In Defense of Being a Political Cynic

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

WilliamdriverflagI’m an easy mark for those who want to approach me emotionally. My own life, with the normal tragedies of living seven decades has let me be attuned to others pain and to view that pain with an empathy born of my own suffering. Working out my own problems via years of therapy in my twenties and thirties, allowed me to finally let myself cry at the early death of my parent’s years before. I had put a “bottleneck” on tears since a teenager, choking sad emotions by constricting my throat and being in intellectual denial of the mourning I felt at their loss. This is not to say that I had no emotional outlets in my years prior to therapy, but they were limited to events far outside the ken of my life. Thus I could identify with wronged characters in movies and could cry at the death of Marin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. In my personal life though, I acted out the role ascribed to me in my High School Yearbook “Mike thinks that life is just a snap of his fingers”. Therapy changed that and allowed me to let myself be aware of and be guided by my emotions.

Emotionally, I am as patriotic an American as you might find. I love this country and I love the fact that I’m a citizen of it. My tears well up at the playing of our National Anthem. The Constitution is a sacred document to me and the aspirations of our “Founding Fathers” seem noble and just. In sports I often find myself moved to tears when athletes or teams overcome adversity and triumph. My family knows this emotional side of me since I cry at movies like “The Little Mermaid”.  In personal relationships I am also ruled by emotion. People who treat me with kindness are not only repaid in kind, but I find myself rooting for their happiness and sad at their sadness. It is therefore quite easy to become someone I consider to be a friend and difficult for me to note imperfections in the friendships I’ve made. However, that is on an emotional level and as all humans, I am far more than just my emotions.  Intellect and experience play important roles in shaping who we are. On a personal level I have experienced betrayal by “friends” and lovers. In my career I’ve experienced betrayal by those I thought of as friends and co-workers. However, I think those “let downs” are merely a normal part of the human experience. We humans learn and grow from our social interactions, allowing them to inform our interactions with each other.

We humans co-exist though in a larger context than mere personal interactions and that is a society known as “country”. Through the norms and mores of that society we find that our emotions are stimulated by the commonality of our existence as part of a whole. We rely on that society to protect us from predators and from those from other society’s that would do us harm. We unite emotionally in times of crisis and we feel warmth and comfort from being part of the whole. The most emotionally jarring event of the past five decades was the attack on 9/11 that galvanized this country almost as one entity. We commemorated the twelfth anniversary of this overwhelmingly sad event this past week. I need not describe the effect of this event on all of us, since I know that we all have sharp personal memories of that day and the days of anger, fear and confusion that followed. The reactions politically that followed 9/11 has personally scarred those who lived through it and have done great harm to our country. People from all sides of the political spectrum feel betrayed by the events that followed 9/11. Some feel betrayed because the majority of the country no longer supports the military interventions that ensued. Others feel betrayed because there is clear evidence that our government “lied” us into a costly war against a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack. We have become then a nation of cynics when it comes to our government and I will explore why this can be either good or bad for the future of our country.When President Obama spoke this week about intervention in Syria: (transcript below) http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/running-transcript-president-obamas-sept-10-speech-on-syria/2013/09/10/a8826aa6-1a2e-11e3-8685-5021e0c41964_story.html  I felt myself sneering as the cleverly written propaganda came forth from his lips with the sound of great sincerity. Could he really believe this crap I thought? Is it just foistering of political propaganda used for him to save face in light of the overwhelming evidence that the people of this country don’t support his “targeted air strike” as a panacea for the use of gas in the Syrian Civil War? Does it really matter? As he explained that we Americans are war weary from more than a decade of fighting wars. These wars in the end were colossal failures and more importantly seem to have been fought for no real reason save for the enrichment of the Corporate Military Industrial Complex (CMIC) and most specifically the multinational oil industry. The President, even if obliquely, acknowledged the futility of this century’s military interventions and the cost borne by this nation’s troops and people:

“I believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress. And I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.

This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the President, and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.

Now, I know that after the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of any military action, no matter how limited, is not going to be popular. After all, I’ve spent four and a half years working to end wars, not to start them. Our troops are out of Iraq. Our troops are coming home from Afghanistan. And I know Americans want all of us in Washington

— especially me — to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home: putting people back to work, educating our kids, growing our middle class.”

To me there most glaring inconsistency in the President’s speech was that while making the case for intervention to stop the use of Sarin Gas, promising that no U.S. Troops would be used on the ground, describing Assad’s government as implacable, our President nevertheless contended that one “targeted air strike” would somehow make things better. The entire proposition seems nonsensical to me and I therefore distrust its sincerity, or as a fallback, the sanity of those who would pursue it.

As Professor Turley described in a blog this week 75% of the deaths in Afghanistan occurred after Obama became President: http://jonathanturley.org/2013/09/12/study-almost-75-percent-of-all-afghanistan-deaths-occurred-under-obama/ . This was of course the man who the country elected in 2008 to end the two wars. While it appears that the Iraq War has ended since most American Forces have been removed, we note that in August the Iraqi government began to plead for additional U.S. help since there has been an upsurge in violence and civilian strife. http://news.yahoo.com/iraq-seeks-help-us-amid-growing-violence-221052797.html . So perhaps the President’s claim is premature. As of January 31, 2012. 4,487 US Soldiers were Killed in Iraq and 32,223 were Seriously Wounded. This does not encompass the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi’s who died in that war.

The rationale for the Iraq War was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that he had been somehow involved in the 9/11 attack. Both of those premises have proven to be untrue. We have spent about a Trillion Dollars on Iraq as shown by the following which gives a breakdown of the human/financial costs of that war. http://usliberals.about.com/od/homelandsecurit1/a/IraqNumbers.htm Is it any wonder then that the majority of the country distrusts our government and is suspicious of any suggestion that there is yet another country where we MUST intervene? Our attack on Afghanistan was not only premised on the belief that the 9/11 attack was executed by Al Qaeda leaders within the country, but was also meant to destroy the power of the Afghani allies the Taliban. We see though that the Taliban still has great power in Afghanistan and that our “greatest 9/11 enemy” Osama Bin Laden was living in Pakistan all along. The truth is that the U.S. originally armed Al Qaeda and the Taliban to fight against the USSR in the 1980’s, as that “great power” was driven from the country, as have been all Afghanistan’s invaders from time immemorial. Both these wars have been unnecessary debacles executed by the manipulation of American emotions stemming from 9/11.

How much a debacle those wars were was highlighted by two actions (admissions) by George W. Bush who bears the responsibility for them and consequently for the horrors that ensued. The first was his skit at The National Press Club where he pretended to look for “weapons of mass destruction” in a mocking manner. He was mocking those of us who believed the lies of his administration that caused us to attack Iraq. The second action was when he was asked if the U.S. knew where Osama Bin Laden was hiding. His response was that Osama Bin Laden was no longer important to him. If this was so then why the hell did we attack Afghanistan under the pretense that we were seeking revenge against Osama Bin Laden? Despite the beliefs of those who would rule us the entire country is not at all stupid and in the light of Bush’s actions should we wonder why people are so turned off to government and so cynical about it?

The germ of this piece has been gestating for years in my mind, but it came to the foreground this week in a reprise article from Russ Baker’s http://whowhatwhy.com investigative website. The article was from 2011 and investigated the probable involvement of powers within Saudi Arabia in funding and supporting the 9/11 attack. http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/09/11/classic-why-suppressed-saudi-911-story/  The background it supplies and the premise of Saudi involvement seems credible to me and fits in with the close ties of George W. Bush and his family to the powers that be in Saudi Arabia. Our current concern with Syria mirrors the Saudi’s constant efforts to attain hegemony in the Muslim world, where they are competing with Iran. Entwined in this is of course Oil, which has been for more than a Century the greatest motivating factor in international relations.

What all of this endless warfare has done has been to unite the majority of the American people, myself included, in a cynical view of our government and its entire doings. How can we trust government if it lies us into wars and wastes trillions of dollars? This cynicism leaks over into all areas of government endeavor. It unites those on both the left and the right of the political spectrum and it could lead to the ultimate destruction of our Constitution and even our country as we know it. Yet how can we argue against this cynicism? The truth is that in the experience of my lifetime government can’t be trusted. With this concept I find myself in unison with the “Tea Party” and simultaneously with “Progressives” in distrusting just about everything government does. Most of the many guest blogs I’ve written here through the years reveal this cynicism in one form or the other. Just type “Mike Spindell” into the search function above and you will see blog after blog expressing my cynicism and distrust of what is occurring in this country that I dearly love. While I am united with many on both the Right and the Left in distrusting the government and politics in general, my analysis of the problem of government is not as uniform.

The corruption of our political system and the failure of government to do its job is not the result in the inherent flaw of any government as the Libertarians and Tea Party suspect. Government doesn’t work because it is corrupted by those seeking power and wealth. Our Constitution is ignored by those who would manipulate the rest of us for their own personal gains. The “Isms” we are presented with as solutions to the vastness of human misery are merely the tools to distract us from the real “game of thrones” being played with us as pawns. My cynicism is well-deserved, as is yours the reader because our shared experiences have proven it to be correct.

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” As Cassius laments in “Julius Caesar” this is the state of humans and humanity. It is the constant struggle for dominance engaged in by a few that disrupts and distracts government from its role as the manifestation of the ideals of our society. Whenever those who would see a different world try to change it, they must recognize that it is human flaws, rather than political systems, that distract the care and protection of the populace. Humanity, born of mutual cooperation in our pre-history, still also bears within it the residue of our predatory past. Therefore, even as we of good will who would seek to turn this world into the Utopia that is within humanity’s powers; we must use the cynicism of our intellect to distrust those who would offer simplistic solutions appealing to our emotions to get us to do their bidding. I remain a political cynic and often despair at the doings of the world around me. Yet I will not and the collective we should not, let ourselves give into that despair. In that direction lays the darkness of all the horrors of human history. We must fight on to remake ourselves and humanity into caring and compassionate beings, interacting with each other in harmony. Yet to continue that fight we must recognize the propaganda and mythology that leads us astray. We must view all calls for action through a cynical, skeptical eye, while maintaining our idealistic hope for a better future. It is a hard task, yet for those of us who were not to the manor born it is essential, or else we will continue to be pawns in the hands of the powerful that would destroy us and those we love without conscience or constraint.

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger.

149 thoughts on “In Defense of Being a Political Cynic

  1. Being cynical with regard to the current US politicians is a good default position to take all things considered. they have been very successful in fostering this level of distrust and they have certainly earned it.

    It seems the US has gotten itself into a lot of trouble by the “get out / hand him over” demand that the US has made against other nations’ leaders.

    I suppose one of the things that should have been a sign of things to come was when I was in the police academy there were a couple of guys in my class from a PD in Western WA who were serving in a military police capacity formerly when the Panama Invasion took place to get Manuel Noriega. One of them told me of an incident when they were hunting down the president and they started taking sniper fire from a five or so story building. OK, I am all for protecting the troops and all don’t get me wrong but to counter the sniper threat they called in for support and an AC 130 (a transport aircraft having a slew of weaponry pointing out the left side of the plane) came along and fired essentially artillery rounds at the building and the whole thing collapsed. I was glad my classmate made it out of there, but I had to ask him “This was all to arrest a guy on drug shipping and money laundering charges, eh?” I remember thinking about that and laughing to myself when the classes we took, the instructors were emphasizing the need for proper criminal procedure and lawful use of force.

    Then we made a similar ultimatum to Afghanistan. Hand over Bin Laden, or else you are fuxored. Then again to Saddam Hussein: Get out now or we will invade. Then hundreds of thousands of deaths later, Noriega finished his prison term and was handed off to France, Saddam was hanged, and bin Laden was aired out and dumped in the sea.

    I guess I must have missed something in college or the academy. Normally when I went to serve an arrest warrant at someone’s house I usually put them in cuffs and booked them. I didn’t realize that one could blow up the entire neighborhood legal like and in the end of the day, the guy went to jail just the same.

    Strange days indeed.

  2. It seems that Obama has successfully (and luckily) gotten out of the cul de sac that his ill considered earlier “red line” warning had created for us. God bless him for his ability to put the welfare of the country above his personal credibility, and to be able to walk us back from the brink of yet another unnecessary war. We have no business involving ourselves in a 1300 year old religious blood feud between the Sunnis and the Shiites. Mike, your closing paragraph is one of the best I have read on this subject.

  3. Great piece, Mike. I endorse wholeheartedly every word you wrote and every emotion you share. This was expressed last presidential elections where I voted for Jill Stein, not because I believed in her presidential qualities, but more as a direct and hopefully assertive vote against Obama and the system that brought him along, and which he is propping up.

  4. The lying of government is nothing new. There seems to be always something. The Tuskegee experience, and the Guatemala syphilis experiments are two examples. The Iraq war and the lies leading to that have great impact on the generations living through it. So maybe for a couple of decades things will calm down a bit. Then a new generation emerges, and a new chapter (lie) opens with something else and the cycle contnues.

  5. Couldn’t have said it better, Mike.

    The only thing I’d add is that if one is not a little (to a lot) cynical at this point, then one hasn’t been paying attention.

    Now stop reading my mind. :P

  6. Many things are a matter of perspective. One really has to have an understanding of several sides of an issue to appreciate any or all of them.

    A few years ago I ran across a German remake of the Ballad of the Green Berets by a woman named Heidi Brühl. It is very moving, and knowing both songs really drives home her lyrics. Some might draw offense to it, but that is not my intention. It is really about gaining a perspective of West Germany and some of their views back then, from what I can gather.

    Maybe it might offer at least some of the zeitgeist of today in the US.

    Here is a video of it with English translation. Enjoy.

  7. Thanks, Mike.
    In the Academy I learned to be skeptic.
    In the US I learned not be a stupid votary.

    There is a discrete charm to cynicism, which I enjoy from time to time, when I’m not watching the News, spittin’ bullets….

  8. it’s not just the lying, it’s the lack of accountability that bothers me. lie your way into a war, collapse the economy to enrich your friends, torture your enemies, or shoot someone in the face. no problem.

    but they’ll spend millions of dollars to catch you rolling through a stoplight.

    excellent post Mike, as always. only i would like to add that the number of veteran suicides per year are more than were lost in combat, but no one declares a war on that.

  9. Mike,

    While I understand the causes and the reasoning behind your cynicism, personally I cannot share it. Yes, we should be vigilant and skeptical about what our government tells us (especially if the statements are self-serving in one way or another), but I believe that pragmatism is a better guiding principle. I generally accept people’s stated motives at face value since I think very few people are villains in their own minds and I think that actions are the only significant measure on which to judge a politician in any case.

    My ex-wife, a former purchasing manager for GM and later GE, gave me some advice when I talked to her about trying to start a business. She told me that the most useful thing she had learned in business school was game theory. Most situations in business can be thought of as some variant of a prisoner’s dilemma and I believe it is a good context in which to politics as well.

    I choose to support President Obama on Syria (and in general), because I believe that the benefits of doing so far outweigh the benefits of opposing him. There are dozens of reasons why I feel that is the case, but they mostly boil down to my belief that President Obama will do more good the more support he has and that he is more likely to listen to his supporters telling him he is wrong than he would be to listen to his opponents telling him he is wrong (as are we all).

    I believe that President Obama is a good man who honestly tries to do the right thing*, but I understand that he has the most distorted view of anyone on the planet and that he is limited in what he can do by the current political situation (certainly more so than any president in my lifetime).

    * As, in my opinion, was President Bush—unfortunately his lack of understanding and trust of the wrong people caused his intentions, however noble they were, to lead to extremely bad ends. It’s hard to imagine how Mr. Bush could have done a worse job leading the country after 9/11.

    It seems to me that, over your lifetime at least, history shows that the Republicans will take gaming some aspect of the system to an extreme and the Democrats, once they are in the position to do so, will exercise the same power. As an example, if you look at the use of the filibuster from LBJ’s time to Harry Reid’s, you will see that while the number of cloture motions doesn’t tend to decrease when the Democrats are in the minority, it only increases significantly when the Republicans are in the minority.

    While their role as enablers doesn’t speak well of the Democrats, holding the line is a far better alternative right now than the wholesale retreat of our civil liberties which seems to happen under Republicans—at least until we can find or create a viable third option.

    Well, I’m not sure whether this ramble is in any way coherent, but I hope you can at least understand why I choose pragmatism over cynicism.

  10. I pledge allegiance to the Flag.. And the United States Constitution, for which it stands. One Nation.. Indivisible, Secure in our Rights, and our Privacy. With thoughts of Liberty, Justice, and Freedom from oppression to all.

  11. Excellent post. I have a simple question for those that support Mr O on Syria. Why do we bomb the man that kills kids with poison gas but give the nobel peace prize to the man that kills kids with drones?

    Sorry, Mr. O is not a good man. he is a war criminal just like his predecessor GWB.

  12. Choir Here, :o) well thought and heartfully written post, ….Again thanks.

    To paraphrase Thoreau, “Does the person own the property or does the property own the person”

    …. Do the “Lords of the Manor” become the ultimate subject to the manor? Does the will and conscience of the Lord, or the Manor, guide the Ethics of wealth and property?

  13. It may be that we in this choir are realists.

    This following graphic depicts the “highest paid public employee” on a state by state basis, showing that sports coaches, primarily football coaches, make up ~80% of those states.

  14. Paul, I would not rate Obama as “just like” GWB, but I am not pleased with his performance on foreign policy, surveillance, and continuing the war. He has done better on domestic issues despite deliberate obstructionism in Congress. We don’t need to go back to the isolationism that prevailed before both world wars of the last century, but we cannot–and should not–be the world’s policeman.

    In one survey of what people thought about Congress, their approval rating was 7%. Kudzu had an approval rating of 11% in the same survey; ergo, Congress is less popular than Kudzu. At least Obama has a higher approval rating than both Kudzu and Congress.

  15. A rant on the failures of our government w/o a mention of our duopoly shows a fundamental lack of understanding the problem.

  16. Slart,

    You write: “I believe that President Obama is a good man who honestly tries to do the right thing”.

    What is good and right about killer Tuesdays which has resulted in the targeted killing of a 16 year old boy? What is good and right about torturing people around the world and in Gitmo.

    I believe this is an example of the pathological way many people view “leaders”. If your next door neighbor killed a 16 year old boy in cold blood, then bragged about, you would not think s/he was a good person, trying to do the right thing. If your neighbor tortured people like the guy in Cleveland did, why not say Castro is basically a good person who honestly tries to do the right thing.

    One way out of propaganda is to look at “leaders” in the same way we look at our neighbors. Things will become clear very quickly.

  17. nick,

    Being that Mike addressed failures from both major parties, it is fair to say the malfunction of the two party system is implicit. Not everyone has inference problems.

  18. Slarti,

    Sorry, buddy. Going to disagree on the whole “Obama is a good man” issue. He hurt his standing in that regard when he didn’t prosecute the war criminals of the previous administration and/or the Wall Street Thieves and he killed that notion completely when he joined Bush Co. in their treasons by declaring that the POTUS has the ultra vires power to execute American citizens without due process.

    That’s so damn unconstitutional it still makes my head spin just thinking about it.

  19. Slartibartfast 1, September 14, 2013 at 4:01 am

    I believe that pragmatism … I generally accept people’s stated motives at face value … the most useful thing … game theory … I choose to support President Obama on Syria (and in general), because I believeI feel that is the case, but … mostly … my beliefI believe that President Obama is a good man … I choose pragmatism over cynicism.
    ===================================
    Yes, that is easy to see.

    It is a belief and feeling you use to choose following Obama to Syria.

    To the contrary, most of the country is into knowing what they are seeing.

  20. Jill 1, September 14, 2013 at 9:31 am

    One way out of propaganda is to look at “leaders” in the same way we look at our neighbors. Things will become clear very quickly.
    ==============================
    Well said.

  21. The two parties will prevail into 2016. The action will be in the republican primaries. The government slashing white supremacist friendly Cruz – Paul faction will take on the more moderate Bush – Christie wing. If Hillary runs, the question remains whether or not she will be challenged by a more progressive democrat. Yesterday, people were talking about Bill de Blasio. Howard Dean has been mentioned. These days I don’t think of Obama as being a good man nor do I think of him in the same vein as I do the leader of North Korea. I have actually seen him compared to kim jon il on the Turley blog. I am neutral because of his favorable positions on healthcare, gay marriage, women’s rights, voting rights,etc . but at the same time I really don’t like the NSA spying so I give him very negative marks on that.

  22. The issue for me is related to the sheer size of our system, it is orders of magnitude greater in both population and complexity than the system as it was founded and conceived.

    As much as people want to think that true sociopaths and psychopaths (which I will just call sociopaths here) are only denizens of the fictional world or third world countries, we live beside them without knowing it, as the vast majority of neighbors of rapists and serial killers let slip every time one of the dumber sociopaths slips up and gets caught.

    That lack of empathy, and willingness to harm or defraud to get their own way, is mostly independent from “high intelligence.” There is about a 1% chance of possessing each trait (“intelligence” being defined as in the top 1% of reasoning ability), thus about 1 in 10,000 people possess both; they are in the bottom 1% of humanity as far as empathy or care for anyone other than themselves, and simultaneously in the top 1% as far as their ability to solve problems, strategize, correctly anticipate outcomes and take action without getting caught or found out.

    That would explain, certainly, why most people do not personally know (or think they know) a person in this elite category. Not only are they rare, but their ability to deflect suspicion, provide themselves alibis and generally evade detection makes them seem more rare than they actually are.

    The reason the size and complexity of the system is in play is that small systems of low complexity (like a farming village) are more transparent.

    But a Congressman currently represents about 450,000 adults, from whom they are chosen. That includes about 45 highly intelligent sociopaths, willing to do anything. Now a lot of them may be in business or crime, but politics is a venue practically perfect for a sociopath; a willingness to do anything to win is an asset, the job comes with power and a complete lack of any real job requirements and (practically speaking) near immunity to the law. To top it off, the corruption opportunities in the form of campaign funding are staggering, and worth millions. A smart sociopath politician can be paid off and live like royalty without getting caught. Some of that is due to the complexity of our system and the lack of transparency such complexity engenders.

    The reason size matters is statistical; the more people ONE politician represents, the greater the chance that politician is a sociopath. For example, if a politician is chosen from 10,000 people, we expect (on average) one person in that population to be a highly intelligent sociopath. But many opportunities exist for sociopaths to find something more lucrative to do than become a small time politician. There is also a good chance, if the average is just one, that half the politicians elected will be non-sociopathic, and a sociopathic politician might not be able to collude as effectively with non-sociopaths.

    However, when a politician is chosen from 450,000 people, we expect 45 of them to be highly intelligent sociopaths. So we have 45 times as much chance that one (or a few) of them will choose the political route, because it is more lucrative to represent 45 times as many people, to receive 45 times as much in campaign donations, and to control 45 times as much tax money that can be corruptly diverted.

    Complexity and technology exacerbate the problem; giving the politician more loopholes and routes to fortune, and a greater ability to evade detection.

    In short, as the country grows in population and the “ruling class” remains static in number, the proportions favor sociopathy among the ruling class.

    The problem with sociopaths, as related to Mike’s article, is that the lack of emotional empathy, caring or feelings of guilt make them excellent liars without the tics and stresses that would normally trigger our subconscious lie detectors and make us suspicious or wary. They fake sincerity well while stabbing us in the back. Appeals to their “humanity” are pointless exercises in futility; they have none, and most people do not seem to comprehend that.

    It doesn’t mean all politicians are sociopaths, but it doesn’t take all of them being sociopaths for the system to wind up effectively sociopathic.

    The founders originally set a minimum of 30,000 being represented. We would be politically better off with that number, but I think that was a mistake, a lower number like one in 10,000; within a system of tiered responsibility, would provide us with greater protection (from a statistical point of view given our current knowledge of the rate of incidence of mental illness).

    For an example of what I mean, we could demand a representative for every 10,000 adults of voting age, and for the role of “Congress” a vote from the entirety of what would currently be 20,000 elected politicians (instead of just 435 in the House of Representatives,). We could handle 20,000 representatives, and we always could have: The evidence is in the Constitution itself, even the founders considered it possible to handle elections of 30,000 voters; they set that as the minimum number of citizens a representative could elect!

    In 1776, however, the USA population was estimated at 2.5 million, which probably would have required (counting adults of voting age only) about 125 representatives or less. It would have been a workable system then, and due to communications technology (including the telegraph), a workable system throughout American history.

  23. Slarti,

    Thank you for your very thoughtful comments which allow me to both clarify and expand where I was coming from in this post. Although it is difficult for me being so naturally “wordy”, I have found that I must pick and choose what to put into a particular essay, or come up with one of enormous length that will in the end turn off the reader from the mere drudgery of going through it and hope they get what is behind what I’m writing. I’m just not that good a writer to always be clear in my distillation of thoughts with greater implications as I’ll try to now explain. In this way you might see that you and I are not so far apart on this issue.

    The reason I talked of the importance of psychotherapy in changing my outlook was deeper than mere self confession. As someone trained as a Psychotherapist I feel I have a deeper understanding than the laymen of what it is supposed to do. Therapist cannot “change” people. What they can do is provide a mirror for the patient into who they really are. The idea is that almost all people mature deceiving themselves…..about themselves. No one can teach an individual how to organize their own brain. All of us tend to mature seeing ourselves in a favorable light, or not. Due to this our pre-conceptions about who we are rationalize our actions to fit with those pre-conceptions. Therapy can only try to get people to see who they really are and then with that added information make changes in their lives that they personally deem beneficial, or not. As you wrote:

    “I generally accept people’s stated motives at face value since I think very few people are villains in their own minds and I think that actions are the only significant measure on which to judge a politician in any case.”

    You are in the ballpark of where I’m coming from but with this difference. I agree that few people are villains in there own minds and that actions are the only true measure of them. However, my training and experience are such that I can’t accept people’s stated motives at face value because I’m aware of how much self deception exists in most of us. Throughout history leaders have personally thought themselves better informed than those they led. They justify their actions based on that greater knowledge and are willing to deceive the masses for what they personally perceive is the greater good. While as I stated in this piece that I too am very accepting of those I meet and if they come in good will I return it in kind. However, after those “first impressions” then comes a growing context of actions and to me the rational person begins to get a better picture of who they are dealing with from the context.

    I strongly supported Obama in his first election because I accepted his message on face value. He was “brilliant” as evidenced by his school career. He was charismatic and yet very down to earth. He was a black man with all the history that entailed. He had been trained in the Alinsky method which is one I admire. He was “against the war”. As a Constitutional expert he would understand the illegality of the “Bush Years” and end it. He was for economic justice and therefore he would tame the Wall St. excess. And so on and so forth. When he appointed Geithner, Larry Summers, Donovan and Holder, my confidence in him began to slip because the context surrounding him had changed. When his views on Gay people started to “evolve” I began to be less trustful of him as anything more than a garden variety politician. When he asserted the same Presidential powers as G.W. Bush my faith slipped further. I could go on, but needless to say I came to see that he was not the “change” I had hoped for.

    For the 2012 election I supported him but emphasized is was strictly as the lesser of two evils. I had come to see though that while somewhat better than his predecessor he fell far short of what was needed. When you write:

    “While their role as enablers doesn’t speak well of the Democrats, holding the line is a far better alternative right now than the wholesale retreat of our civil liberties which seems to happen under Republicans—at least until we can find or create a viable third option.”

    Obviously we agree on this point. Where I differ though is that unless we are critical of the mistakes of this Administration a viable third option will never be allowed to thrive.

  24. I want explicit condemnation of the duopoly. Think of how Ralph Nader eviscerates it. Those who lament our situation and then “vote for the lesser of two evils” are the biggest part of the problem. That myopia is what the duopoly depends upon. We may not see 3rd party results in our lifetime, but we must do it for our kids or grandkids.

  25. The sheer size of our government is what the duopoly uses to keep power. You have to feed the beast or it will feed on you. Wait a minute!! It is feeding on us! And, the attitude of the duopoly is “Whatta you going to do about it, sucka?”

  26. Mike, I am painfully aware of the message from the Stones. However, I will keep up my currently quixotic quest, Dreaming the Impossible Dream.

  27. Mike, with all due respect when I read your words “The most emotionally jarring event of the past five decades was the attack on 9/11 that galvanized this country almost as one entity” I was a bit dismayed. On Nov. 22, 1963 this nation had a president shot down in broad daylight in a major American city. In order to draw attention away from that fact and the pithy investigation and an overwhelming consensus that a conspiracy had occurred the new president manufactured a crisis with the Gulf of Tonlken (sp? my spell check is terrible) indecent. Just as the drip, drip, drip of disbelieve came with the Warren Commission revelations and with that national dissatisfaction and a war to change the subject so does the drip, drip, drip that brought the NSA’s abuses to light make it really easy to start another war just to change the subject and the nation’s attention. I am far from convinced that it was not our own intelligence services that used chemical weapons in Syria.

    One last thing and then I will shut up and wait to be beat on, you say the following: “Corporate Military Industrial Complex (CMIC) and most specifically the multinational oil industry.”

    When Eisenhower gave his farewell address he used the term the “Military Industrial Complex.” I have read, in many places, that he wanted to use the phrase Military Industrial Congressional Complex but was talked out of it by aides. Now that phrase is used by many military reformers but to that “T T” has been added which stands for think tank. But I do like the CMIC. How about CMICC TT?

  28. Pat,

    I said five decades thinking of JFK. For my take on his assassination please enter “A Real History if the Last Sixty -Two Years ” in the search box at the top right of this page and I think you might find we are in some agreement.

  29. Mike, sorry but I am still not seeing that. Skim reading this time I just see Robert Kennedy. But there again I’ve been up all night and I’m not at my best. Again, sorry.

    Pat

  30. Otteray;

    I too, am disappointed about many policies to which POTUS Obama has gone far to askew as a compromising politico. That being said, I’m also much more aware of the true nature of our POTUS, whence he came, what he does and who he is. Even with all that I know, I forgive him to a point (thoroughly pissed he won’t give U.S. a more noble U.S. Attorney General) – and I greatly admire many of his Administration’s brilliant strategies. (Such as making Hillary Sec of State – and not going for popular vote – but knowing they had to take Ohio, Michigan and Florida).

    If you believe in G-d and the devil – or some other form of good v evil as the nature of all things, one has to ponder is it better to have a middle grounder such as POTUS Obama – or the softer (weaker?) Jimmy Carter types.

    I’m ecstatic that the people have spoken and we stopped the plan of bullying over Syria. It was a bizarre policy to foster the notion that we must bomb Syrian’s to stop a Syrian from bombing Syrians.

    JFK was “THE” Man who signed the Fed out of existence. POTUS Obama is highly unlikely to do anything that profound. Be that as it may, we’ve come a long way in other mannerisms germane. For our nation elected a non-Caucasian with a very odd ball last name that made all WASP’s cringe.

    That’s a good thing, no – a Great Thing!

  31. JH, that pledge unfortunately has been superceded by the . . . .

    Federal Politician’s Pledge:

    I pledge allegance, to my party, that subjugates the United States of America and to the duopoly for which it reigns. My nation: worship me as your god, and I’ll grant liberty and justice to those who serve me; maybe.

  32. Mike, I ate some breakfast and am on my way to bed (Yeah, I know I’m bass akwards) but I did read your article on JFK. That was really good. Another day I will actually click on all the links you provided within the article and comments. I was a freshman in high school and like you I read everything I could get my hands on about it. I educated my son on the subject so he would not just accept the LHO killed JFK….move on to another part of history sidestep.

    I ran across this the other day:

    Some Context for Our Upcoming Bombing Campaign
    http://prospect.org/article/some-context-our-upcoming-bombing-campaign

    And we wonder why we are broke!

  33. I’m not a cynic. I want the people of the US to flourish. I want people in other nations to have good lives. I want the earth and it’s many life forms to thrive. Because I am not cynical about these things I can tell when a politician and his/her followers are f*&cking them up.

    People need to be truthful. Unless you personally interact with a politician on a social basis, they are not your friend. (That is a lie created by “branding”.) They are public servants. When they don’t do their job, they need to be booted out of office.

    You do not “help” a mass murderer by being co-dependent and pretending you are BFFs. You are not being helpful by lying to yourself, others or any politician about what they are doing. If it is wrong, you need to stand up and speak out. Respect for others means fundamentally that you see them truthfully, not how you wish they would be.

    Then, you act accordingly.

  34. Mike Spindell 1, September 14, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Dredd,

    Sometimes Bill Maher gets things so right it is breathtaking.
    =======================
    Tru dat.

    He has a very competent staff, and he works so well with them.

  35. Mike Spindell writes:

    “The corruption of our political system and the failure of government to do its job is not the result in the inherent flaw of any government as the Libertarians and Tea Party suspect. Government doesn’t work because it is corrupted by those seeking power and wealth. Our Constitution is ignored by those who would manipulate the rest of us for their own personal gains.”

    Well, I can’t speak for the Tea Party people – they can barely speak for themselves – but, as a libertarian anarchist, I also believe that government doesn’t work because it is corrupted by those seeking power and wealth, and that is the inherent flaw of any government, and it always has been and always will be. In fact, the more powerful government is, the more sociopaths are attracted to it.

    Sadly, most people reject a stateless society as they have been indoctrinated to believe that humans are somehow helpless and unable to educate children or build roads without the mystical forces of government and the magical powers of politicians (assuming they belong to the correct cult). Anarchy is rejected because it does not promise utopia and would never deliver it. On the other hand, you have politicians that promise utopia but deliver something that appears to be more like dystopia.

  36. Tom, as a Libertarian, how do you see the power of corporations in our lives? They are now spying on us, making war on us, jailing us, giving us many of the restrictions on how we speak and think, the things that Libertarians traditionally hate about govt.

    This is not a trick question. I really wondered how you see it. Also, now that USG is a giant multinational corporation, do you think people need protection from the govt./corporate nexus which exists?

  37. Tom says: Sadly, most people reject a stateless society as they have been indoctrinated to believe that humans are somehow helpless and unable to educate children or build roads

    You are drinking some powerful Kool-Aid there, pardner.

    We reject a stateless society because we believe, correctly, that without police and military to protect us and enforce laws and present a plausible threat to those that would commit violence, theft, fraud and rape, the baddest of the bad will enslave us.

    All one has to do is look to the badlands in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere to see that without a state, warlords, psychopaths, and brutal dictators take over and form a “government” of the few, for the few, over the many.

    No individual can stand against a lawless gang on their own; I don’t care how much weaponry you have, there is a biological imperative to sleep and eat and you can be starved out, ambushed, set on fire or just plain overwhelmed by a frikkin’ tank.

    The minute you claim you do not intend to DO it “on your own” you are forming a collective and imposing mutual obligations which is a “government” of some form.

    Anarchy just doesn’t work, it is logically flawed. You cannot keep sociopaths from being born, growing up, and ruthlessly seeking power. Saddam Hussein was an unrepentant murderer (of an adult he believed slighted him) when he was ten years old; people like Saddam are an unavoidable natural occurrence and the only way to prevent them from gaining power and taking over is by collective action defining rules of behavior and punishing or sequestering violators. That is “government,” it is an imperfect but effective cure for a spontaneously arising illness in humanity, one that is thousands of years old and still with us. It is part of humanity’s immune system, and without it we would be much sicker (and deader) than we are with it.

  38. Gene: I think that idea would have some other ramifications. It would probably induce more natural party diversity; it is easier to convince 10,000 people to vote (Libertarian, Socialist, Green, Constitutional) than to convince 450,000. For the obvious reason that door to door politics is easier for a politician with only 10,000 constituents, and much cheaper to do in both time and money, and people are less worried about voting for somebody they literally know. For the less obvious reason (I think) that with 20,000 Congressmen, people would know their one Congressman doesn’t have a lot of power and they are more free to experiment with an alternative party (with somebody they think is a good person).

    Another ramification would be to decrease marginalization of minorities and the poor. Gerrymandering would be much harder with 45 times as many districts. And minorities tend to live near each other, by choice or economic or circumstantial necessity. Since their district is small, chances are their Congressman hails from their neighborhood, and is more likely to represent their interests.

    With the current district size of roughly 450,000, and expensive campaigns that require deep-pocket friends, it is far more likely the Congressman is one of the 4500 in the top 1% (and most Congressman are indeed millionaires). It is part of the reason, in my view, they dance with the guys that brought them to the party: They ARE the rich, their friends are the rich, and they represent that point of view.

  39. Tony,

    It would also make campaign finance and lobbying easier to reform as well. Smaller campaigns cost less and the dilution effect would effectively destroy K Street’s stranglehold on lobby.

    The more I think about it, the more I like it.

  40. Gene H. 1, September 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    ** campaign finance and lobbying **

    Gene H,

    The public owns the air waves, we should pull rank!

    Make it free time for those polecats running for office.. only so much though.

    Public corporations are own by shareholders, instead of management deciding which polecat to back have the shareholders tell management & separate it into the percentages of how the shareholders voted.

    Or better yet just ban corps from put up money on elections.

    Corporations are nothing more then Renters to me. The citizens are the owners, treat then renters like renters!

  41. Tony C says:

    “You are drinking some powerful Kool-Aid there, pardner.

    We reject a stateless society because we believe, correctly, that without police and military to protect us and enforce laws and present a plausible threat to those that would commit violence, theft, fraud and rape, the baddest of the bad will enslave us.”

    I’ve drank so much Krazy Flavored Kool-Aid, Tony, that I’m hallucinating. It’s got me thinking that the police and military often commit violence (and threaten it continually), theft, fraud and even rape fairly regularly. Your typical mass-murderer can’t even begin to compare to just the collateral damage of Obama’s CIA drones just last month. From where I’m having delusional Kool-Aid reactions that cause me to believe that the baddest of the bad have already enslaved many of us and in most cases the chains are in your head.

    Now, if I only had some Normal All-American Myth Flavored Kool-Aid, I’m sure I would come around to your way of thinking comfortable thoughts and knowing that if only the right people are elected, government can be a wonderful force for good.

  42. “Anarchy just doesn’t work, it is logically flawed. You cannot keep sociopaths from being born, growing up, and ruthlessly seeking power.”

    Tony, Tony, Tony. I can rebut that by just changing one word and throwing that big old non sequitur right back at ya.

    Let me put it out there, Tony, so that you can argue it is wrong.

    Democracy just doesn’t work, it is logically flawed. You cannot keep sociopaths from being born, growing up, and ruthlessly seeking power.

  43. By the way, progressives and reformers have been reforming politics and government for a hundred years in America. WTF?
    You’d think that we’d be close to utopia by now. Instead, we live in a militarized surveillance/police state with a fascist/corporatist economic system and two authoritarian political cults that dominate our lives, all cheered on by their zombie cult members.

    The voters and especially the political activists are clueless as to how the economy works, how the political system works, and how the legal system works. Yet, they cling to the belief that it is legitimate for 50.1% of those who bother to vote to use gun-toting thugs and prisons to force idiotic agendas on everyone else.

    When all these all-knowing reformers can figure out how to reform human beings instead of viewing them as pawns for their political games, maybe then we can have a decent world.

    Frankly, I’ve grown weary of all the idiots and shysters who want to protect me, care for me, control me and help me through government enforcers with guns. Of course, they always say no force would be necessary if I complied with their every whim that becomes enacted into law.

    I’m beginning to believe that people like Tony C. who are in constant fear of what others would do to them in the absence of their precious little police state are merely projecting their own cravings to kill and destroy onto everyone else.

    If there were no cops to stop you, how many women would you rape and then kill, Tony C? Oh no, you would never do that, right? It’s just what everyone else would do. Bad people who can’t be stopped without the full force of government.

    Hey, that’s what governments do best, right? That’s why no women are raped and killed in America. Ever. Right?

  44. Tom: It’s just what everyone else would do.

    You fail to comprehend the argument, just as I predicted, and you appeal to the common man, just as I predicted.

    It isn’t “everyone else,” Tom. It is the 1% that are born sociopathic. and about 10% of those are smarter than 90% of the people, enough to get away with it, and the ones that aren’t smart enough to get away with it end up in prison. But without courts, without police, without jails, none of those sociopaths go to prison, they band together into gangs out of self-interest, because it is profitable for them to join together and oppress 99% of the populace. And therefore the end result of your “anarchic state,” in a matter of a decade or so, is the 1% ruling the 99% by brutal force: A dictatorship. A government.

    You are right; the typical person wants to live peacefully and cooperatively and if they can make a living working would only use violence in self defense. But the typical person would also use violence to survive. And not all people are typical, there is a very special type of birth defect that arises repeatedly in which a person feels nothing toward other people and sees them as prey to be exploited, killed, robbed, enslaved or harmed as needed to satisfy their own selfish needs.

    THOSE people are the fatal flaw in your philosophy; and they are not, in principle, a fatal flaw of democracy.

  45. Tom,

    Let’s look a little at your proposition. Let’s say there is no longer government and a woman gets raped in your town. Women do get raped I’m sure you’ll admit. What in your mind is to be done about the rapist and by who? Perhaps if you could clarify for us your perspective on how this we be handled in a society without government we could understand better the point you are trying to make.

  46. I’m sure most have heard of General Alexander who spent our taxpayer money to make is “war room” at the “Information Dominance Center” like the Starship Enterprise:

    “When he was running the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, Alexander brought many of his future allies down to Fort Belvoir for a tour of his base of operations, a facility known as the Information Dominance Center. It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a ‘whoosh’ sound when they slid open and closed. Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather ‘captain’s chair’ in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen.

    “‘Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,’ says a retired officer in charge of VIP visits.”

    (Guardian, “Inside the minde of NSA Commander”). Gives new meaning to “spaced out” doesn’t it?

  47. Anonymously Yours;

    If we don’t stop propaganda machines like Clear Channel, from assaulting the elections in 2014; and take back Congress. The only cooperation we are likely to see of Congress – is that of rubber stamping a Chris Christie or Jeb Bush.

  48. Mike Spindell writes,

    “We humans co-exist though in a larger context than mere personal interactions and that is a society known as “country”. Through the norms and mores of that society we find that our emotions are stimulated by the commonality of our existence as part of a whole. We rely on that society to protect us from predators and from those from other society’s that would do us harm. We unite emotionally in times of crisis and we feel warmth and comfort from being part of the whole”

    So I Thoreuishly ask, “Do We the People control our Country, or does the Country (powers that be) control us.”

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/power-principle/

  49. Gene: Smaller campaigns cost less and the dilution effect would effectively destroy K Street’s stranglehold on lobby.

    Yeah, that is another side-effect: For a given politician, their share of the available bribery dollars from lobbyists is reduced by a factor of 45. So we have seen bribes in the thousands, but every thousand becomes $20, is a politician going to risk taking a bribe for a handful of twenties?

    Alternatively, would K Street be able to ramp up the bribery fund by a factor of 45?

    I think not. I have seen some rough spreadsheet calculations looking at lobbying costs (for corporations) versus the ROI (return on lobbying investment) is something like 25 to 1 in tax favors. But if that is true, it stops being effective if the cost is multiplied by double digits. The bribes have to be compelling to the politicians, and that means (to me) at least in the low thousands. That might mean a half million in lobbying costs for the current Congress, but it would be in the tens of millions for a mega-Congress of 20,000 politicians.

    Another issue with expansion is the Congressional payroll; currently on the order of $75M annually. That amounts to about 37.5 cents per year per adult. If we change nothing about pay and multiply the number of Congressmen by 45, the cost is $16.88 per year per adult; about 0.04% of the median income and hardly a burden for the benefits achieved.

    Yet another benefit (IMO) which I alluded to earlier, would be the reduction in “respect” afforded Congressmen. A Congressman would serve about as many people as a city councilman, and I think prosecutors and police would afford them much less leeway in the law and “looking the other way” than they are afforded now; which would improve law enforcement and investigations, and would take away one of the major benefits that attract sociopaths to office.

    That would feed into another proposal; under this new approach, I think that Presidential candidates should have to be chosen from Congressman that have served at least four terms. (With exceptions for the initial startup.) That would also help to thwart the sociopaths.

    I would also mulitply the number of Senators per State. Similar to Turley’s proposal for a much larger Supreme Court, I would recommend 50 Senators per state.

  50. A dear online acquaint of mine (Horace Boothroyd III) – whom I often call Mr. III; inadvertently makes a case for me – that Democracy grows and goes. This story is about police shooting/killing a man who was rushing to bring them to a serious car wreck.

    http://freakoutnation.com/2013/09/15/n-c-police-shoot-and-kill-unarmed-black-man-who-needed-help-after-a-serious-car-accident/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=n-c-police-shoot-and-kill-unarmed-black-man-who-needed-help-after-a-serious-car-accident

  51. @Tom Blanton,

    “By the way, progressives and reformers have been reforming politics and government for a hundred years in America. WTF?
    You’d think that we’d be close to utopia by now.”

    :o) That is an astute, accurate, and undeniable statement. I can’t help but to smile at its’ impact on me. …..

    If the American (or world) Utopia was the rich getting richer while the 99 pay, I would say that the 1%ers are doing quite well. They are plowing planting, tending, their own worldly created Elysian fields. while using the 99 as fertilizer…. WTF?

    I can interpret the above situation as the end product of true anarchy. The most powerful anarchists will join forces for their mutual benefit …… and will most likely end up with a world near exactly as it is today. ….or ten years from now!!!! :o)

    Now a question, Are there any Altruistic Egalitarian Anarchists?

  52. DavidBlueFish: “Do We the People control our Country, or does the Country (powers that be) control us.”

    1) Yes we do, and
    2) No we don’t.

    (1) We the people have the ability to control our country if we want. Simple majority election exists throughout the country, if we were unified and insistent, we could change every Congressman within two years (their election cycle), we could change 2/3 of the Senate and the Presidency within four years, and every single Federal politician within six years. Also virtually every Mayor, councilman, police chief, governor, and State level Senator.

    We the people possess control.

    (2) But we do not exercise it, even though we could, so we have surrendered control, for no benefit or reason, to the corporations and sociopaths that see a benefit in exercising and usurping our control.

    Why? I think people just don’t give a crap. They are busy with their lives, the issues do not seem to cause them any pain, and it isn’t worth disrupting their work life or entertainment to do anything about it.

    In other words, there isn’t enough “pain” to motivate any but a small percent to give up several days of their leisure time every month or hundreds of their dollars every month to try to make things different. There is no unified agreement on some thing that “must be changed.” We are expertly herded into fighting one 50/50 polarization after another, with each other, while the corporations quietly write and pass legislation that serves themselves at our expense: But most of us don’t notice that because we are too angry about Global Warming or too distracted by Hollywood to notice it.

    So (1) we have control, and (2) we do not bother to control.

  53. Tony C. 1, September 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    DavidBlueFish: “Do We the People control our Country, or does the Country (powers that be) control us.”

    1) Yes we do, and
    2) No we don’t.

    So (1) we have control, and (2) we do not bother to control.
    ==============================
    Are you sure you have not fallen prey to “Blame the victim”?

    You assume a uniquely honest election system, when everything else political fails to be honest (The Elections of Pontius Pilots</a?). You also assume that those who run for office are not puppets of "higher-ups" (Epigovernment: The New Model). Those premises you assert no longer appear to be sound.

  54. Sorry, goofed up last comment. Here is corrected version.

    Tony C. 1, September 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    DavidBlueFish: “Do We the People control our Country, or does the Country (powers that be) control us.”

    1) Yes we do, and
    2) No we don’t.

    So (1) we have control, and (2) we do not bother to control.
    ==============================
    Are you sure you have not fallen prey to “Blame the victim”?

    You assume a uniquely honest election system, when everything else political fails to be honest (The Elections of Pontius Pilots). You also assume that those who run for office are not puppets of “higher-ups” (Epigovernment: The New Model). Those premises you assert no longer appear to be sound.

  55. Dredd,

    The principles and the premises are sound. The issue is that they are being co-opted due in no small part to lack of exercise. “Move it or lose it” doesn’t just apply to the gym. Like the disease model, the patient/victim’s own behavior can either positively or negatively affect the course of the illness. Causation can be but is not always blame.

  56. Tony C.

    “We are expertly herded into fighting one 50/50 polarization after another, with each other, while the corporations quietly write and pass legislation that serves themselves at our expense:”

    100% agree. Rove and Luntz are genius at their profession. Fox news and most all major media are co-conspirators. They have enough of Americans in the bag. Division is their tool and they are expert at it.

  57. “Now a question, Are there any Altruistic Egalitarian Anarchists?”

    Yes, there are 7,391,082 of them in my imaginary world. How many are in your imaginary world? I’m guessing none.

    But then you are probably completely unaware of mutualists, voluntaryists, left-libertarians, c4ss, etc. and fundamental principles like zero-aggression.

    What do you think anarchists are? Cops dressed in black chucking bricks through the window at McDonalds at anti-globalization protests?

    Now a different question, Are there any Altruistic Egalitarian Politicians? In my imaginary world, I count less than 5. The rest are sociopaths although they play altruistic egalitarians on TV.

    A more serious question might be, why would any actual altruistic egalitarian delegate his or her compassion for the downtrodden to politicians when there is a long record indicating complete political failure to minimize poverty. In fact, it seems the more politicians “care”, the more the wage/wealth gap widens as demonstrated dramatically in the past 50 years.

    I would suggest that instead of wasting time, energy and money on trying to elect sociopathic actors to solve the problems you care so deeply about, that you put your efforts into solving these problems either as an individual or in small voluntary groups of like-minded people. (Note the word “voluntary” which is different from “mandatory” involvement in a group – that is government. Civil society and government are different things and that seems to be lost on those that cling to government in fear.)

    The thing is that statists of the right or left should be free to place themselves under the control of violent and greedy sociopaths if they wish. My objection is that these statists refuse to let anyone opt out of their preferred way of life and ultimately the “caring” sociopaths they appoint to rule will kill you if you defy their system of authoritarian rule.

    It is this insistence that others adhere to the preferences of the elite ruling class (and the voters who place them in power) through the use or threat of violence that makes the notions of altruism egalitarianism laughable.

    Please quit caring so much about my welfare as I don’t care much for slavery, imprisonment and violence.

  58. Dredd: I don’t think I’m blaming the victim, I am claiming the victim doesn’t really care that they are being victimized.

    The typical person knows Congress is corrupt, that is why the percent that think Congress is doing a decent job is (at best) in the low teens.

    Why they don’t care? I don’t know. I’m not blaming the victim at all, they have a right to their disregard. The best I can muster in reprobation is that collectively we suffer the consequences of our inattention because collectively we think other things are more worthy of our attention. Those on this blog (including me) are out of the mainstream, the mainstream is watching football, or the SyFy channel, or a DVD, or (like me) hammering away at some work problem.

    Neither blame nor applause is intended, it is just my observation. People do not become politically involved until they are angry enough or distraught enough, and although some of us are angry or distraught, that is not yet the mindset of the typical American.

  59. More close to Utopia by now?

    Seriously?

    Mankind has advance to unfathomable levels of greater comfort, greater liberty, greater chance for individual achievement; and – therefore – a much greater chance of complacency.

    Diligent parties are more content where they are; because they suffer more and are thankful for the precious gifts of life.

    Whereas, here in America, we take too dang much for granted.

    That is, until those items expected to be are no longer readily avail. As Cliff Robertson said in 3 Days of the Condor to Robert Redford; what do you think they’ll want us to do then – when we run out.

    inference being that Americans sense of nobleness will go right out the window if our children are starving because a cease of oil production makes U.S. go with proper food production.

    We are not in a Utopian state of being;
    because we are not trying to be.

    Utopia comes from a general consensus care for one’s fellow man and woman where people are only men (not a black, white or yellow man) – and your Yacht would never be built as long as there is one child going hungry and/or one adult out in the cold.

    Power, money and might makes right;
    always has – and always will.

  60. Tom Blanton,
    “Yes, there are 7,391,082 of them in my imaginary world. How many are in your imaginary world? I’m guessing none.”

    I assume you mean billion, as in the world population? …. other than that I would interpret that number indicates sarcasm on your part.

    Seven billion people are alive on our earth today, the most ever. Seven billion independent differing perspectives, of exact and equal weight, to each individuals intrinsic, unique experience and cognitive abilities. It is only personal choice or submission, to purposefully concede self worth, to enhance higher the worth of another.
    I personally allow MD.s to examine me and offer treatment for my ills. I have had some education and have allowed myself to be mentored by a superior intellect so I may learn and grow. I have learned incredible life lessons from statements by vagabonds, to watching statements on C-span by towering intellects.
    We are all born between the legs of our mothers (though science has been changing that). We are all born with consciousness between our ears. No human has ever transplanted consciousness of one, to the consciousness of another. We each own our own unique conscience. …. Is this the point of your reply, and is it your intention to state, “This is what makes us all anarchists?”
    PS. what is your definition of Anarchist?
    From wiki:
    Anarchy has more than one definition. Some use the term “anarchy” to refer to a society without a publicly enforced government.[1][2] When used in this sense, anarchy may[3] or may not[4] be intended to imply political disorder or lawlessness within a society.
    Others, including most individuals who self-identify as anarchists, use the term to imply a system of governance, mostly theoretical at a jurisdiction level. There are also other forms of anarchy that attempt to avoid the use of coercion, violence, force and authority, while still producing a productive and desirable society.[5][6] Anarchy is also a technical issue of economic science, as anarchy implies lack of coercive oversight.

  61. laserhaas,

    I am thinking of a question perhaps on an English test, something like this:
    ….Create a pragmatic statement.

    “Power, money and might makes right;
    always has – and always will.”

    LOL, A-plus!! :o)

  62. laserhaas: Whereas, here in America, we take too dang much for granted.

    How do you know that?
    Who determines what is the right amount to take for granted?

    Besides, I don’t think we take it for granted, we pay through the nose (in taxes) for all sorts of protection from predatory humans. Income tax, property tax, sales tax, unemployment tax, retirement tax, gasoline tax, health care taxes, insurances (both mandatory and pragmatically necessary), 401Ks because the damn retirement tax isn’t going to work, and on and on.

    The only thing I “take for granted” is that I deserve to see some value for my money.

  63. Tony C. 1, September 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Dredd: I don’t think I’m blaming the victim, I am claiming the victim doesn’t really care that they are being victimized.

    ============================
    At least we agree about who the victims are.

    I hope you are correct and that the victims find a way to become free from their victimizers.

  64. Dredd: I can’t figure out what you mean by me being “correct,” I doubt the victimized will find anyway to become free from their victimizers if they don’t really give a crap about their victimization.

    The other reason I doubt it will happen is that hundreds of millions of adults for many decades since the Industrial Revolution have been victimized, and their solutions to the more extreme forms of victimization are embedded in the current culture; in the form of unions, OSHA laws, civil rights laws, sexual harassment laws, child labor laws, minimum wage laws, food and product safety laws, anti-discrimination laws and so on.

    Which means the victimizations that remain standing are the tough nuts to crack, pretty much all the easy-to-stop victimizations (except perhaps equal pay for equal work) have been knocked over. If they haven’t been addressed in the last hundred years, I doubt they will be addressed anytime soon. It would take a generational crisis to pave the way for such changes, like the Civil War, or Great Depression or World War II. Some game changer, something that requires the majority of citizens to suffer significant hardship and permanently change their way of life, so I don’t think 9/11 qualifies.

  65. Tony C. 1, September 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Dredd: I can’t figure out what you mean by me being “correct,” I doubt the victimized will find anyway to become free from their victimizers if they don’t really give a crap about their victimization.

    =============================
    Yep.

    That is why there really wasn’t a holocaust, it was a who-gives-a-crap-ocaust.

    “Those who made victims of them were doing it to give them a chance to not be victims.”

    “We had to destroy the village in order to save it” comes to mind.

    So, let’s tie this into the Mike S theme (being a political cynic) of the instant post, by looking at the dictionary as Gene H would be prone to do:

    Word Origin & History

    victim
    … from L. [Latin] victima “person or animal killed as a sacrifice.”

    (Dictionary, emphasis added). I suppose you know, in that context, that consent (in legal terminology) is something that only competent adults can give.

    In addition to that, no person can consent to be sacrificed to a god God, gods, or Gods –at least while competent secular civilization is in existence.

    The same goes for animals.

    I therefore question your standard or basis for indicting victims (“they don’t really give a crap”).

    It does not fit in the context of “if they had really given a crap” there would have been no coup, no mass murder, no plundering of their wealth, no sinking of the Titanic, no robbing of the bank, and the like.

    The ceremony which sacrifices willing citizens victims and their pets would piously flow something like this:

    … we are gathered here dearly beloved, to sacrifice Sarah and her lamb to the God of Elections. This sacrifice of these victims will guarantee that a good person will be elected and righteousness will return to Glitterland.

    To the contrary, when one of the players questions the sacrificial lamb thingy, it would go like this:

    Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
    Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
    God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
    God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
    The next time you see me comin’ you better run”

    (War is the Highway 61 of the 1%). Which usually leads to:

    Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
    God says, “Out on Highway 61”

    (ibid). Either way, Sarah and her pet are going down without their “consent.”

    A child cannot “consent” to being abused.

    In civil societies no person can “consent” to becoming a victim.

    When politicians rig a system to victimize the populace the populace cannot be blamed for the crime of those oppressors.

    They may afterward suffer Stockholm Syndrome and begin to take up for/advocate for their oppressors, but, legally speaking, that is of no consequence because those who did the wrong to the victims are still culpable.

  66. Dredd: Do you have a point, or are you just being stupidly dense?

    I did not claim they aren’t victims, I said they don’t care. It is like being overcharged and paying the bill because you don’t feel the difference is worth your time to make a correction.

    They are victims. Politicians are letting corporations steal their money. They just don’t care enough to do anything about it. if they don’t care enough to do anything about it, because they don’t want to give up football or America Gots Talent or whatever, that includes not caring enough to bother with finding a way to free themselves from their victimization.

    I am not denying victimization. I am claiming they are too apathetic about their victimization to bother ending it.

  67. Tony C. 1, September 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm


    I did not claim they aren’t victims, I said they don’t care.

    ===============================
    Yep.

    And that you lost 99.999999% of the universe in so doing is irrelevant to you.

    I get it.

  68. Dredd: And the fact that you don’t understand 99.999999% of psychology is apparently irrelevant to you.

    If it mattered to people, they would at least vote. On balance, they do not. If it mattered to people, they would at least know something about the politicians that are victimizing them. On balance, they do not even know their names. I could go on, but as always with you, there is little point, you don’t care if you are right or wrong, you just want to hear yourself talk. Yammer away, dufus.

  69. Tony C. 1, September 16, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Dredd … If it mattered to people, they would at least vote …
    ================================
    Yep.

    It.

    Bow down to it. ….

    …. anyway ….

    Hey science guy … are votes the DNA that the Really Big Stuff is composed of? … like genes and “mike row waves” and oriental spy mistakes?

    Anyway, send my love to the Queen bloke.

  70. davidbluefish;

    It is a shame that the reality is so full of irony.

    Be that as it may – I wish it twir’nt so!

    For the pain others & I’ve suffered of such;
    makes it much more harder for me to grin – as ye can.

  71. “If it mattered to people, they would at least vote.”

    Let’s see now, I can vote for a police state, a surveillance state, a warfare state, a welfare state, and a corporatist/fascist state run by a narcissistic sociopath, OR I can vote for a police state, a surveillance state, a warfare state, a welfare state, and a corporatist/fascist state run by a narcissistic sociopath.

    Gosh, I better get involved, read everything I can find on who the candidates claim to be and what they claim to stand for, and vote! I surely wouldn’t want to vote for the wrong person.

  72. When one is firmly enfirmed in the firmament there is no reason to dance, nor danger of happy feet. **

    ** It was an intense struggle for me, not to put a smiley there **

    ** or there **

    ** or there… … … I give up!! :o)

  73. Tom: Or get involved and run for office. Or get involved and expose corruption.

    Is “reading” your only option? How about “writing”? Are you incapable of independent research? Can you seek out actual people that have worked with (or been screwed by) the candidate?

    No, don’t tell me, you don’t have the time for that. Which is another way of saying, you aren’t willing to make the sacrifice of the time and money it would take, which is another way of saying you’d rather live in “a police state, a surveillance state, a warfare state, a welfare state, and a corporatist/fascist state run by a narcissistic sociopath” than be bothered getting involved in how the country is run; that sacrifice isn’t worth it to you.

    But I am not condemning your choices, Tom, it has not been worth it to me either, or to the vast majority of people.

    What follows here is systems analysis: The narcissistic sociopaths win because the vast majority of us will not risk the financial and job security we already have on a relatively small chance to make a relatively small difference.

    This is, in the political sense, another form of market failure; because the elections are winner take all and personally expensive to win. The market fails us here because the rewards are not incremental: A little involvement does not produce a little win, a little more involvement does not produce more of a win. A job has the potential of incremental rewards; work a little harder, learn a little more, and you are a little more valuable and get rewarded. Develop skill and expertise in an area, and become even more valuable.

    Politics isn’t usually like that, it is more of a personality contest, and because there is one winner and all opponents lose 100% (basically) of their investment of time and money, it doesn’t attract new contestants unless they think they have a very good chance of winning (narcissistic sociopaths can have that kind of delusional self-certainty), or really nothing to lose — like multimillionaires with time on their hands and friends that can donate five and six figures in seed funding and laugh off any losses as a fun try (people like GW Bush, Romney, Bloomberg).

    One solution to that is the much smaller district I mentioned before, but I know that is unlikely to happen in my lifetime. The alternative is, unfortunately, to wait until a lot more people have nothing to lose by getting involved in politics, which isn’t going to be because they are rich, but because of our collective complacency and our collective refusal to make any significant sacrifice or risk, we are once again collectively ambushed by the narcissistic sociopaths that steal all the money and leave most of us with nothing left to lose.

  74. Tom Blanton 1, September 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    “If it mattered to people, they would at least vote.” [Tony C]

    Let’s see now, I can vote for a police state, a surveillance state, a warfare state, a welfare state, and a corporatist/fascist state run by a narcissistic sociopath, OR I can vote for a police state, a surveillance state, a warfare state, a welfare state, and a corporatist/fascist state run by a narcissistic sociopath.

    Gosh, I better get involved, read everything I can find on who the candidates claim to be and what they claim to stand for, and vote! I surely wouldn’t want to vote for the wrong person.
    ===================
    Well said.

    Tony C is in deep denial, heavily conflicted, and short circuiting as a result.

    He thinks idealistically that American politics is a cure, not realizing that it is the disease that is twerking his head zone:

    Kahan conducted some ingenious experiments about the impact of political passion on people’s ability to think clearly. His conclusion, in Mooney’s words: partisanship “can even undermine our very basic reasoning skills…. [People] who are otherwise very good at math may totally flunk a problem that they would otherwise probably be able to solve, simply because giving the right answer goes against their political beliefs.”

    (Science Confirms: Politics Wrecks Your Ability to Do Math). It was Joseph Stalin, who loved the election religion, who said “The voters decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything.”

    He always got elected.

  75. The fantastic Tony C opines:

    “Is “reading” your only option? How about “writing”? Are you incapable of independent research?”

    Yo, Tony C, you don’t know me. If you had taken the time to click on my real name, you would see a little website where I simply aggregate articles continually that are geared toward destroying the legitimacy of the state. My goal is to deligitimize the state and persuade others to withdraw their consent to be governed.

    When you vote, you legitimize the system and give your consent to be governed. Most statists like yourself, who are perfectly willing to shove a gun in my face to force your agenda on me, claim that one has no right to complain if one doesn’t vote.

    Not true. Those that vote have no right to complain because you agreed to comply with the winner’s program when you decided to play the little game.

    I don’t write so much anymore because after doing so for many years, I grew tired of saying the same damn thing over and over in different ways.

    Frankly, I truly don’t care what your preferences are. I just wish that you wouldn’t rely on the violence of government to force me to adopt your preferences. After all, it’s not like I want anything from you or of you other than to simply be left alone to engage in voluntary activities that don’t hurt others.

    I know you quiver in fear that someone will hurt you, so you require government to protect you form the bad people. Wake up and smell the fear mongering. As demonstrated in the Navy Yard shootings, the government’s military can’t even protect itself despite the citizen disarmament laws in DC, high security screening to enter the Navy Yard facility, and being armed to the hilt. The tooth fairy offers as much protection.

  76. Tom: If you had taken the time to click on my real name,

    You mean wasted the time. I’m glad I didn’t.

    Tom says: I just wish that you wouldn’t rely on the violence of government to force me to adopt your preferences.

    I do not do that. I rely on government to enforce the rights of all the people, as agreed upon by the majority, even against me should I violate them. I do not want the government to enforce MY preferences, I want the government to enforce the consensus of the people.

    Tom says: I know you quiver in fear that someone will hurt you,

    No, not at all. I can take care of myself. My mother, not so much, my mentally disabled nephew, not at all, and I can’t be standing beside them every waking hour to protect them.

    Tom says: The tooth fairy offers as much protection.

    I don’t think so, the tooth fairy doesn’t keep a million psychopathic violent criminals in jail; the government does that. You can cherry pick failings of the government to protect people, but of course you are just an idiot blind to the myriad crimes that have not occurred because a million psychopathic violent criminals are in prison.

    And an adolescently stalled fool for believing in the reality of your fantasy that in a fight with them you will always prevail, the conquering hero.

  77. Yo Tony C,

    The myriad crimes that have not occurred were because of the tooth fairy. Just keep in mind that America has the largest prison population in the world and the highest incarceration rate – all to put your mind at rest for personal safety. Personally, I don’t have any fantasies about winning fights with bad guys. Unlike some people, I don’t fret over imaginary hobgoblins that might attack me.

    As your beloved government leaves a trail of death, destruction and misery around the globe, I hope you feel all warm, snuggly and safe. Anyway, what are you bitching about anyway? So what if the elite are robbing you? Just think about how safe and secure they have made your wonderful life in this magical democracy. You don’t expect them to provide you with total security from womb to tomb at no cost, do you?

    It’s the bed you made, sleep in it. There were votes cast, politicians elected, and the will of the people is being carried out. The majority rules and who are you to say they didn’t choose the correct politicians? Just keep telling yourself that everything has been agreed upon by the majority. It’s your country, right or wrong, right Tony boy. Also remember, it is your fantasy that requires thugs with guns and prisons and bombs. Live with it. Maybe the psychopath you worry about is the guy you see in the mirror or the clown you voted for.

  78. Tom: The majority rules and who are you to say they didn’t choose the correct politicians?

    I can disagree with the majority, I am an equal member of society. There just is no way to organize society without rules, and there is no way to make the rules fairly other than majority rule of some form, because minority rule is a dictatorship. I can think the majority is stupid but still endorse majority rule.

    As for the current state of affairs, I think it is de facto minority rule, by the rich, and therefore a dictatorship. But the majority is submitting to it because the rich make them reasonably comfortable, so that’s it.

    Anarchy is not an alternative, the violent criminals I have seen in prison (I consulted for one) and the violent criminals I have seen on trial are real people, not some fevered fantasy, and without law they would kill you in your sleep for a few hundred bucks.

    I presume you are just naive. Or maybe the psychopath I worry about is you. What laws do you wish to break, Tom? How, precisely, do you wish to endanger others? Or is it just some unrelenting selfishness that you feel?

  79. Tony C, is your real name Winston Smith?

    I also wonder if you are projecting onto everyone else your desire to control others through violent means (which you seem to be proud of and consider to be just plain common sense).

    It never ceases to amaze me that statist voters, Democrat or Republican, don’t understand that there is blood on their hands. For the benefits of the few worthwhile things government does (that could be easily achieved through entirely voluntary associations with small groups of people), the statist is willing to tolerate massive criminality and the degradation of the human race by government. It is a complete failure of imagination of narcissistic control freaks and the total denial of the poverty, suffering and wholesale killing created by governments that has brought us here.

    What kind of human being is so concerned about being protected from harm that he tolerates the mass murder of innocent people by his “protector” merely because this “protector” is supported by war profiteers?

    And people who believe in self-rule (as opposed to minority or majority rule), voluntary associations and non-aggression are naive idiots who secretly want to kill and be selfish?????

    You better go burn some books at the local schools, like Civil Disobedience by Thoreau, lest some youngsters get the crazy notion that:

    “government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have”

  80. Jill said: “You write: “I believe that President Obama is a good man who honestly tries to do the right thing”.

    As I tried to make clear above, I give everyone the benefit of the doubt on motive (which would include Castro as well as President Bush—I try to extend the same courtesy to war profiteer Dick “The War Criminal” Cheney, but I mostly fail on that one). I don’t do this out of naivete, but rather, as I said, for pragmatic reasons. That President Obama is a good man (in addition to assuming his intentions are good) is my opinion, but again it is a pragmatic opinion rather than a naive one.

    By levying hyperbolic attacks on the President from the left, I believe you play into the hands of the right-wing demagogues (who, as I said, never miss an opportunity to game the system) for whom the argument “President Obama is for it” is sufficient cause to oppose anything. These actions seem naive and shortsighted to me, but I don’t doubt that you have anything but the best motives for doing so. I don’t expect you agree with my reasoning, but I don’t think that anything I’ve written would support the conclusion that my view of President Obama or any other leader is pathological. My views are logically consistent, take into account all of the facts that I am aware of, and they are not hypocritical. By making a straw man of my position and belittling it, you do nothing more than illustrate to many of the people here (who know I’m not the unprincipled simpleton that you try to make me out as) your own bias and lack of judgement.

    I’ll willingly admit to President Obama’s faults, but that doesn’t change the fact that I think that our nation is substantially better off because he is president rather than George Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney, or, god forbid, Sarah Palin.

    I think that people like you who demand ideological purity, whether on the left or the right, doom themselves to irrelevance by taking a position which denies any possibility of consensus or compromise.

    Gene,

    I didn’t expect you to agree on that point. I just don’t think that it is worth debating people’s motives (especially in the face of their actions), nor do I think that motives form the foundation for a strong political argument. I’d much rather judge a politician by their quantifiable actions and the results of those actions than to try and establish what someone’s motives were—I think they all pretty much boil down to acting in the perceived best interests of oneself and whatever groups one feels affinity for.

    Mike,

    I, too, am a product of my training and my training doesn’t tell me squat about motive. It does, however, give me insight into predicting the sort of results that might be achieved by various actions as well as a desire for arguments to be decided on their quantitative merits rather than more qualitative standards.

    On the issue of leaders believing themselves better informed, I would point out that while they may have access to more information, they also have their perception of the world warped by the layers of bureaucracy around them. It is axiomatic that the President of the United States has the most distorted view of the world of any human. Very few leaders, in my opinion, take this into account.

  81. Tony C. said: “This is, in the political sense, another form of market failure; because the elections are winner take all and personally expensive to win. The market fails us here because the rewards are not incremental: A little involvement does not produce a little win, a little more involvement does not produce more of a win. A job has the potential of incremental rewards; work a little harder, learn a little more, and you are a little more valuable and get rewarded. Develop skill and expertise in an area, and become even more valuable.

    I agree that this is a failure of the political “market”, but I would also point out that it is also an untapped arbitrage opportunity. If a method by which people can achieve incremental benefits in politics can be devised it should be able to outcompete the current corrupted paradigm.

  82. Tom says: … is your real name Winston Smith?

    I am an independent thinker and my thoughts are my own, I subscribe to the philosophy of nobody else, living or dead, although on specific points I do agree with the reasoning of others.

    Tom says: I also wonder if you are projecting onto everyone else your desire to control others through violent means (which you seem to be proud of and consider to be just plain common sense).

    I think it is common sense; if you don’t think so you think like a pouting child.

    There are only a few ways to defend against predators that would use force to get their way. (I don’t count surrender or compliance as a “defense”.)

    1) Talk (Reasoning, persuasion, diplomacy, bargaining). But some predators reject talk and just take what they want.

    2) Thwarting, escape, or passive defense. Making it difficult for the predator to just take what they want. One can build fences, or refuse to work until a change occurs, or run away or hide, because those make the job difficult.

    3) Threats. Similar to (2), with humans we can often make predators back off with threats of consequences, financial or physical. But if a predator does not respond to (1) or (2), the threat must be plausible to the predator.

    4) Violence. Fight back.

    If (1) and (2) and (3) fail, and they often do, then using force to defend against predators is the only way to stop the predation. That is life. Talk doesn’t always work. Passive defenses do not always work and sometimes running away is the equivalent of giving the predator whatever they want. Threats do not work if the predator believes they are empty threats.

    There is a reason for war and violent revolutions (like our own), sometimes the predator (like King George) will not respond to (1) and there is no effective way to implement (2) without losing everything or becoming effective slaves. Sometimes the only options are surrender or fight.

    Tom says: It never ceases to amaze me that statist voters don’t understand that there is blood on their hands.

    I understand that. So what? As long as the blood is the blood of predators, they got what they deserve. In cases where it isn’t, we are the predators and should pay reparations, in the case of honest mistakes, or somebody should get what they deserve, in the cases of intentional harm.

    Tom says: For the benefits of the few worthwhile things government does

    I reject that characterization; it isn’t a “few,” it is life preserving.

    Tom says: (that could be easily achieved through entirely voluntary associations with small groups of people),

    I reject that premise as well. Just like the Aynish you are incapable of adult reasoning and understanding that the outliers of human psychology are the problem, there are people that will only be thwarted by force. And despite being a tiny percentage, it is easy for them to find each other and gang up with a leader in their own self-interests, and when the gang is large it profits greatly by applying overwhelming murdering force to your “small groups,” often by ambush or in opportunistic strikes that do not lose them any men, and taking everything they have. Your small groups cannot defend against the Mongol Horde led by Genghis Khan.

    Tom says: the statist is willing to tolerate massive criminality and the degradation of the human race by government.

    No, we aren’t. It is thrust upon us, just as you think government is thrust upon you. We are no more “willing” to tolerate it than you are “willing” to tolerate the government under which you live. You and I both DO tolerate it, because there is no viable alternative for us; but we do not do so willingly.

    Tom says: It is a complete failure of imagination of narcissistic control freaks and the total denial of the poverty, suffering and wholesale killing created by governments that has brought us here.

    No it isn’t, we do not deny poverty, suffering and wholesale killing. The lack of realistic imagination is all yours, you think you can get by without government. But there are places in the world without effective governments, like Somalia, and they are awash in poverty, oppression, unanswered violence, what we would call criminality and even slavery. Your imagination of how “people” would act without a government is just an unattainable fantasy. The truth is when most people get hungry or desperate and feel like their only alternatives are severe losses (like starvation or losing a child or losing their home or property) or violence, they will employ violence.

    Others jump straight to violence, because without a credible threat or worry of retaliation or punishment, violence works to get what they want.

    Tom says: What kind of human being is so concerned about being protected from harm that he tolerates the mass murder of innocent people by his “protector” merely because this “protector” is supported by war profiteers?

    Presuming you are an American or Brit, You. What have you done to stop that? Nothing, and certainly nothing effective. You are “tolerating” it. What is your motivation for “tolerating” it? Protecting yourself from the harm that would result as a consequence of your refusal to “tolerate” it, I presume.

    In general I reject the premise, we do not “tolerate” it, it is thrust upon us. Government is not answering to us. That does not mean government is a bad idea, it means our current form of government has flaws in it that are resulting in corruption by the rich.

    What you fail to understand is that “being rich” is just a form of power and coercion. Anarchy won’t work because there will always be a top 1% in terms of predatory inclinations, and there will always be a bottom 10% in terms of being easy prey, and if the 99% do not have rules to prevent the predation, backed up by threats of violence, and when necessary actual violence to prove those threat are real, the predators will consume their prey from the bottom up, getting stronger with every bite, until the predators present an overwhelming force that rules everybody; a dictatorship.

    We do not tolerate it; we have a problem, without any easy solution, that we have not addressed. Anarchy is not the answer, the endgame of that has been played out many dozens (or hundreds) of times in the past few thousand years and we know where that path leads.

    Tom says: And people who believe in self-rule (as opposed to minority or majority rule), voluntary associations and non-aggression are naive idiots who secretly want to kill and be selfish?????

    One or the other. I suspect you are naive. You refuse to detail how your anarchic society is going to deal with the sociopaths, or defend themselves against them. Without a plan on how to defend against roving gangs of violent predators, you have no plan. When we look at the “society” in places like Somalia, that is exactly what we see: roving gangs of violent predators. Because even if YOU reject government, they do not, there is strength in numbers, and they can take more from victims together with less risk than they could ever take alone, so they submit to their own internal government that punishes violence and disobedience amongst themselves, in order to reap the rewards of cooperative predation.

    The only way to stop them is to present a larger force, which has to be organized. That organization is “government.”

    Tom says: Thoreau: government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

    That is a fantasy. Men will never be “prepared” for that, they wouldn’t be human if they did. Some people that deserve a loss refuse to accept it, that is human nature, and to prevent the loss they engage in predation or violence upon others. That is human nature.

    Some people suffer a loss at random or by accident, through nobody else’s fault, but blame others for it, and retaliate against them. Heck, sometimes they retaliate even though their loss was not the fault of the person they retaliated against. That is human nature too. (for example, if Adam kills Bill in clearly fair self defense, and Bill’s brother Colin then assaults or kills Adam, for being the cause of Bill’s death.)

    Men will never be ready for no government, that will never happen, there will always be predators among us, there will always be the 10% of people least able to defend themselves against the predators (mentally or physically or ideologically), and there will always be a need for an organized collective defense against the predators.

    The solution to a bad, corrupt, or violent government is not zero government, it is a different form of government, one more responsive to the people with effective restraints against overstepping its purpose. Exactly how we do that is something to figure out, in my view government is still evolving and the best solutions have not been found; but we are better off (less predated upon) with an imperfect government than with none at all.

  83. Slart: If a method by which people can achieve incremental benefits in politics can be devised it should be able to outcompete the current corrupted paradigm.

    The problem is not invention, it is my job (and yours and basically all research scientists) to invent new things that work in the real world. The problem here is getting something into production.

    The scheme I devised above might work, alternative “ranking” voting systems proven to better satisfy voters might work, laws on government transparency might work, laws against lobbying might work, laws against politicians becoming lobbyists for, say, the duration of their last term in office might work (2R,4P,6S years).

    Unfortunately I see no way to get any of those into production without raising many, many millions of dollars.

  84. Slarti,

    I agree that this, or any President has an extremely distorted view of the world. My assertion though is that their tendency would be to believe themselves the “best” informed and there is the basis of the errors they make. Then too the sycophants that surround any powerful leader tend to laud their wisdom and thus further muddy the waters.

  85. Mike S: As in corporations, I am not so sure we need a president or CEO.

    For example, it is possible to organize a company such that the top of the pyramid is flat; there is no single executive decision maker, period.

    In fact, most corporations are technically organized this way: The CEO answers to the Board of Directors and is subordinate to them, and can be fired by them. There are rules within the Board for making decisions, by majority vote, and for breaking stalemates, and so on. (for example, in a tie vote it may be the status quo prevails; i.e. there is no change made. Or the tie may be decided by net seniority or Time in Grade. Or the votes “For” a proposal can break the proposal into parts to be separately voted upon, and so on).

    I see no reason a Board could not have more than one subordinates, and I have seen that done in a company that had two locations in different states.

    A country could be run by a Congress, with subordinates like our fifteen existing Cabinet level officers. There would BE no Commander in Chief, that would be the title of the Secretary of Defense.

    In both a large corporation and in the government, there is almost never a need for an instantaneous, gut-level decision. If there is, provisions can be made for the appropriate Secretary to make such a decision (like the Chief Operating Officer of a corporation often has leeway to make emergency expenditures and decisions beyond their budget if a crisis occurs (like a factory explosion or a health risk with their product)).

    But the “temporal breadth” for top level officer decisions is typically on the quarterly or even annual judgment level; and there would be time for debate by the Congress for setting even longer term guidance for their Cabinet level subordinates.

    I think many of the issues (like the ones you bring up) caused by a concentration of power can effectively be addressed by figuring out how to diffuse the power; that would also have the effect of making the offices less attractive to megalomaniacs and sociopaths.

  86. Our POTUS has a “colored” history beyond the surreal.

    Of his true history and nature, I’m a student.

    Be that as it may, the POTUS, his Administration and handlers, are of exceptional, extra-ordinary talent. They poked through the white man’s veil in superior fashion; beating the powers that be at their own game. Making Hillary the Sec of State to assure she wouldn’t divide the party in 2012 was genius. The Administrations handling of the bigot Bush’s leaving a disaster already made, with an even greater disaster on the horizon

    Brilliant!

    That being said, the supposition that we need many Captains’ of the ship is absurd in the extreme.

    All military machines, governments, businesses, non profits and such – must have a decision maker. You can have a Board, a Senate, a Committee, the populace – or who you – pick that decision maker. But it MUST be a sole authority commanding. Could you really envision a co-President Obama, Biden and Hillary?

    Really!

  87. Side Bar to my immediate above comment.

    There are many things that I would love to put my foot up the arse of our commander chief for – as being so very disappointing thereof.

  88. Tony,

    I agree that having one person as Top Dog might have better alternatives. As I quoted in my piece “the problem is not in the stars…….”. Many with authoritarian personalities long for a strong leaders and too many others long to be strong leaders.

  89. Tony,

    The things that you mention would be the goals of what I’m suggesting—in other words, I think we need to find innovative means of achieving those goals in a incremental manner starting at the grassroots level.

    I don’t regard this as impossible as it is essentially what the alliance between the fundamentalist evangelical Christians and the neocons already did and, if anything, the advent of social media makes such efforts more effective now.

    Mike,

    We all have confirmation biases which accentuate the distortions in our perception of the world. It is hard for people like you and I to step outside our bubble and view ourselves with any kind of objectivity. I would imagine that the same thing would be nigh impossible for any modern POTUS. I would also note that the POTUS, at least theoretically, has access to more information than any other person on the planet, but this does not mean that they are the “best informed”. That is a function not of the amount of data collected nor the amount of information mined from that data, but rather of the amount of useful intelligence gained from analysis of such information.

    I think this is a point that is very poorly understood in the whole Snowden mess—the data collected by the NSA really isn’t what’s important (the data is out there and can be obtained one way or another by anyone who wants it badly enough and has the resources), it’s what the NSA is able to do with the data that is significant—and the Constitution is mute on the issue of data analysis. You saw what I could do by collecting just some of the data freely distributed to anyone by the servers of this very blog and subjecting it to some very mundane data mining and analysis. By how many orders of magnitude do you think the NSA’s capabilities and resources exceed my own?

    We all leave a wake of metadata strewn behind us like garbage and just like the police don’t need a warrant to look at someone’s garbage, I don’t think there is any Constitutional protection for the privacy of metadata and I’m not at all sure that there should be.

    Sorry to veer off topic here, but I’ve been meaning to say something about this for a while now and this seemed like as good a place as any…

  90. Slarti,

    You raise an interesting point re: metadata, but I’m traveling and limited to an IPhone. I will say though that the problem with all this data is that it overloads human powers of anlysis and thus like statistics can be skewed. Is trustworthy AI ready…Hal?

  91. So Laserhaas my web friend,

    Those that usually do are kept obtuse so that those that know can be assured that they will do….what they do….

  92. Mike,

    Give me the NSA’s budget and a decade and I think I could solve that problem easily. I wouldn’t go for true AI, but instead I would favor automated analytical tools to greatly extend the ability of human analysts. In other words, not HAL, but an army of cyborg ninja analysts (ninja cyborg analysts?).

    Then for an encore I’ll invent psychohistory. ;-)

  93. Anonymously Yours;

    Today was a good day for federal venality benefiting the organized criminality benefiting Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital.

    Though it is testified in parts 19 & 35 that the parties were told by the federal police – NOT to do a Crime! They went ahead and did it in secret – AnyWay.

    Though this is extensively heinous & egregious assaults upon the Constitution of the United States by approved Officers of the Court

    the U.S. Trustee’s office and Chief Justice over eToys said its no biggie.

    Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital are Above the Law!

    That’s Unacceptable!

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/19/us-goldmansachs-etoys-settlement-idUSBRE98I0VL20130919

  94. Anonymously Yours;

    I’ll post the email sent today, by me, to the autocrats;
    where I promised to wipe their crap eating grins off their faces.

    Will link it – when I do.

  95. Meanwhile, here’s the beginning of the saga in the vernacular of a United States Trustee who had some sense of honor (before he chose discretion over valor and resigned).

  96. Anonymously Yours;

    What gives with the misspell of names – 1st Your(s) and now mine’s

    Haas (not Hass)

    I might be one of those – but I don’t go around flashing the card.

  97. Another side bar note response to “What was the result”.

    Paul Traub became partners with fraudster Marc Dreier (doing 20 years) – Ponzi Schemer Tom Petters (doing 50 years) and unlawfully worked both sides of Okun 1031 Tax Group with his purported ex partner Michael Weiss handling Creditors/Trustee and Traub handling Okun.

    Okun was railroaded with 100 years
    (like me- he put all his eggs in one basket)

    But – I’ve got a cool secret pic of Traub and Biden;
    who was fined $219,000 by FEC

    For……..?

  98. Laserhaas,

    Poor vision… That’s all… Nothing intentional…. Unless it’s my sister…. And spell her name with a K instead of a C……

    Then again… I could blame it on the new IO7…. But, it’s me… Sorry….

  99. Mike: is that it overloads human powers of analysis and thus like statistics can be skewed.

    I’m not so sure about that. A desktop computer can compute payroll for a million workers without breaking a sweat. That would certainly overwhelm any human, but the “analysis” of computing payroll (even unusual payrolls with all sorts of legal issues, garnishments, hazard pay, etc) is well within the analytical ability of a single human. It is just repeated a million times.

    The same thing applies to metadata: computing the degrees of separation between two people based on a network graph of their phone connections, using bayesian analysis, is pretty straightforward; and doing that for a few hundred million citizens is also pretty straightforward. Add in the websites they visited, the tweets they sent and read, the emails they sent, and the problem does not get much more difficult really; we process a few trillion connections instead of a few billion, but we just throw more hardware at the problem; a thousand desktop computers instead of one. And the NSA can literally afford about ten million processors if it needs that.

    For example, that whole idea of using phone call metadata to figure out both a “closeness” metric and hierarchy is easily understandable by one statistician, and probably occurred in the first place to just one statistician, and can be easily implemented by just one statistician / programmer. That particular algorithm is the type of thing one finds pretty obvious in retrospect, and processing a few trillion records is not much of an obstacle.

  100. laserhaas: But it MUST be a sole authority commanding.

    No, it does not have to be. The vast majority of corporations are run by a board of directors; and in the vast majority of boards, the Chairman of the Board does not have absolute power, quite often he has one vote like everybody else, and sometimes a tie-breaking vote if there is a tie.

    Most large corporations run just fine, the CEO, the President, everybody is subordinate to the Board, and the Board is not a sole individual, but a committee.

    You just do not know what you are talking about; tens of thousands of very large and very profitable corporations around the world have no singular person in charge; the CEO and other Chief level officers all serve at the pleasure of a committee to whom they are subordinate: The Board of Directors.

  101. Mike: Many with authoritarian personalities long for a strong leaders and too many others long to be strong leaders.

    Those desires could still be realized, just not at the top without supervision. One can still be a strong leader of the Department of Energy, but answer to Congress, just like a CEO answers to his Board of Directors (and they theoretically answer to the Stockholders (which in my view should be quite a bit more of an explicit and real subordination)).

    The point is to diffuse the power, to the point that it becomes unlikely for one person to gain imperial power, as our Presidency has. When great power is wielded, I think it should always be by the vote of rather large committees. For example, we have about 856 federal judges in this country; I would compose the Supreme Court from the most senior 5% of those, to the nearest odd number (43 of them), as a 50/50 split with their existing duties. If somebody retires or dies, some senior judge somewhere becomes the newest Supreme Court judge.

  102. Mr. Tony C.;

    Before you go on “board” being so condescending, it might be prudent for you to do some que’ing of the party you attempt to demean. For your remark that;

    “you don’t know what your talking about”

    is as presumptive of facts not in evidence as your erroneous contention that “most Corporations = a Committee”.

    America’s citizenry voted Obama into the WH;
    that surely doesn’t mean Americans are running the country.

    Boards chose the Captain, CEO what have you – who is the “sole” decision maker. If the “board” (and/or committee) becomes dissatisfied with the “sole” decision maker – they have the power to replace him/her – with another decision maker.

    Yours truly has handled over 1000 entities and over many billions in assets – and I would most certainly qualify as an expert witness on such subjects.

    What you should do is take your vehicle, place the wheel in the middle of the car – between you and your spouse;

    and see how well it works – having 2 hands trying to make the decision!

  103. Yes RICO is a good tool when the government wants to use it…. Discretionary when anyone else try….

    I agree with you about the boards and CEOs to wit….. Tyco…. The cable company out of Tennessee and the ilk…. Though they were publicly traded… It was the personal piggy bank of the founders…… If I recall menswear house just fired it founder…. The details are not public yet….

  104. laserhaas: I still do not think you know what you are talking about. Boards are not required to give the CEO full control, and I have been on Boards that did not. The CEO serves at the pleasure of the Board, and the Board is as in charge as it wishes to be: Period. If they wish to restrict or limit the range of decisions the CEO can make, they can.

    For example, the Board can remove the authority of the CEO to acquire a company, or sell the company. The Board can remove the authority of the CEO to issue stock or bonds or establish any new line of credit, the Board can prevent the CEO from even opening another factory, or another line of business; I have seen Boards require their approval for the development of new products.

    Unlike voters, Boards can retain as much power over the company as they choose to do. We cannot elect a President but demand that any non-defensive military action be approved by majority national vote; but a Board can do the equivalent of that.

    Your statement was categorical, that there “MUST” be a single decision maker, and that is simply false. Driving a car and running a country are not equivalent tasks. We have emergency responders, both military and civilian, to deal with the immediate consequences of something like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. But like those, there is plenty of time for a Board (or Congress) to meet and decide what to do in response, and our retaliation in both those circumstances was far from instantaneous. There is no need, in a government, for a Chief Executive to be embodied in one person. Ever.

  105. When the msm makes a case by innuendo against a party (Tyco) – you can most assuredly presume there’s more than meets the eye going on.

    IMO Tyco and Okun 1031 Tax Group were railroaded for veiled agenda in the same manner as Senator Ted Stevens, attorney Dicky Scruggs, Governor Siegelman and Sonny Bono.

    As for issues of RICO, I;ve been studying the 1970 “CIVIL” RICO Act arduously, for a couple of months now (after a retired justice pointed me in the direction). His Honor’s exact words “One of the most abused statutes by counsels is 1962(c); and one of the least utilized, but most beneficial to U.S. citizenry is the “Prosecutorial Gap” proviso of 1962(c) that permits a citizen to become a “PAID” (via treble damages) “Private Attorney General”.

    Then His Honor suggested I study the PAGA for California and citizen’s arrest powers of California first; before I research Civil RICO.

    Difference is, the California Private Attorney General Act puts one in the stead of the State as Prosecutor and PAGA grants no liberty to be compensated as a victim. Whereas Congress provides Federal Civil RICO for “Private Attorney Generals” to be motivated to utilize 1962(c) with the super incentive of treble damages.

    That is why counsels try to “stretch” the facts (most often under reaches of logic via Mail/Wire Fraud “predicate act” claims); and they get spanked under Rule 11. (Sometimes counsels get spanked under Rule 11 sanctions for failure {in the courts mind} to do proper due diligent research of the facts).

    In our cases (The Learning Co, FAO Schwartz, Kay Bee, Stage Stores and eToys – etc.,) the evidence is so overwhelming, profuse and undeniable, Mitt lied on his Federal Election Campaign Finance Office of Government Ethics 278 Form – to “retroactively” dodge February 1999 to August 2001.

    When the scheme (belief) that all the records were destoryed that would be contrary of the Perjury – failed; that is when Romney’s team claimed he was “retroactively” retired from August 2001 back to February 1999.

    Though I will lay the foundation of who Pitten’s is by that item, I’m not sure if I’ll include it as one of the “Count’s”.

    Be that as it may, a Private Attorney General under 1962(c) needs only two (2) Felony violations (“predicate acts” as per Section 1961) – for the successful prosecution of Civil RICO.

    My adversaries so ardently “believed” Mitt was going to become that they’ve already confessed to 36 “;predicate act” violations; and I’ve got them on 300 total counts.

    Most importantly, though the requisite of evidence weight in Civil RICO need only meet the “preponderance” standard. My proof is far beyond “clear and convincing” as we have capitulations already part of the public docket record (Evidence Hearing March 1, 2005 – Depositions February 9, 2005 and written Confessions {“Responses” to allegations} of January 25, 2005).

    Finally, I’ve no concern over the most stringent of requisites (Fed.R.Civ.P 9 (b)) – as the mandate to articulate fraud by specificity & particularity is readily apparent from the Time/Date stamp of acts of fraud, obstruction, bribery, Scheme to Fix Fees, Grand Larceny, Perjury etc – are chiefly found in the public docket records of the FAO Schwartz, Kay Bee and eToys case docket).

    By the way – the 3rd Circuit has also affirmed Congress coin of phrase of this particular “association in fact” perfectly apropos (Per Precedent of In re Arkansas) – Romney’s RICO Gang is a “Bankruptcy Ring”.

    What I’ve got to do is stop going to the bullies (tyrants) who are beating me up without remorse and change venue. Fortunately for me, the DE Bankruptcy Court and Clerk violated Federal Procedure when the Court unlawfully withheld my Motion against Romney & Gang from the public docket record. The Clerk acknowledges it was received on October 24, 2012; but inexplicably (intolerably) withheld it from posting until November 6, 2012 (to make sure the media did not get wind of the NEWS).

    Then the judge went further off the deep end and forbade any further attempts of justice by me; with an order that the Clerk is to refuse my filings.

    So it is NY, Wash D.C. or California.

    Wonder which one would get more News attention?

  106. J.H.;

    Absolutely apropos of the virus of cognitive dissonance of our times; and a full demonstration of the lack of common sense incestuous & systemic.

    Thanks for the video link.

  107. laserhass: And anybody with half a brain can read a typical corporate charter and know you are wrong, as well. The Board — a committee — has final authority and delegates that authority as it sees fit. If anybody has ever read enough financial news to see a Board fire a CEO — They know the Board had final authority and the CEO was a subordinate. Lie to us and yourself all you want, it won’t change the reality of the legal documents.

  108. It only takes 1/2 a brain to live the experiences you pretend to understand and less than 1/2 of one to up the ante on how condescending one can be without proper foundation apropos.

    Until you can debate like a gentlemen, our discussion is ended.

  109. laserhaas: Until you can debate like a gentlemen, our discussion is ended.

    Well I can keep up my end of that bargain, so that sounds like a wonderful plan.

  110. Excellent Laserhaas …. Next scoop you get about an iop let me know… That’s a hell of a deal…. The 99% should be forced to give back to the disadvantaged 1%….. Harry Hardwanker would be a good name….

  111. For the interested: Stephen Ferris Study on shared leadership.

    Stephen Ferris is a finance professor and Rogers Chair of Money, Credit and Banking at the University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business.

    Ferris has studied the efficacy of the co-CEO model and argues that it is a highly effective way of running a business. “Co-CEOs are ideal in many situations, especially when the executives provide oversight of each other’s actions and have complementary skill sets,” he explains. “It’s actually a very successful model.” Ferris researched 111 shared-governance examples.

    In the article, the final example (inappropriately titled “Too Many Cooks”) details an actually very successful company with five co-CEOs, which basically follows the model I suggested: The five co-CEOs head up five departments in the company, with some overlap: New Business Marketing. IT, Finance, HR, and Business Development. So the Department heads are basically the steering committee. The company has grown 600% in less than four years.

    Aspen Insurance has assets of $9.3 billion and 670 employees in eight countries; it is run by co-CEOs.

    Blackberry (originally RIM) was founded and brought to success, nearly $20B in sales, over ten years by co-CEOs Lazaridis and Balsillie.

  112. Apart from sending sales letters, you have the right equipment to produce the
    mail pieces for the marketing package, it is folloeed up with a phone call or with further mailings.

    And when you get the biggest list that you can focus even on a smaller group of individuals who live in certain postal areas and so forth.

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