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  • Robin
    Citizen of Tanelorn
    • Apr 2011
    • 235

    #46
    Originally posted by opaloka View Post
    I was with you until the part about not voting. The extemists love it when you don't vote. They love it when the only people that show up are the ones that support them without question.
    I'm reluctant to comment on the USA since I'm not there and it's not my country so I don't understand things there that well.

    However, from the outside, it looks very much like it is here. Both parties are running campaigns funded by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, etc. I go by the old rule of "if you want to know who someone's working for, find out who pays them". Not that the rule's really necessary, you can also see it from looking at their actions and seeing who benefits from them.

    To take just one example, consider Goldman Sachs, the company from which Barack Obama recieved the most money in 2008. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve (and former economic advisor to GW Bush), Ben Bernanke, has been friends with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (who has been reported, by the Washington Examiner, to have visited the White House at least 10 times) since they were at Harvard together, and it shows. The revolving door between Goldman Sachs and the US Government which results in GS employees moving in and out of high-level government positions - resulting in the potential for massive conflicts of interest - is well known. Former Treasury Secretary Hank Poulson for example, a former CEO of GS, was also the man responsible for the bank bailouts. So it's not surprising that when AIG was bailed out by the US Government, the main beneficiaries appear to have been Goldman Sachs again - especially unsurprising when they were the only Wall Street firm to participate in the meetings at the Federal Reserve which decided AIG's fate.

    So that's what you get with the Democrats. And with the Republicans? You'd get exactly the same kind of things. That's not government, it's just corruption - makes no difference who you vote for, you get the same thing.

    The same thing, but with a different media spin to keep everyone distracted from the real issues and maintain the pretence that you have a choice between two parties with different policies and that choosing one or the other will make a difference. It won't and it doesn't - it can't.

    Voting just endorses the whole sorry business.

    If Obama had really been the "change you can believe in", if he had started delivering even a fraction of what was promised during his election campaign (instead of delivering big-time to his backers and trampling all over the constitution), wouldn't more than 15% of the population have turned out to vote Democrat in 2010?

    Comment

    • opaloka
      digital serf 41221z/74
      • Jun 2006
      • 3746

      #47
      Different policies do make a difference in people's lives. I could go on forever about policy and I'll try to post later with more detail, but I think you'd agree that being able to go to a doctor for cancer treatment or not losing a house because of medical bills makes a difference. College grants make a difference.

      Just because GS gave him money doesn't mean they control him. I don't think the University of California tells Obama what he should do, they gave him more than GS did:

      http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/co...?cid=N00009638

      And a lot of people at GS are losing a lot of money because of the financial reform bill Obama admin. helped write and he signed. Policy really does matter, whether we want a sytem wide change or not. I really have to run but I'll post later.

      Comment

      • opaloka
        digital serf 41221z/74
        • Jun 2006
        • 3746

        #48
        Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
        In Brazil, voting is mandatory. Yet, to vote you need to be in your hometown. If you are not in town, you must go to the voting section and sign a paper telling the almighty government of Brazil you did not vote because you were off home . As I don't live in my hometown, I have not voted in many years, except for a year I happened to be visiting my parents..
        We have 'absentee' voting here if we are out of the country or away. The Republicans have been trying to restrict it except for active military who are more likely to vote for them.

        Comment

        • Robin
          Citizen of Tanelorn
          • Apr 2011
          • 235

          #49
          Originally posted by opaloka View Post
          Different policies do make a difference in people's lives.
          I would agree that there are some differences, but I would also argue that they don't really affect the big picture. I feel they're mainly about keeping the game going - they always make an effort to differentiate between what they used to call the middle and working classes. But the main thrust has still been to squeeze everyone downwards - whether we're earning nothing, 20K or 100K we've all been suffering from a gradual erosion in our living standards since the Reagan/Thatcher years, masked by giving us lots of credit to let us maintain the illusion of a decent lifestyle. But that's ending now - which was always part of the plan. Now we're just starting to pay for it.

          Over that time there has been a massive distribution of wealth upwards and we're all essentially scrabbling around at the bottom of the heap fighting for scraps. When they talk about the gap between the rich and poor growing, most people think of themselves as "in the middle" and are encouraged to despise the workshy scroungers at the bottom, feel superior and lucky it's not them and vote Republican - or Conservative here. But, in reality, it's the gap between the obscenely rich and everyone else that's been growing. They call it the 1% but it's more like 1% of 1%. There was a theatre company here in Scotland who called themselves 7:84, a reference to a statistic that 7% of the UK population owned 84% of the wealth. That statistic was from 1966. It's hard to imagine what the figures would be now but I'm sure 1:99 wouldn't be close.

          I'm not saying the example of the availability, or lack thereof, of medical treatment is unimportant. I'd love to be in a position to get the treatment I need, but can't get. But to those in the tiny elite who control the real money it's completely unimportant - just one of the many tools they use to divide and distract us.

          Comment

          • Heresiologist
            Mothra Worshipper
            • Jan 2012
            • 1009

            #50
            I'm fairly sympathetic to the not voting position.

            I used to invert the old "if you didn't vote, you got no right to complain argument" to: "if you voted, you got no right to complain because if your team lost you're just a poor loser and if your team won and they didn't do what you thought you would you're just an idiot."

            But I think there's some truth to what opaloka mentioned about extremists loving low voter turnouts. Except that I'd put it more bluntly: low voter turnout favours conservatives, at least in North America.

            The major conservative parties in Canada and the US have a long record of ignoble actions that have the end result of limiting voter turnout.

            But yeah, oddly enough it seems that tossing a vote out every few years is not enough. Unless you're a radical conservative interested in moving the Overton Window further right.

            For myself, I've taken to casting some ballots. The voting station is less than 10 minutes away and both my federal and provincial MPs seem alright enough. Sure, party politics is a lodestone around their necks, but both of them seem decently connected to the communities they represent. Besides my federal MP helped my local comic store guy out with some issue and also helped my favourite punky hairdresser girl. That's good enough for me. And at the provincial level, voting for a filipina lesbian who used to drive a city bus is good enough for me as well.

            Still... like I said before throwing a vote away every few years is apparently not enough to change anything substantial. Can you vote to change your economic system? Of course not, there is no alternative. Right?
            Last edited by Heresiologist; 08-13-2012, 12:25 PM.

            Comment

            • zlogdan
              Hex data reader and professional pawn
              • Mar 2012
              • 1931

              #51
              Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post

              I used to invert the old "if you didn't vote, you got no right to complain argument" to: "if you voted, you got no right to complain because if your team lost you're just a poor loser and if your team won and they didn't do what you thought you would you're just an idiot."
              If there is something I regret is to have been a huge supporter of PT, Lula's and current president party in the past. With my vote they perpetuated them selves sucking the necks of the poorest by giving them some illusions of better lives.

              I really admire our president Dilma, even though I disagree of many of her opinions, she is a strong leader, and if you asked me, I wish there were more women like her in politics here. Although, she alone cannot do much to change the perspectives. I am starting to enjoy the idea that I live in progressive nation with an emergent economy, still I want to see this in practice.
              "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
              "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

              Comment

              • Robin
                Citizen of Tanelorn
                • Apr 2011
                • 235

                #52
                Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
                Still... like I said before throwing a vote away every few years is apparently not enough to change anything substantial. Can you vote to change your economic system? Of course not, there is no alternative. Right?
                And as long we insist on getting caught up in the diversion that passes for a democratic process, we're not going to do anything to come up with an alternative, so we might as well give up on the system now and try to come up with something else that is workable - that's where my logic seems to be leading me anyway.

                Comment

                • Heresiologist
                  Mothra Worshipper
                  • Jan 2012
                  • 1009

                  #53
                  Originally posted by Robin View Post
                  Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
                  Still... like I said before throwing a vote away every few years is apparently not enough to change anything substantial. Can you vote to change your economic system? Of course not, there is no alternative. Right?
                  And as long we insist on getting caught up in the diversion that passes for a democratic process, we're not going to do anything to come up with an alternative, so we might as well give up on the system now and try to come up with something else that is workable - that's where my logic seems to be leading me anyway.
                  I think what has happened is that one component of the democratic process has been held up as the entirety and so become something of a mere spectacle or circus (Now with less bread!).

                  All those Depression, Post-War, turbulent 60s era social programs that are getting rolled back, these were won solely at the voting booth?
                  Last edited by Heresiologist; 08-14-2012, 01:19 PM.

                  Comment

                  • opaloka
                    digital serf 41221z/74
                    • Jun 2006
                    • 3746

                    #54
                    I'd argue they were won in both arenas at once. They were not won by turning away from the political process. Those victories are being rolled back, at least in the US, by people engaging in the political process and electing people who want to roll them back.

                    I think vision is a wonderful thing but you've got to have at least one foot in the practical, which means working with what's there.

                    I'm convinced that evolution works, revoluition on the other hand just as often turns things backwards (Napoleon, Cromwell, Stalin) and defeats the purpose.

                    Comment

                    • opaloka
                      digital serf 41221z/74
                      • Jun 2006
                      • 3746

                      #55
                      Originally posted by Robin View Post
                      Originally posted by opaloka View Post
                      Different policies do make a difference in people's lives.
                      There was a theatre company here in Scotland who called themselves 7:84, a reference to a statistic that 7% of the UK population owned 84% of the wealth. That statistic was from 1966. .
                      This was the first thing I found that was relevant:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_...Kingdom#Wealth

                      Comment

                      • Robin
                        Citizen of Tanelorn
                        • Apr 2011
                        • 235

                        #56
                        Originally posted by opaloka View Post
                        This was the first thing I found that was relevant:

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_...Kingdom#Wealth
                        Yeah, I couldn't find any really useful or accurate figures either. The trouble with HMRC figures is they only show what people are being assessed for tax on - most of the wealth of the truly wealthy is either hidden from Revenue and Customs so they don't pay any tax on it, or is in a form that's simply not relevant to HMRC. (The figures don't count personal possessions, for example, which would a bizarre way of asessing net worth - on that basis, I suspect the Queen won't be in the top 1%. HMRC have no interest in actual net worth, of course, that's not their function.) 1% owning 20% sounds bad enough, but it's clearly the tip of the iceberg - just 20% of the little bit that the taxman knows about.

                        What seems to particularly annoy people here is the huge amount of money that the system never sees - whether it's held in offshore accounts or just not declared. And, according to IRS figures from 2009, 1,470 individuals earning more than $1,000,000 annually faced a net tax liability of zero or less, so it sounds like the USA's similar. Again, all we can really see is the tip of the iceberg.

                        According to the New York times (from 2011), the top 1% of earners in the USA own more than one third of the wealth but, as they point out, that's the people with the highest incomes - many of those with the very highest net worth, don't work or receive any income. (Or, at least, don't admit to it). So they don't show up in the numbers - and that's where a lot of the really big money is. So I suspect IRS stats will be just as misleading as HMRC's when it comes to trying to assess an accurate picture of the real distribution of all wealth.

                        Comment

                        • Robin
                          Citizen of Tanelorn
                          • Apr 2011
                          • 235

                          #57
                          Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
                          All those Depression, Post-War, turbulent 60s era social programs that are getting rolled back, these were won solely at the voting booth?
                          I've always felt that fear - particularly fear of what seemed at the time to be a real threat of revolution - was the driving force behind, for example, getting our NHS. In the 30s we had the hunger marches and growth in communism (although the Scots brand of communism had far more to do with a demand for fairness and justice than with any Marxist theory).

                          Then they were forced to train those same people how to kill - when the soldiers came back victorious from the war and demanded something better, of course they got it. The process of clawing it back started almost immediately though - it was only 4 years before they started that process by introducing prescription charges.

                          We might have grown up and stopped trying to fight a class war but they never did - so we've now had 40 years of gradually losing everything that our grandparents won for us. If it happens slowly enough we don't even notice - or maybe we prefer not to notice so we don't feel forced to do something about it.

                          Comment

                          • zlogdan
                            Hex data reader and professional pawn
                            • Mar 2012
                            • 1931

                            #58
                            Heresiologist, here is one of the Canadian treasures IMnHO
                            http://www.brainwashed.com/godspeed/music.html

                            Godspeed you! black emperor

                            ( I have always wanted to listen to them more, and it seems they allow free downloads of lots of their songs ).
                            "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                            "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

                            Comment

                            • Heresiologist
                              Mothra Worshipper
                              • Jan 2012
                              • 1009

                              #59
                              Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
                              Heresiologist, here is one of the Canadian treasures IMnHO
                              http://www.brainwashed.com/godspeed/music.html

                              Godspeed you! black emperor

                              ( I have always wanted to listen to them more, and it seems they allow free downloads of lots of their songs ).
                              Agreed!

                              Comment

                              • dreeness
                                "Love in the Time of Sakutia"
                                • May 2012
                                • 191

                                #60
                                Originally posted by Robin View Post
                                Over that time there has been a massive distribution of wealth upwards and we're all essentially scrabbling around at the bottom of the heap fighting for scraps. When they talk about the gap between the rich and poor growing, most people think of themselves as "in the middle" and are encouraged to despise the workshy scroungers at the bottom, feel superior and lucky it's not them and vote Republican - or Conservative here. But, in reality, it's the gap between the obscenely rich and everyone else that's been growing. They call it the 1% but it's more like 1% of 1%. There was a theatre company here in Scotland who called themselves 7:84, a reference to a statistic that 7% of the UK population owned 84% of the wealth. That statistic was from 1966. It's hard to imagine what the figures would be now but I'm sure 1:99 wouldn't be close.

                                Something approximately along the same lines, from Jodi Dean's blog:


                                What will we see in 20 years (or earlier)? The amplification of the worst trends already present in our society: the super-rich sheltered in their gates communities and high-rises, defended by the military (inclusive of a militarized police) and their own private security forces. Private education would continue to educate their children. Private health care would ensure their health and longevity.
                                What about the rest of us? We will be free. Free to fight among ourselves--completely armed--for the scraps that remain. We will compete for scholarships--ostensibly proving the continuation of merit and opportunity. We will compete for grants for art, design, and various other sorts of contracts. We will work ever harder for ever less as public schools, roads, hospitals, and infrastructure declines. And when we resist, when we organize--the defense budget Ryan has secured will fund the drone warfare and surveillance used against us. Private prisons will provide housing.



                                Except, I doubt that such a state of affairs could be sustained for 20 years, things can only get increasingly frantic as there is more and more demand (and less and less supply) for petroleum and everything that depends on it.
                                The Ralph Retort

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