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Intro: "In a national broadcast exclusive interview, we speak with world-renowned political dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky about the release of more than 250,000 secret US State Department cables by WikiLeaks."

World-renowned political dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky discussing WikiLeaks release of State Department cables on Democracy Now!, 11/30/10. (video image: Democracy Now!)
World-renowned political dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky discussing WikiLeaks release of State Department cables on Democracy Now!, 11/30/10. (video image: Democracy Now!)

 

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+4 # Richard Nicolls 2010-12-02 02:59
Long, but a good read
 
 
+5 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-02 04:03
Listening, I began to more fully appreciate the lies we are told by our government. When Hilary Clinton talks about the concerns of the Arab world, to realize that she is only talking about the concerns of the US, Israel and the dictators they support...at the expense of the overwhelming difference of opinion that most of the people in the Arab world have, tells me indeed that neither the US, Israel or their client dictators give a damn about democracy or have any concern for what a majority of the people there think and want. It should not be surprising that like wise, I'd just bet that the powers that be don't give a damn what we think about anything either. Sometimes I think that the only time my government isn't lying to me is when a politician happens to have his/her mouth shut, all bets being off when the lips start moving.
Let's face it, Israel and the US are not honest brokers and neither bare any interest in promoting peace or justice for the Palestinians. Neither country intends to honor UN mandates. The best and most just thing that could happen in the middle east would be the dismantling of Israel and a return of the land to it's rightful owners, the Palestinians.
 
 
-7 # rock 2010-12-02 08:55
There he goes again - Noam quoting "public" opinion in countries where the "brutal dictators" he loathes control the news to bash the region's only democracy. Talk about profound hatred for democracy!
 
 
+4 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-03 01:28
Now,now rock...let's not confuse a profound hatred for America's abuse of democracy for hating democracy. And you miss a point he's making. He isn't citing the "brutal dictators"...he 's citing the sentiments of the people who live under those dictators, whose opinions by the way, differ substantially from their dictators. Also, I'd go as far as to say that it is possible to hate America and love democracy and this view is supported by the fact that the US isn't truly a democracy at all. We can't vote for anyone that wasn't already selected by someone else for us to vote on, so some would say our democracy is a democracy in name and appearance only, but not in fact. Some would argue that no one can have sufficient funding to run for any office if not backed by extremely powerful special interests, which excludes you and me.
I ask you rock, is it so far fetched to believe that a person like Noam Chomsky can actually quote public opinion in countries ruled by brutal dictators and not have even MORE credibility because those opinions are different and have more credibility than the opinions of those who oppress them? Your argument doesn't really hold up. What do you think?
 
 
0 # rock 2010-12-03 09:54
Well, Dan, I didn't say he was quoting the "Brutal Dictators," I just pointed out that they control the news in their countries, and of course we all know they use it to create fear and loathing so they can stay in power. Besides, as was pointed out elsewhere, those "polls" were probably conducted by somewhat less than neutral agencies.

I was surprised that Noam went out of his way to bash Israel without conceding that at least it has a pretty decent democracy going.

Where you live that you can't vote for anyone you want to . . . where I live it is very common to write in the names of people who have not been selected by someone else . . . and as we know, "write-ins" are know to win sometimes.

Of course I agree that out democracy is less than perfect, but perhaps you will admit that it's not enough to be backed by extremely powerful special interests, and sometimes people like you and me can be elevated to public office!

Bottom line, I think my argument does hold up.
 
 
+3 # genierae 2010-12-03 10:38
rock: One of the trademarks of democracy is social equality and so if Israel is a "pretty decent democracy", why aren't Palestinians treated equally? In my opinion, Israel's democracy is neither "pretty" nor "decent".
 
 
0 # rock 2010-12-03 21:48
I'll have to check on this . . . my impression was that Palestinians do have the vote in Israel. You are saying they don't?
 
 
+3 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-03 22:31
Quoting rock:
I'll have to check on this . . . my impression was that Palestinians do have the vote in Israel. You are saying they don't?

I believe they have the vote...and that when they don't vote according to what their Israel handlers expect of them, they get punished severely. That, as I understand it, is what Israel's treatment of the Gaza strip Palestinians is all about. They voted for Hamaas and Israel is punishing them violently for this. Does this cast any doubt on your assertions that Israel has a pretty decent democracy going?
 
 
-1 # rock 2010-12-04 01:05
I doubt that the Gaza Strip Palestinians get to vote in Israeli elections, since they are part of the Palestinian Authority, so that probably doesn't have much to do with the treatment you are referring to. My impression is that it has rather more to do with the thousands of rockets that have been fired upon Israel from Gaza.

Let's put it this way. The plight of "Palestinians" in Israel is considerably better than that of Jews in say, Syria or Iran, neh?
 
 
+2 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-04 15:11
Right you are. Israel didn't like how the Palestinians voted in the Gaza strip so they punished them. See? Israel doesn't respect democracy when it's practiced among the Palestinians themselves. As for the "thousands" of rockets launched from Gaza...don't believe everything you've heard. First of all, it was Israel that has breached every cease fire agreement made, first, not the Palestinians. As for the plight of the Jews in Syria, Iran, et al, at least they have a place to go...Israel. The Palestinians on the other hand, are hostages in their own land.
 
 
+1 # genierae 2010-12-04 19:33
rock: Its a fact that Israeli Jews can throw Palestinians who live in Israel, out of their homes, throw their belongings into the street, and then take over that home for their own. This happens regularly. How can this be a democracy?
 
 
0 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-03 22:02
Hmmm... Well I can't agree with you but will agree to disagree. Some things to consider: What neutral agencies can we rely on to know what the thoughts of a people are? And Israel is a pretty decent democracy? Really? And "write-ins" win? I didn't know that and would like to know more about that. And people like you and I can be elevated to public office? I don't know about you but I would be publicly eviscerated the moment I tried. Really!
Your argument is supported by some underlying assumptions that I would seriously question. None the less, I'd simply hope that you'd take another look at those assumptions.
Best regards.
 
 
-2 # rock 2010-12-04 01:10
Can't imagine a fine person like yourself being harmed in any way for trying to get elected, but if you insist . . .

The public opinion thing is something Noam brought up . . . I guess we could ask him what his sources are and try to assess how "neutral" and reliable they are.

Write ins . . . well, it looks like Lisa Murkowski might win, and, as I recall [I was pretty young then] Robert Bird or maybe it was Strom Thurmond once got elected as a write-in. Stuff like that happens!

Yours truly.
 
 
0 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-04 15:23
The "public opinion thing" that Noam brought up was a reference to a well respected, internationally known research organization that I believe he named. The results aren't surprising since a number of American research organizations have polled Iraqi citizens finding that 73% wanted the US to leave EVEN IF sectarian violence were to explode in the aftermath and life got even harder there. Besides, Noam himself is a highly regarded academician who references his sources extensively when he writes.
So indeed, write in's produce results...very rarely evidently. I have my doubts that this is significant.
As for my running for office, an idea that has some merit, you tell me how it is that an anticorporate, antiestablishme nt character would ever survive the excessively over funded assault that would occur. Frankly, I'd rather participate in movement politics from the inside...which I do.
 
 
+2 # tomo 2010-12-04 21:13
Rock: Noam tells you his sources is the Brokings Institute.
 
 
+4 # Activista 2010-12-02 11:01
The example below shows how distorted our democracy and media are - but also how "information" media is a plain propaganda for the military-indust rial-terrorist USrael complex.
THANK you Chomsky and RSN for filling the gap.
BTW - poll in Arab countries Chomsky is quoting could be taken by Al Jazeera, UN - etc.

"Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel, that’s 80 percent; the second threat is the United States, that’s 77 percent. Iran is listed as a threat by 10 percent," Chomsky says. "This may not be reported in the newspapers, but it’s certainly familiar to the Israeli and U.S. governments and the ambassadors. What this reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership"
 
 
+5 # genierae 2010-12-02 18:55
Wherever we look around the world, the common good of the people is being ignored. What we want doesn't matter, those in power have morphed into greedheads, and despite poll after poll, they do the opposite of what the people want. One more thing: There's a lot more of us than there are of them. Why are we putting up with this?
 
 
+3 # EPGAH 2010-12-02 23:36
We're putting up with this because no matter how many of us there are, we FEEL alone. We all chatter on this Website, but I bet we're at least double-digit miles apart.

There's also a profound sense of hopelessness. People "know" they can't do anything about it, so they DON'T do anything about it--some people even avoid TALKING about politics for that reason.

And of course, security is an issue: We're talking over lines owned by "them", and anyone you talk to could be an agent just trying to get you to say or do something incriminating!

Even if something DID happen: Let's say the people overthrew the leaders. What's to say that the Government set up instead would be any less corrupt? I think there was a Twilight Zone on that subject? The new leader became paranoid and even MORE repressive than his predecessor. Already, some are comparing Obama's administration to King George that we kicked off during the American Revolution!

Old joke: "Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss."
 
 
+4 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-03 01:29
Quoting genierae:
Wherever we look around the world, the common good of the people is being ignored. What we want doesn't matter, those in power have morphed into greedheads, and despite poll after poll, they do the opposite of what the people want. One more thing: There's a lot more of us than there are of them. Why are we putting up with this?

Bingo! You just asked the million dollar question genierae!
 
 
-2 # rock 2010-12-04 01:12
"Why are we putting up with this?"

Maybe you should ask for a recount?
 
 
0 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-04 15:28
Quoting rock:
"Why are we putting up with this?"

Maybe you should ask for a recount?

Your response doesn't even answer the question rock. What would doing a recount, establishing again that people are too willing to put up with being lied to, prove? And, how likely would a recount be rigged as much as the original vote count?

The question remains: Why do so many people put up with being lied to, conned, and remain convinced to vote against their own best interests? Why do you think that is rock?
 
 
-3 # rock 2010-12-04 17:30
What it boils down to, Dan, is that you and your colleagues know what is in the peoples' best interest, even though they don't. This is something George Orwell discovered and articulated very well some time ago. My point about the recount was directed to Genierae's assertion that "There's a lot more of us than there are of them." Maybe in dreamland. She ought to count again.
 
 
+2 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-04 22:43
If you really want to know what people happen to believe as being in their best interest, consult any number of highly reputable polling organizations. I think what you'll find interesting is that in the aggregate, the majority of what people believe to be in their best interest is consistently contradictory to what the right wing says is in their best interest. People really do know what is in their best interests on the whole and the government does NOT represent their voice. Oh yeah, we have the vote...rigged, corrupted and all on behalf of politicians who say what they have to in order to get elected and then do what they intend to do despite the wishes of their constituents... take Obama for example. So to Genierae's assertion, there really is a lot more of us than there are of them...in terms of views and values held. While there are exceptions, most people polled in the US actually poll as progressive, and outside of maybe 3 senators, their voice is all too often ignored at best and mocked at worst. George Orwell is a far more pertinent voice for describing the insanity of Fox News and the right any day and you should know that. Ever wonder why so many don't vote?
 
 
+2 # tomo 2010-12-04 21:25
Genierae: The greedheads are themselves victims--though they might resist thinking of themselves that way. They are locked into a notion that money is the ultimate score-record of SUCCESS--and that it is impossible to have too high a score. They will actually wreck the economic game for all of us--themselves included--for the sake of a higher score. They are very very sick--and their sickness is a genetic disorder that has been nurtured in America for several centuries now. They are also very very dangerous.
 
 
+3 # Thomas7D 2010-12-03 17:03
TALK, TALK, TALK!
BITCH, BITCH, BITCH!
Raise your hand if you think that talking and bitching in 1776 would have gotten the - soon to be revolutionaries -out from under the thumb of the British Empire???
Well, the people now in the US are under a different thumb...but with the same results...subju gation - only it's more sinister - it's done by "our" people under the guise of 'Democracy'. (Insert Comedy & Tragedy here)
"What a revolting development"!
Can't control the presidency and congress - they're too busy covering their own asses; can't rely on the Fourth Estate - They're too busy helping the executive and legislative branches cover their own asses; can't look for help from SCOTUS - they're too busy negating our constitution(20 00) and giving our plutarchy(2010) more power; and last but not least, can't rely on the American electorate - 45%(R) don't know what's going on but like the way things are going, 45%(D) don't know what's going on but to gutless to do something about it, 10% don't know 'S**t from Shinola'! (That last percentage might be way to low)
 
 
+3 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-03 22:27
I had a good laugh reading your words Thomas7D and enjoyed the heck out of your words EPGAH. Amidst the head scratching and laughter I am compelled to reply with an admonition not to fully surrender to cynicism. Our learned helplessness and tendency toward "venting" as opposed to "doing" results in a status quo that both of you fairly describe. However, discussion and yes, the talking and bitching you mention Thomas7D are a necessary precedent for action and for responsible people silence is not an option. Take some cheer in the fact that adverse times can produce profound leadership and there are those among RSN posters who are dedicated to change and taking steps now. Not to flaunt my own ego as I am so not alone in my actions, I took an early retirement to go back to school for a specific career in grassroots organization and I find among my peers a vigorous determination to organize and act. The history not written yet fascinates me. I think of the great voices in the past that rose from crushing adversity and find hope. I think that our darkest times produce our greatest leaders and there are a growing cadre of admittedly unlikely souls taking their bearing. Trust and believe!
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-04 00:08
Well, rather than pure cynicism, you have to live your life the best you can. Believe me, I'm ex-military, so Thomas7D's "Call To Action" sounds like an invitation to fight and is seductive, but there's nothing definite to fight AGAINST!
(I'm disgusted at our military's half-measures, but that is a separate topic on another thread)
I've written almost 4,000 letters to Congress on everything from controlling our border to Net Neutrality (Namely, trying to block Comcast's new deal)
I took a pay cut of 30% to keep my job, but even at work, times are often slow.
If you think of anything else I could do to help the country, feel free to say!
 
 
+1 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-04 15:41
I am impressed EPGAH. 4,000 letters to Congress! Wow! Now if everyone would do this...just imagine! Surely there are like minded people you could bring together. Have you ever considered starting even a discussion group that might commit as a group to writing as you have? Have you considered surfing the net for political action organizations to participate with? What if you did start a group and they were willing to bombard the local papers with letters to the editor? I'm not an expert on creating grass roots community organizations.. .yet, but you should be thinking in terms of lending your energy creatively to any one or number of ad hoc grass roots committees starting to form now. Movement politics starts at the bottom. Join in! No matter how silly or futile it might seem at first, the more you can draw together or be drawn into communities of like minded people, the more empowered you will feel. I cannot possibly overstate the importance of building alliances, net working and developing personal relationships with like minded people. Social creatures that we are, we build strength through numbers. I'm struggling to take my own advice too! Let's not give up!
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-05 11:11
Yes, but at risk of being cynical again, I'm certain my letters are now decorating a landfill somewhere. Remember that politicians--ev en amateur ones--have a "staff" designed to handle the little details, not the least of which is filtering out letters they don't want to deal with.
I'm sure the current administration gets PLENTY of letters from military, active or otherwise, and just trashes it as a reflex. They've already discovered that officials in Illinois were throwing away absentee ballots by active military currently deployed in the terrorist countries.
The problem lies not in enthusiasm or even "insufficient numbers", it's in getting someone to listen without breaking the law.
 
 
+2 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-05 17:08
I understand but still...4,000 letters times 325 million citizens? 1,350,000,000 letters? That's got to get some attention! Of course the public isn't going to write on this scale but if citizens wrote 12 letters, 1.3 billion letters, wouldn't that be a wake up call?
Just wondering.
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-05 11:17
Secondarily, of course, we can be turned against each other easily, because of our diverse backgrounds and upbringings. I've been called an "Ex-Military nut" and "warmonger" on other threads on this very site, because I express the view that America should unleash its military and kill enemies, rather than accept greater casualties on our own side. Even in an "invalid" or "illegal" war, one side will kill the other. Sadly, the enemies will keep trying until they succeed, so the only way to save American lives is to end the lives of those trying to kill them, or better yet, send Drones in instead of soldiers, so they don't get a CHANCE to kill Americans!

As to the "Social Creatures" bit, that is true, but a large part of American social system is based on mobility. I can't drive, which puts a bigger kibosh on things than you would expect!

As to empowered, the most empowering feeling of all isn't preaching to the choir, getting default approval, it's when you open someone's eyes and change their mind! Better than any videogame or drug yet invented!
 
 
+3 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-05 17:10
Maybe, if we didn't get into unnecessary war in the first place we wouldn't have to even talk about troops or drones. Just a thought.

Sorry to learn of your mobility issues.

Changing minds IS quite the drug, isn't it?! But having your mind changed can be even more thrilling don't you think?
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-05 19:50
To have my mind changed by another PERSON, yes, but by revelation that the America I'm in isn't the America I defended is a horrible..."hol lowing" feeling.
Speaking of America changing, I also take care of my Grandma who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and sometimes goes into trances, and talks about 1930s-1950s as if they were present-day. Even in her LUCID moments, she must be even more "lost" by how far America has fallen!
If even HALF the myths she tells are true, why hasn't there been a Holy Crusade on the part of all religious, economic, and political leaders to return us to that point economically, politically, but retaining current technology?

The kickers is, there's no place for displaced Americans to run to, countries from Canada to Australia are clamping down on immigration restrictions, preparing for an invasion by Americans on the scale of Mexico's into America--Even if we get in, will it be better?
Other countries are probably watching America's collapse with the same detached "objectivity" that Americans watch the sinking of the Titanic with, but for Americans, we don't want to Go Down With The Ship!
 
 
+1 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-06 02:32
The America I defended in Vietnam turned out to be a phantasy in my own head that was quickly evaporated by the reality I faced. Our wrongs we so awesomely obvious then that it wasn't hard to change gears...not as hard as it might have been for you. The disillusionment though was profoundly hollowing at the time. You describe it well. I almost chose not to come back. I really, really tried not to for awhile. I appreciate what you are mentioning about your circumstances. I think I understand you better. Your circumstances sound horrific and I agree with you about one thing for sure. I don't have a clue about why and how we've managed to collectively stand back while the nation I grew up in has been destroyed. My sons have managed to leave this country, for good. It wasn't easy and it will be harder for others. The American dream got replaced with a nightmare alright. But as futile as the fight now seems, I've committed to the fight no matter what. I don't know how to live any other way. It isn't courage or desperation but simply a decision for making this mess more tolerable. I can do it only if I fight it. That's all there is to it for me.
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-05 10:57
Don't discount ****hing as a strategy. I don't like it, but I'd be an abject fool to ignore its EFFECTIVENESS!
Look at the terrorists in (Insert country here)
Unlike the brave Revolutionaries they claim to be imitating, they simply whine and ****h when the Civilized World punishes them. If the Revolutionaries had tried that, England would've just punished them harder, not back off!
 
 
+3 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-05 17:12
****hing is a good start, but it's only a start. I think you'd agree with that.
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-05 19:36
We agree more than disagree.

One interesting point: Before WikiLeaks, some African bigwig said he viewed the rest of his people as ants, but useful for sympathy to squeeze more money out of America! That kid of thing is why I think Foreign Aid--from America or anyone else--should be conditional on their behavior changing for the better.
Yes, it would "Ruin Their Culture", but it's too late for the Prime Directive now, our infusions of money, meds, and and food have already DRASTICALLY changed society and population dynamics in recipient countries!
 
 
+1 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-06 02:35
I agree with you! Sometimes I think foreign aid is nothing more than our country buying the loyalty of any despot sitting on resources we might want to exploit ourselves. The phrase "American benevolence" sure is an oxymoron.
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-05 11:00
Of course, the world was a far different place in the 1700s, "One Nation Under God" was still our official slogan. ("Under God" has been all but removed because of the whining of splinter groups, domestic and imported, and I also question the "One Nation" bit lately)
If you wanted something, you fought for it and accepted the consequences, rather than just expressing some apocryphal "right" not to be punished for misdeeds. American leaders as far back as Captain John Smith had advocated AGAINST the creation of a Welfare State, because it would distort wealth and power...
"He Who Does Not Work Shall Not Eat", not "He Who Does Not Work Shall Take Food From Those Who Do"
We also kept tariffs high to enforce competition with other countries who were TRYING to crush our fledgling industry! Although combat wars are more "glorious", make no mistake, economics is a battlefield too, but a quieter one--and ironically, deadlier!

America (and the rest of the world) ARE backwards, but blame the bottom AS WELL AS the top!
 
 
+4 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-05 17:22
The world was a different place in the 1700's. We're actually better off today. I want to challenge you on the concept of a "Welfare State". There is no other kind of state. All states are welfare states. The only variable that matters is this: Whose welfare? We answer that question in our society this way: the corporations and the economic elites. Many of the founding fathers actually promoted the idea of the common good and the whole argument between protecting the common good vs protecting the property rights and other ascribed rights of the wealthy is even older than our nation.
As for "He Who Does Not Work Shall Not Eat"...what about those who would work, can work, but can't find work. What about those who can't work? Should they starve? Worse, "He Who Owns Food Production Gets To Set The Price And He Who Cannot Afford The Cost Which Is In Excess Of Actual Value Can Starve". Isn't this worse?
Yes, economics is war, and it is too often the consumer who is victimized.
I blame the bottom for its' passivity and the top for its' cruelty. We agree it seems.
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-05 18:58
I apologize profusely if I gave the impression that the world was better 300 years ago. I'm a technocrat, I believe technology can either save us or damn us.
Properly wielded, we'll have Star Trek.
Irresponsibly wielded, we'll have TekWar, Blade Runner, Rise of the Dragon, or even Moon Project.
Good point on the Welfare part of Welfare State. I had meant the variant where the incompetent take from the competent. Before you take offense, look at TARP, where tax-money from self-supporting people and even self-supporting Corporations was used to subsidize their careless competitors. I'm not using it in its usual pejorative against "Oh, those pesky poor people!" Part of what has sunk Communist nations, from Russia to Cuba, is that people want to be rewarded for their effort, and if slackers are rewarded the same as overachievers, the latter are obviously slighted, and the formers' sloth is involuntarily subsidized by the latter. They call this the Sucker Effect. Working people want to get rewarded more for more work, and those who don't want to work, want to make excuses why they DESERVE to be carried--Pauper s as well as princes!
 
 
+2 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-06 02:45
Even I have a problem with an even distribution of welfare of any kind. In fact I have every bit as big a problem with the extraordinarily excessive rewards that the top echelons pay themselves as I do with those who seek something for nothing. Of course, those who are unable to provide for themselves deserve quality support just for being human. But the able bodied who elect to do nothing bug me immensely. I've noticed in every work force I've been a part of, for example, a certain percentage of folks who are so worthless that their lack must be compensated for by other workers who have to work even harder...all for the same pay. I'd be a happy camper if people who could work actually got paid what they were worth. Everyone has equal rights, but equal rewards? Not necessarily so by a long shot! And while I've not said it before, I think all labor is vastly under paid to begin with. I'd go as far as to agree that those who won't work, but could, can starve for all I care.
 
 
0 # EPGAH 2010-12-09 22:12
Thank you! THAT'S what I was trying to express, equal REWARDS is not necessarily part of equality. Myself and my Mom are having to work extra hard in our respective jobs, because we each have slacking coworkers--and yet those guys get the same pay that we do, and it's impossible to fire them, for fear of discrimination lawsuits.
"those who won't work, but could, can starve for all I care." is probably the most welcome clause I've read on RSN. As to the bonuses, well, isn't that just another form of slacking coworker? Especially when they're rewarded for FAILURE, WITH Taxpayer money!
I am fully aware that I come across as blunt, but if we truly value transparency, bluntness should also be welcome.

Have you ever read "Shockwave Rider", by John Brunner? A super-hacker invents a semi-sentient computer virus that gets into Corporate networks and prints all their secrets ON THEIR OWN MATERIALS! Ingredients lists actually show ingredients, budgets show embezzling and waste, etc.
Very appropos, considering that Assange is trying to set himself up as the biological version of same.
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-05 19:06
As to "Can't Find Work", that's a function of Globalization, isn't it?

America's economy used to be a closed system:
Greater Productivity->G reater Profits->Greate r Wages->Higher Prices->Repeat

The part that Corporations forget--and someone else mentioned this on the "Ellsberg's Goodbye to Amazon" page--is that all workers are consumers, and if you don't pay them, they can't consume.

Henry Ford figured this out in the 1920s somehow, and paid his workers WAY more than other businesses at the time!
Undercutting Americans with foreigns, whether outsourced or snuck into America, will break the chain mentioned above, and ultimately ruin them too, although "ultimately" is a bit too long for most of us to wait!

The good news is, that it makes the economies of the countries who get the jobs better. The bad news is, they are implicitly reliant on "Importing" American money and when that flow stops or slows, they suffer along with us.

Moreover, the influx of money from America leads to inflation there, wherever "There" is, forcing the people there to accept the American jobs, because they pay SLIGHTLY more than local jobs!
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-05 19:15
As to the cost of food, that's just greed. There was a lecture a couple years ago about the agricultural advances. I was surprised to see it was one of my old professors from college days. He passed around a disgusting, discolored, thumb-sized "corn", that looked like cartoon hillbilly teeth. The black kernels looked like they were already rotting! Then he passed around a cob of gleaming yellow corn as we know it nowadays. Uniform and beautiful, it could feed LOTS more people than the thumb-sized one, and you could tuck it under your arm like a football!

He went on to show "Before" and "After" pictures about how scientists had made the cornstalks of near-uniform height instead of random, which made it easier to harvest, for human or machine, AND there were more cobs per stalk! From what I've researched on my own, there have been similar advances in livestock, so food should be dirt-cheap, especially now that most the farms have moved to Mexico, for "cheap" labor. (Not really cheap, see above) I would prefer they invest in automation, but why would they bother, if there are people willing to line up to be exploited?
 
 
+2 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-06 02:49
Only desperate people are willing to line up to be exploited. They shouldn't be exploited at all. A living wage can be paid and food remain affordable. I mean, that's what technology is for, right? Why is it so apparently impossible to produce food, pay good wages to those who plant and harvest it, and result in food costs that are reasonable for everyone? You know that most will say this impossible, but is it? Really? Why can't we have both just wages and affordable food? You'd think the technology would make this possible.
 
 
0 # EPGAH 2010-12-09 22:19
I wouldn't say ONLY desperate people. Remember, American wages weren't a Gift from the Goodness of the Corporate Heart, people had to FIGHT for them. Assuming we're all "equals", how/why did American labor organize and fight for better conditions, but no other country has yet done so?
As to the food thing, it's the markup that is the problem. I worked on my Uncle Joe's farm, and I helped with the books, and labor costs were a whopping 2% of his budget! That's not a typo, TWO percent, not twenty! Uncle Joe didn't make MUCH profit, but he stayed afloat.
There was also a joke on TV, "Popcorn in a bucket costs $10, but the same thing for pigs is $5 a bushel", or something like that, which inadvertently pointed out the DRASTIC markup between farm and consumer!
The TECHNOLOGY DOES make it possible, but someone has to pay for those ridiculous bonuses to the Bosses!
Also, look at Japan. TINY surface-area, almost fully-mechanize d farming, because they can't afford inefficiency. They make enough food to feed themselves in what little arable land they have, so with America's larger farmland, we could feed the world--or would that be "interfering"?
 
 
0 # EPGAH 2010-12-09 22:27
Additionally, America fights AGAINST mechanization, on the phony charge that "It Costs Jobs", but it actually CREATES more jobs than it costs--at least if you don't count featherbedding, hiring more workers than you need so that the job gets done faster or multiple paper-pushes to do the job of one box of QuickBooks or whatever.

Anything from a tractor to a robot arm, you can't just put minerals in an Alchemy Circle and make it into a robot arm. Someone has to mine iron, coal, and limestone, someone has to process that into steel, someone has to shape the steel into slabs, someone has to weld the slabs together, someone has to install control-circuit ry, someone has to make motors and install those.

Plus, after it's built, someone has to program it and/or repair it--the latter two are the kind of "clean" high-tech jobs America supposedly wants!

I'm probably missing a few steps, but it creates more jobs than it ends, PLUS increasing productivity exponentially!
 
 
0 # EPGAH 2010-12-09 23:48
Full disclosure: I was originally promised a job with CAT, developing automated bulldozers and other construction/de molition machinery, but once I graduated, they forgot all about the offer, let alone me!
 
 
+2 # EPGAH 2010-12-05 19:26
All in all, I think we do agree more than disagree.
However, I have 2 big questions for you:
How would you DEFINE the Common Good, and how would you enforce it? For billions of years, organisms have sought advantage for themselves, both inter- and intra-species. Even an egalitarian distribution would have to prevent someone from getting more than his share!
Even the non-wealthy need their property protected from those who don't want to work for it.

Back to reality, though, there WILL be more crime--especial ly theft of various stripes--becaus e There Are No More Jobs.
More despicable though, are the scams who pretend to be charities. I believe in private charities, but I don't like the "enforced charity" by the country. However, people who pretend to represent a charity and pocket the money are the third worst kind of people.
MOST people want to be generous, but preying on that generosity under false pretenses is despicable--as is the odd habit of modern charities to reject donations that aren't up to their "Standards"--Ev en complaining about COMPUTERS I donated in plusher times!
What happened to "Beggars Can't Be Choosers"?
 
 
+2 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-06 03:04
Aw gee EPGAH...where to begin. I believe that we are ruled by certain mythologies that need to be destroyed because they are so false. The myth of scarcity is a lie. There is enough food, income, water, education, health care, income security, housing and so forth available for everybody. I'm not talking about an even distribution or any distribution where merit goes unrewarded but the flaw in our civilization is how we define merit, value, worth, things like this. The Common Good means an enforceable social contract attached to membership. For example, in exchange for diligent labor of 40 hours weekly, paying fair taxes, basically obeying the laws and responsibly participating in society, every citizen should be absolutely guaranteed jobs where they can perform, wages sufficient to afford a middle class existence, quality education and health care for everyone, an infrastructure that results in safe bridges, buildings, streets and so on all of which would require a progressive income tax where those who most benefited from the system would be required to pay the most. The wealthiest make their wealth from manipulating the markets, not creating them (cont.)
 
 
+2 # Dan Fletcher 2010-12-06 03:14
But let's not disrespect wealth per se. At the same time, how does anyone "earn" millions of dollars in bonuses? How much of income to the wealth comes from their actually producing something? The extremes of wealth and poverty are unfair. All who work should be getting paid at least a living wage, far higher than minimum, and personal incomes should cap at, oh, even one million a year, with a high tax level at that. People who work harder should get more. People who have more valuable skills should get more. But the bottom rung should pay enough to actually live on without degrading any one at all. The job of government should be to enforce this contract through its' laws. As for someone getting more than his share, that's theft and it would be up to the government to enforce against and punish. If there are no more jobs, actually a myth, it's because they've been sent away. Force them to be returned. Refusing to work when one is capable of working should be a crime resulting in prison sentences. Social policy should be based on what's in the best interests of the entire community, not on just the wealthy. As for charity thieves and picky charities...to hell with them all!
 
 
0 # EPGAH 2010-12-09 22:50
See, that's the difference between just being rich and EARNING wealth. Like you said, the difference between manipulating market (they even call it PLAYING the market), and working for it. And a richer person, by default, benefits more from the System--or at least the police--than the rest, by dint of having more TO lose by theft.

Forcing the jobs to be returned would be accomplished simply by putting up punitive tariffs. To hell with the people who whine about "protectionism" , as other countries do--and HAVE DONE--the same to America and American goods!
 
 
0 # EPGAH 2010-12-09 22:55
As to scarcity, not so sure about that, as the planet IS limited by the Laws of Thermodynamics and/or Conservation of Mass, and the population is NOT stopping its upward trend. Now, technology DOES give better, more efficient ways to get at and/or distribute resources, but that is NOT the same as having more resources. Worse, it seems like the portion least able to provide for their offspring are the ones having the most, GUARANTEEING that they'll stay poor across generations!

The richer have fewer. There's a joke that you'll only be successful if you're too busy WORKING to have kids, and it's not far from the truth.

Overpopulation is the other part of Globalization, and it's WONDERFULLY profitable--for the people at the top!
More people competing for the same job=lower wages.
More people competing for the same resources=highe r prices!
However, try to convince any lesser culture to have less kids, or threaten NOT to pay for their excess breeding, and suddenly, YOU are the bad guy! In some lesser cultures, worth is actually defined by how many kids you can contribute to world overpopulation!

Brings up a good question: How do YOU define worth?
 

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