her chariot forward over mountains of human corpses, but there you are.

So long as you run some ideological filters, and don't let evidence that contradicts your world view get too far into your consciousness, you can go for years and years believing something that is actually wrong. So I have resisted embracing any totalizing ideology on the Right. I try -- maybe not without total success -- to always apply Karl Popper's criterion: for anything you believe, what evidence would change your mind? If you cannot even conceive of such evidence, then you have a religious belief which is worthless.

Mar 30, 2:14pm Top

I have the greatest respect for CPers in those circumstances. I recall the Iraqi Communist Party staging a march in Baghdad against the rising tide of sectarian murder. They live and work under circumstances we cannot imagine.

Mar 30, 2:26pm Top

>58 Doug1943: Are you talking to someone here?

It sounds to me like what you learned that made your life more complex was that your father was a bit thick--rather what you should have learned. Certainly you pops had insufficient sociological knowledge, and his understanding of the constitutional pretense of the United States and the history of the use of Japanese for labor seems lacking. My own experience with that event is limited to being a friend of someone whose mother was in a camp, in fact many of whose relatives were; through him I've learned a bit about their experience. It isn't complicated. They were innocent people kept in camps. Like Jews were, only they were not intentionally exterminated.

The lesson I take from this is also simple: if you can't think past the prejudices and mistaken notions of your parents, you can't grow up intellectually. Such misplaced loyalty infantilizes you.

Edited: Mar 30, 3:09pm Top

People interested in the Zapatistas -- or any other subject that Marxists might cover -- need to subscribe to this list-serve:

There are several posts about Mexico, and the Zapatistas.

It has lots of debates among ostensible Marxists, often at a high level. For instance, the pro- and anti-Syrian government factions of the Left can be seen trading blows here.

It's maintained by Louis Proyect, a high-quality Marxist who blogs as 'The Unrepentant Marxist', here:

He's an accomplished film critic, as well. He's not associated with any group, although his origins are in Trotskyism (as is the case with almost all the best Marxists and ex-Marxists).

I assume Lefties here are familar with Counterpunch -- https://www.counterpunch.org/ and with
Jacobin Magazine https://jacobinmag.com/

And for the Marxist classics, go to Marxists.org -- almost all the classical Marxist writings are out of copyright and you can download them for free: I highly recommend Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution, which, along with A. Neuberg's Armed Insurrection, I have been recommending to my fellow right-wingers in the militia movement. (The latter has mainly negative lessons, the former, a positive one.) (Che, Giap, Mao, Marighella -- interesting but not really relevant to the coming American situation.)

And for anyone who is really interested in the Third World --besides just posturing to show how very very
virtuous you are -- I recommend Bill Warren's Imperialism -- Pioneer of Capitalism. (You'll have to buy it on Amazon.) He tragically died early, but this member of the now-defunct British and Irish Communist Organisation was an original thinker.

And to cheer yourselves up ... another book, this one by an Australian Marxist: David McMullen's Bright Future.

Edited: Mar 30, 3:15pm Top

Neither of my parents graduated from high school. But they were not at all stupid people. My father was around, but did not apparently join, some leftwingers after WWII -- a friend of his was the Houston organizer for the Progressive Party -- maybe a clandestine CP member. I think he later became a prominent Zionist. My Dad always hated rich people and Republicans. He read a lot -- but was pretty much self-educated.

My mom joined some sort of national liberal organization, whose name I forget, and remained a supporter of it all her life.

They were very good people, both of them.

And thank you for reminding me how much I despise modern middle class snotty Leftists.

Mar 30, 6:08pm Top

>Doug1943: Everyone is a posturer to you, so why discuss any of this shit.
But I am glad you like your parents. I like mine. But I grew my own brain and figured out some things they were very wrong about.
I share your disdain for snotty people.

Mar 30, 6:27pm Top

>62 Doug1943:

And for anyone who is really interested in the Third World --besides just posturing to show how very very
virtuous you are

Does it ever cross your mind that your public brayings may be (and are, to my own firm knoweldge) witnessed by people actually hailing from "the Third World", or people who have firsthand experience living in it, or people (all these groups may and do intersect as well) who have family, friends, close relations, with "the Third World"?

Does it ever cross your mind, when you are dumping on "Blacks" and other variety of "savages", that the invisible public here does not consist of old white men like yourself, but does in fact include "Blacks", and other groups of not-white, and/or not-European, not-American etc. people?

Do you condescend, patronize, and generally racially abuse people knowing that members of your target groups are actually present, or does it never cross your mind that they may be? I mean, do you have any inkling, any reflex whatsoever that might show, even weakly, that you see those not of your race/ethnicity as your equals?

YOU are a poseur, Doug, and nothing but. All you've done for the last 13 years is parade your one-man-show "I Was A Lefty But I Grew A Brain" or however you bill it to yourself.

Well, no one gives a damn about your delusions, youthful and ongoing. What a pathetic way to waste fifty years.

my fellow right-wingers in the militia movement

Lovely company you keep. What's the plan--first we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin? Do tell us what y'all are brewing.

Edited: Mar 31, 12:17pm Top

>63 Doug1943:

My father, like yours was at the time of your birth, was aged 38 when I was born. He was, of course, years younger than your father was. And I wasn't the last of the children.

My father left (what was at first civilian) flight school in in the summer of 1941; either before or just after Pearl Harbor, he was asked to take on full-time duty as a flight instructor himself--which he did--and then joined the USAAF, went through a basic training--though he was already a pilot-- and got a commission as a 2nd Lt. in the Army Air Corps. He had a younger brother (sole sibbling) born in 1925 who was drafted at 19 and became a Private in the 36th Armored Infantry Reg. He was dispatched as a replacement soldier from a staging post in Britain. In early January 1945, just two weeks after his 20th birthday, he was killed in action in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. By then, my father had left flight instruction and was flying Dakotas in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alaska in support of the construction of the Al-Can Highway. Much of the time he used a dirt landing strip that was just cut out of the dense forests all around. Great wildlife, great fishing--when there was time--in rivers and lakes all over the place.

Neither of my parents were anything like the Leftists which yours were. But my father dispised Nixon since forever and he never had any admiration for Senator Joseph McCarthy. He greatly admired FDR, Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson and Gen. George C. Marshall--not that he ever met any of these men personally, of course.

His father was in business with a partner in the office-supply business. When the NY stock market crashed in 1929, my grandfather's business partner took the little company's cash and fled, leaving my grandfather with the failed business and debts to pay off--which he worked years to do. The two boys (my father 11, his little brother, 4) were more than my grandparents could manage to afford to keep so my father was sent to live with an aunt who was financially better off in Birmingham, Alabama.

A lot of Americans between the ages of 30 and 40 today have been fabulously lucky and quite frankly some of them are spoiled rotten. For many of these, this epidemic is the first time they've encountered real, widespread, hardship and are faced with making choices where none of the alternatives are appealing.

If the most urgent things one could think of was which pronoun others used to address one, or whether or not the women in the big corporation boardroom were all getting exactly the same as all of their male counterparts then, in my view, this worldwide epidemic is just the thing to prompt some much needed "perspective" on what's really quite damned important and what frankly doesn't amount to all that much in comparison.

(Photo cut-line: Pushing the boat out ... David Geffen’s $590m superyacht, Rising Sun. Photograph: Action Press/Rex/Shutterstock)

(The Guardian (London) ) : The Corona Virus has exposed the ugly truth about celebrity culture and capitalism | Arwa Mahdawi | Tuesday, 31 March 2020 12.37 BST

Would you spare a thought for all the poor, suffering celebrities out there? While this is a difficult time for everyone, it has been particularly tough on the famous. They have been upstaged by a virus. No one cares what they are wearing or who they are snogging any more; the world’s attention has been diverted by a headline-hogging pandemic. It seems as if some celebrities are starting to grapple with the realisation that they are not quite as important or beloved as they thought they were.

Gal Gadot was the first victim of the great celebrity backlash of 2020. “We’re all in this together,” the Wonder Woman star assured us in a video on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, before launching into a star-studded rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine. Can you imagine how little self-awareness you must have to enlist a bunch of multimillionaires to sing about a world with “no possessions” while huge numbers of people are losing their jobs? The tone-deaf performance was swiftly savaged.

One would have thought the glitterati might have learned from the scathing reaction to Gadot’s singalong. But no, the vapid messages of hope from celebs keep coming – as do the disgusted responses from the public. Madonna, for reasons only she knows, decided to preach to us from a bathtub full of rose petals. Covid-19 “doesn’t care about how rich you are” she informed us. “It’s the great equaliser.” It certainly brought people together in disdain for her out-of-touch antics.

Then there is the billionaire David Geffen, who deleted Instagram after the incensed reaction to him posting pictures of his $590m (£480m) superyacht, on which he is self-isolating, with the caption “hope everyone is staying safe”. Faring slightly better on the social media front is Ivanka Trump, who has not yet sequestered herself on a superyacht. Instead she is selflessly educating the great unwashed by posting a video of her kids cleaning their hands with $39 Aesop soap. A real woman of the people.

Now it seems that Pharrell Williams has become the latest celebrity who is stuck inside but can’t read the room. Last week, the musician called on his Twitter followers to donate to hospitals. A representative reply: “You’re worth over $150 million, donate your own money.” Williams later clarified that he had already donated; nevertheless, it feels as if an awful lot of celebrities are more keen on soliciting money from us plebs than reaching into their own purses. The chef and TV star Bobby Flay, for example, who is said to be worth about $30 million, set up a GoFundMe campaign to help him pay his restaurant employees. That is capitalism for you: eventually you have to rely on other people’s money.

Celebrities being clueless is nothing new, but it feels as if there has never been such anger levelled at the jet set. Far from being a “great equaliser”, coronavirus has made inequality impossible to ignore. That is not just wealth inequality, but inequality of access to healthcare. A new famous person seems to test positive for coronavirus every day while exhibiting mild symptoms at best. Meanwhile, our friends and family can be coughing up their lungs and still not get access to a test or a hospital bed.

Celebrity culture and capitalism are inextricably entwined. Both elevate the individual over the collective good. They rely on the lie of “meritocracy”: work hard and you can achieve whatever you want. But it has become uncomfortably clear how little we value our hardest workers – the healthcare professionals, supermarket staff, bus drivers and delivery drivers who are keeping the world running while the rich run to their second homes. And it has never been so clear how little the people who earn the most contribute to society. “We’re all in this together,” the rich and famous keep telling us. Sorry, but it is obvious that we are not.


Edited: Mar 31, 12:19pm Top

>66 proximity1:

When I got to the penultimate paragraph I found I was agreeing with you, a rare occurrence. Then the final paragraph spoiled it. Equality and respect for other human beings are important even in the midst of hardships. It's not either/or.

Edited to add: Oh, you've just edited it and added a huge block of text, so it's no longer the penultimate and final paragraphs. The ones beginning, "A lot of Americans between the ages of 30 and 40 today have been fabulously lucky..." and "If the most urgent things one could think of..."

Mar 31, 1:12pm Top

>67 johnthefireman:

I don't read poxy posts so this is not directly a comment on your exchange with him, whatever that's about.

But what you say about equality and respect (Equality and respect for other human beings are important even in the midst of hardships. It's not either/or.) reminds me to emphasize that what I'm reproaching Doug with isn't a mere lack of respect in the sense of "good manners" or some such, but a lack of empathy in his vision, something that goes so deep it may look like (and actually be) a lack of factual information about the world.

In other words, Doug posts consistently not only as if he assumed that the only people present are those like him, in terms of racial and ethnic characteristics, but also as if anyone "like him" in these terms, needs must exist in the same bubble. (So such a trivial thing as having black neighbours is missed for the trivially ubiquitous occurrence it is wherever people of diverse backgrounds exist and instead becomes an impossibility in the name of conservative assumptions about "white flight" and the liberals' hypocrisy.)

Furthermore to the same point, he posts consistently from a patronizing racist standpoint where he, with the traditions he values (Europe, the US, conservatism etc.) is self-understandably the teacher, the educator and the benefactor to the benighted low-IQ savages. It's all de haut en bas, and as if there were no equality and reciprocity essentially possible, not just that none exist.

It's a ludicrously narrow, skewed and distorting worldview that even a 19th-century colonialist like "White Man's Burden" Kipling had misgivings about.

Some well-meaning Ethiopian ought to help Doug to Africa before it's too late.

Edited: Mar 31, 1:48pm Top

The last stage of human evolution is the realization that human existence is not a serious matter. I.e., life is about beer - or its equivalent.

Most people never achieve this end-point realization.

To those few who have reached this stage all "serious" ideological argument is ultimately boring.

E.g., for me this thread is a super-sleeping pill.


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