March 3, 2010

Wrong About Obama II

obama rolling stone.JPG
the sound you just heard is millions of teeth grinding at once

In retrospect an easy call to make; at the time considered sour grapes: a year after the election of the Messiah, the country would instead be more angry and hateful than ever.  Not the Change he planned, but you get what you pay for.

The prediction was specific: not that Obama would ruin us, though he might; or that we were marching towards mercantilism, though we were.

Instead, the prediction was really an observation about Messiahs: no one hates Christ or Mohammed, they hate Christians and Muslims.


II.

"No one is saying what Joe Stack did was right.  But you have to understand the anger, the resentment, there's a lot of people who feel like they're just being pushed around.  Joe Stack is a sort of a symbol..."

Would anyone listen if I pointed out that these are the same words that we hated to hear about the 9-11 hijackers or Palestinian suicide bombers?

But anyway, why do you need a symbol, why do you need him as your symbol?   You're angry that the government is creating a welfare state, with your tax money, that collars poor Americans into service and obedience.    Jeffersonians were in opposition to Hamiltonians (and Lagrangians) not just on the principle of government authority-- Hamilton wanting a strong central power to govern for the benefit of the people-- but also on consequences: strong government meant big increases in public services and public debt, which in turn reinforces the reliance on an ever expanding government.  Sound familiar?  So what do you need Joe Stack for?

Maybe because Joe Stack isn't a symbol for the expansion of the welfare state at the expense of individual freedoms, or somehing; maybe he's just a symbol of an angry man who's not really sure why he's angry, he just knows someone else is to blame.  In which case he's the perfect symbol.

You don't need a symbol to say, "taxes are way too high."  You need a symbol to say, "this is who I am."


III.

James Surowiecki, the writer at The New Yorker  without encephalitis, wote:

Whereas the economic populism of the 1890s and the right wing cultural populism of recent years represented reasonably coherent ideologies, this new populism has stitched together incompatible concerns and goals into one "I'm mad as hell" quilt.  The people may have spoken.  It's just not clear that they're making any sense.

Obama hasn't closed Guantanamo-- and he won't.  He hasn't brought the troops home from Iraq; and he won't.  He's increased those in Afghanistan, saying he'll bring them back in 18 months.  He won't.  He hasn't reduced the opacity of the government, the Patriot Act just got an extension.  But if you were for those things under Bush, why aren't you relieved about those now?  If you were against them under Bush, why aren't you mad now?

The primary thing isn't what you are angry about, the primary thing is your anger. 

IV.

This is an example.  After the election-- and anyone who didn't vote for Obama will know exactly what I'm talking about-- you didn't dare say a negative thing about Obama in public.  Certainly not a flippant slander, the kind that are common when discussing Presidents.  If you were in a restaurant, before you said anything about Obama you took a serious look around to see who else was near you, and only if it was safe (read: white) could you quickly whisper some veiled comment.  You weren't even allowed to be pessimistic about Obama.  That was the climate.  Again, if you didn't vote for Obama you will know what I mean, if you did you'll think I'm exaggerating.  I'm not.  Talking negatively about Obama in public was like trying to tell a dirty joke down at Human Resources.

Fast forward to last week.  This is what I heard a guy announce in a crowded downtown restaurant, and I'm quoting:

Fuck him.  Fuck Obama, fuck him, and fuck his horsefaced wife.  I'm sick of his shit.

Agree/disagree if you want, but understand that that guy's anger had nothing to do with Obama at all.  That guy wasn't voicing his opinion, he was looking for a fight.  He was daring someone to say something.  He wasn't saying this loudly despite his better judgment, he was saying it on purpose.  He was throwing the guantlet down, cognitive kill switch style.  "Oh, I can't criticize Obama?  I can't say anything because it means I'm a racist?  Well fuck you too."  That guy did not have an airplane, but if he did I am certain he would have flown it into his sandwich.

This is the point: that man doesn't hate Obama, he hates Obama supporters.

V.


This is what the Angry Joe thinks people thought in Nov 2008:

Red: "I guess McCain.  What other choice do I have?" 

Blue: "Go Obama! Ha!  Who's laughing now, bitches!  Take that!  I hope he raises taxes to 500%, I hope he rapes your daughters.  Time to redistribute the income, all to me!  Payback time! You mother---"

Unfortunately, his crazy paranoic delusion is validated by ten seconds of any episode of the  Rachel Maddow show.

VI. 

In case you have had a short life or memory, Obama isn't the most hated modern President.  In terms of depth of hatred, Reagan beats them all, even Nixon.  Openly considered a monster, evil, he was going to bring us to nuclear war on purpose just to kill minorities and then he'd forget all about it because he had taken a nap.  The band Genesis made a video with him doing pretty much that, and it won awards.  Imagine if a pop band did that with Obama. 

However, the hatred was confined to Reagan, not to everyone who liked Reagan.  No one got cut off in traffic and thought, "look at this jerk, I'll bet he voted for Reagan."  But now...

This is probably because of the way we're now trained to discuss politics: me vs. you.  We are encouraged to make the focus be the argument, not the content.  Setting yourself in opposition to someone who appears to have a definable character is a shortcut to your own branding, which is why you're having the argument.


VII.

The problem with getting the President you want, only to find that he not only doesn't deliver on his campaign promises, but he's quite uninterested in delivering many of them, is that you don't blame him, you blame the government.

We've become what we dread most: France.  A strong central government that everyone throughout the spectrum hates.  Now what?  Can't punch a government, but you can kill an entirely uninvolved IRS agent with an airplane.  Score one for freedom.

"The country is ungovernable, we need a reform of government!"  Why is it more ungovernable now?  The government is the same one we've had for 2 generations.  Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dick Durbin-- all your major players from both sides-- have been there for over 20 years.  Ideas and ideology haven't changed since Vietnam.  Obama was the Change guy-- but there aren't any new ideas there.  Hell, he's even copying Bush.

The deep, strong cry of all civilized nations, -- a cry which, every one now sees, must and will be answered, is: Give us a reform of Government! A good structure of legislation, a proper check upon the executive, a wise arrangement of the judiciary, is all that is wanting for human happiness...
If only! 

Were the laws, the government, in good order, all were well with us; the rest would care for itself! Dissentients from this opinion, expressed or implied, are now rarely to be met with; widely and angrily as men differ in its application, the principle is admitted by all.

Just like then, it's nigh impossible to find anyone who doesn't think this is true.   A complete turnover of Congress would be awesome, I'll admit, but don't think for a second that anything can change just because you change your representatives.  The problem isn't the government, the problem is you.  It is always you. 


VIII.

You can't imagine how you, one guy, can be the problem-- the government is much bigger  than you, isn't it?  But there are millions of people exactly like you.  One byproduct of modern narcissism's reliance on finite media is that countless other people are modeling their lives on the same template you are.  You think you are unique in your thoughts and identity, turns out you are a clone.  You think you're the only guy for whom X was transformative?  The only guy with an iphone?

Most of you are huddled around the same directors feeding you the same lines which you regurgitate with sufficient passion you think you came up with it.  I'll bet you're sure that "tax and spend Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are running this country," or that we need "renewable sources of energy that will also help create new jobs"-- all of which might even be true except that the exact same contentless words are being thought by millions of other people who are all sure they know it.  That doesn't make you pause?

It would be awesome, awesome, if these sound bites were being fed to you with an intent to deceive- as part of a Hearstian conspiracy to make the cattle think one thing so the Elites could do another; in short, awesome if, after all, there was some organized effort leading to a clear goal, no matter how nefarious.  But there isn't.  It's a battle royal,  every man and company and politician fighting to eat and not be eaten.  Even families operate at cross purposes, kids trying to leave, parents holding on to nothing, everyone looking for a "moment to myself." This isn't a war of ideals, it's cannibalism.


IX.

Are you teaching your kids that certain people-- the government-- oppose your values?  Why would you teach them that?  By all means teach them your values, but don't communicate it as a battle against other people.  You're turning your kids into you.


X.

You get the politicians you deserve.  Arguing over "cutting spending" polarizes Americans because that soundbite is contentless, but elicits a strong emotional response not to a plan but about an imagined recipient (welfare abusers, etc.)  This kind of a debate is an addictive drug. 

Politicians will give you what you want.  If you say you're for "cutting spending" then they'll be for "cutting spending."   That's all.  If you want them to actually cut spending, you have to tell them what spending you actually want cut.  They're representatives, not leaders, right?

Senator Bunning didn't understand this.  He thought Americans actually wanted spending cut, so he actually blocked the extension of unemployment benefits.  Man, what a square.  Well, he's only been around for a term and a half.  Chalk it up to inexperience.

XI.


Required reading for anyone unclear about the stakes is Ferguson's Complexity and Collapse subtitled in the print edition, When The American Empire Goes, It Is Likely To Go Quickly.  But for those who are used to getting their political theory from aviation experts or the people who discuss them, here's the most important line:

Neither interest rates at zero nor fiscal stimulus can achieve a sustainable recovery if people in the United States and abroad collectively decide, overnight, that such measures will lead to much higher inflation rates or outright default... such decisions are self fulfilling. (italics mine, emphasis ours.)
You can't change the government because you don't even know what you want from it.  You have to reconfigure your own mind.  Your current expectations of life aren't just unrealistic, they're not even what you want.  Another byproduct of narcissism is when you model yourself on a template, you'll pursue the goals of the template.  You're chasing someone else's happiness.

I don't think we're on the verge of collapse, but I can predict that unless we turn away from empty political discourse, we are in for more airplanes.

---

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych





Comments

Absolutely incredible. Tha... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 1:21 PM | Posted by Brian Driggs: | Reply

Absolutely incredible. Thank you.

I've been known to suggest to others that the government is corrupt because the people are corrupt, but as I am part of "the people," I am just as guilty of these logical fallacies.

Food for thought. I'm going to re-read this a couple times, but I'm going to share it with others first. Exemplary.

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Wow. Great post. Lots of ... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 2:02 PM | Posted by PJ1280: | Reply

Wow. Great post. Lots of good stuff.

BTW, the last line is golden.

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Awesome. I don't hate the R... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 3:11 PM | Posted by funpsych: | Reply

Awesome. I don't hate the Red Sox, I hate their fans. This insight alone is priceless. Politics has turned into a spectator sport, with the added bonus that politicians can shape themselves to our expectations more than any athlete can. Perhaps this is the fallacy of democracy in the Information Age: people only consume ideas that already conform to what they believe, which makes them believe their ideas more, which leads to greater polarization and less room for getting anything accomplished at the government level. Maybe that's why a more authoritarian system, like what you see in China, is better able to Get Things Done.

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The nature of political dis... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 3:53 PM | Posted by WalterSear: | Reply

The nature of political discourse in this country is a symptom of a deeper, further reaching, endemic social pathology.

Simply put, the channels of communication have been gamed for so long that we (we meaning society) have internalised the rules. They affect our perception of the world, our expectations, explain the results of behaviour for us, affect our interactions with others and behaviour towards this.

If enough discourse is vague and insubstantial, it renders all discourse vague and insubstantial. Facts and opinions become the same thing. Discussion becomes a game of calvinball, we choose our sides and root for it. We don't switch sides when the score is no longer in our favour: we find some fact/opinion to explain to disqualify those goals. Don't have any? Invent some. through some doubt on something, just because. Repeat it enough, and hey, it's a fact. Repeat it enough, and you'll no longer know which things were invented and which weren't.

People don't know how they genuinely feel about something because they have no idea what any thing really is any more. And for a greater part of the population, this is considered an asset, to be proud of.

And. if you don't know what things stand for, then you don't know what you stand for, so you grab at simple, cognitively fluent ideas. It's population that can't remember who it is, only who it has been told to be: it's a society with borderline personality disorder.

What does this mean? As your post outlines, our current ways of thinking and discussing these collective issues is counter-productive. However, I do not feel that the problem is fundamentally within me or likely to be within the readers of this blog: we are few, very few, and we are generally smart: smart enough to see through the problems in modern discourse.

They, on the other hand, are many, and they get what they want. And they don't know who they are, only who they imagine themselves to be. Discourse is not the answer: studies have shown that reasoned responses to ideological I reactionary political talking points simply strengthen them in the eyes of their adherents. The answer lies in understanding the phenomenon and finding ways of mitigating this defect in our cultural system.

America does not need more discussion, or better discussion with itself: it needs an intervention.

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Nice work, LP. Nice Calvinb... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 4:08 PM | Posted by mmgutz: | Reply

Nice work, LP. Nice Calvinball reference, WalterSear.

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this almost made me laugh o... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 5:32 PM | Posted by randy: | Reply

this almost made me laugh out loud:

"That guy did not have an airplane, but if he did I am certain he would have flown it into his sandwich."

almost any other day i would have spouted milk out of my nose on that one.

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Excellent. I wish your thou... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 6:53 PM | Posted by Chiara: | Reply

Excellent. I wish your thoughts had broader circulation. In my experience, most people are content to think contentless thoughts, and don't appreciate being challenged to do more than that.

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At least French people go o... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 7:07 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

At least French people go on strike when a change happens that they don't like instead of flying a plane into a building.

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One crazy guy flying a plan... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 7:53 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Chiara: | Reply

One crazy guy flying a plane into a building =/ masses of people who burn cars, break windows and attack police.

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Chiara: "In my experience, ... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 9:23 PM | Posted, in reply to Chiara's comment, by kumara: | Reply

Chiara: "In my experience, most people are content to think contentless thoughts, and don't appreciate being challenged to do more than that."

WalterSear: "I do not feel that the problem is fundamentally within me or likely to be within the readers of this blog: we are few, very few, and we are generally smart"

-1. "Us vs. Them" is ill-posed thinking. You could say, its contentless thought. You've bought in to being a Red Sox fan (h/t: funpsych).

We seem riven with the idea that you can lump people together and dismiss them. This is OK I guess, if you're personally OK with being lumped and dismissed.

The belief that other people are different (read: inferior) from you, and more importantly that you are different (read: superior) from them, has serious hints of fallacy. And, you know, narcissism.

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Isn't it simply possible th... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 9:50 PM | Posted by Honorius: | Reply

Isn't it simply possible that politics, especially on a federal level, as become so irrelevent to people's live that it has regressed to a brand? It actually CANNOT be anything other than a hollow concept as an ipod or a nike show is?

It implies that the only way we can change the way we think about politic is to stop giving a fuck all together. If politic is a way to reaffirm one's identity, then stopping paying attention to it will leave some sort of void for us to contemplate. We'll have to face the fact that a part of us is missing and deal with it instead of wasting energy in maintaining whatever it is we choose to maintain.

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Of course, because you don'... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 10:00 PM | Posted by Basil Valentine: | Reply

Of course, because you don't actually want to be Don Draper, you'd just like everyone else to treat you like him.

I haven't been alive for long enough to judge, but I've heard there used to be groups of like minded people who wanted something, organized, and followed every avenue availible to them in order to make it happen.

If you want "better government", the path to it is surprisingly obvious: research the government as is, and how it might be improved. Choose specific things, not "cutting spending" or "tighter regulation"-- "a moratorium on an expansion of X" or "the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagal act, and maybe another Pecora commission". Advocate, educate, organize.

But I suspect "wanting better government" is just a pose to adopt (to go with the rest of your intellectual accessories).

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Jesus Christ, i love this b... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 10:36 PM | Posted by This Repulsive Wednesday: | Reply

Jesus Christ, i love this blog. I don't agree with it all the time but this is some interesting shit. I need to reread this later when I'm not drunk.

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"Would anyone listen if I p... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 11:08 PM | Posted by Sfon: | Reply

"Would anyone listen if I pointed out that these are the same words that we hated to hear about the 9-11 hijackers or Palestinian suicide bombers?"

I loved hearing this said by someone else. This sort of thing cannot be stated enough. But too many people are convinced that God owes it to America to give it everything it wants, at the expense of all others or not. That we are the greatest simply because we are entitled to it.

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Sounds like what Carlin was... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2010 11:30 PM | Posted by Anon: | Reply

Sounds like what Carlin was talking about for the last 10 years of his life...

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"Jeffersonians were in oppo... (Below threshold)

March 4, 2010 1:20 AM | Posted by Matt: | Reply

"Jeffersonians were in opposition to Hamiltonians (and Lagrangians)"

Ha! Don't forget Gaussians.

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kumara, I have no superior ... (Below threshold)

March 4, 2010 1:52 AM | Posted, in reply to kumara's comment, by Chiara: | Reply

kumara, I have no superior worth as a human being, but I've spent a hell of a lot more time and effort learning, refining, and practicing my craft than most human beings out there. I'm not ashamed of what I've worked for and I'm not afraid to tell the truth about what I see. God knows I've tried to come to a different conclusion, but reality keeps slapping me in the face with the bad news that people are resistant to challenging their own thought processes and beliefs, that they feel more secure finding an established side to take and sticking to it, even if the evidence clearly flies in the face of their chosen position. Consider me a narcissist with an us-versus-them mentality if you must, but you'd be better off just considering what I said.

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WalterSear: "I do not feel ... (Below threshold)

March 4, 2010 3:07 AM | Posted by SuperAttractive Wednesday: | Reply

WalterSear: "I do not feel that the problem is fundamentally within me or likely to be within the readers of this blog: we are few, very few, and we are generally smart"

I am smart, but I am also a self-aware bigot and I am a reader of this blog.
I feel that the problem is fundamentally within me, though I'm not entirely sure on that matter yet.

My grandfather was highly educated and not especially bigoted. He served in the SS under Hitler in the late 30's up to end of WW2. He said that he had no choice, he did not want to leave his native country and he needed to provide for his family. Though my grandfather was very smart, I feel that the problem might have been fundamentally within him, though I'm still trying to figure it out.

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We've become what we dre... (Below threshold)

March 4, 2010 5:38 AM | Posted by fraise: | Reply

We've become what we dread most: France. A strong central government that everyone throughout the spectrum hates.
...
You don't need a symbol to say, "taxes are way too high." You need a symbol to say, "this is who I am."

I'm guessing you did this on purpose. (Using "France" as a symbol to say "this is who I am".)

No one "hates" the government in France. Well, okay, one exception perhaps, Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National, but he hates pretty much everyone and everything. And yet even he wouldn't dare touch much of what France holds dear: health care, welfare, et cetera.

I always get a kick out of people who make horrified remarks about cars burning. It's like they forget every single crime that's ever happened in the US, including a man who flew a plane into an IRS building, for five seconds of self-comforting "omigod what heathens, they burn cars and attack the police." Mmhmm. None of which has ever happened in the US at the hands of Americans. Certainly not to make political points. Oh, no, never. Americans are never violent for political reasons. *rolls eyes*

Repeated for emphasis: You don't need a symbol to say, "taxes are way too high." You need a symbol to say, "this is who I am."

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I'd actually been thinking ... (Below threshold)

March 4, 2010 9:01 AM | Posted by Mae: | Reply

I'd actually been thinking recently about that post you made, anticipating Obama's actions. At the time, I could only wonder if you would be correct. I am disappointed in him, because I wanted him to live up to those promises (especially the Patriot Act removal) but I suspected he would not do so.

I feel quite disconnected from the government, although I try (read: when I am not lazy, which is most of the time) to involve myself on a local level. That, at least, is something which doesn't feel like some massive machine (although realistically, it is).

Regardless, maybe you should consider running for office, any office. Hell, I'd pay money just to see you take on someone, be it in argument or fisticuffs.

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That last line is beautiful... (Below threshold)

March 4, 2010 1:22 PM | Posted by jonathan: | Reply

That last line is beautiful.

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"That guy did not have an a... (Below threshold)

March 5, 2010 9:30 AM | Posted by GT : | Reply

"That guy did not have an airplane, but if he did I am certain he would have flown it into his sandwich."

Just heard in the news....because of gov't coverup of 9/11, a man shoots two Pentagon police officers.

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All true. Politics has bec... (Below threshold)

March 5, 2010 9:51 AM | Posted by abdadad: | Reply

All true. Politics has become a verbal UFC octagon. And everybody knows it. The question is what do we do about it? How do you counter the miriad kill switches in politics (Socialist, Racist, Progressive, Neocon, etc)? Both sides have set up so many that even the attempt to create more productive dialogs is going to hit somebody's kill switch. Both parties like it that way, the people who are fans of politics love it, and the rest of the people are so turned off that the entire thing is about as interesting as a sport that you aren't interested in.

Until we can have a dialog in which compromise is not a dirty word, we'll have political UFC. A shame really, because it means the work never gets done.

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It is a disjointed emotiona... (Below threshold)

March 5, 2010 12:18 PM | Posted by Jess: | Reply

It is a disjointed emotional quagmire, but as long as information is a subjective promotion of opinions, and the government is an isolated bastion of ignorance, there isn't any other path except the path that leads to tremendous changes, and the changes not necessarily good for everyone.

Personally, I think the biggest thing that people really want from government is an unreasonable want that supercedes reality. The reactions we see are tantrums without focus. Everyday isn't Christmas and there are limits to what is affordable.

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could not agree more. It t... (Below threshold)

March 5, 2010 8:53 PM | Posted, in reply to Basil Valentine's comment, by Thi: | Reply

could not agree more. It takes no energy whatsoever to stand on the sidelines shouting for what you think you deserve. This is a fight not only for your own life but for the life of your nation, and it will require an appropriate commitment.

During the great depression and aftermath of WWI, FDR started the civilian conservation corps. 4 million unemployed people were paid a dollar a day (they had to send $25/month home) to plant 2 billion trees. They stopped the spread of dust bowls, rebuilt our natural resources, spurred economic growth, and prepared an able bodied disciplined force for WWII.

"if the moderate middle of this country doesn't open its mouth, the usual useless mouthpieces will again control the debates. The cures for the current problems will be crafted by politicians responding to the media's Right or Left spin on public sentiment, with dissent given over to the blogosphere's Molotov cocktail throwers and conspiracy theorists. And that'd be a goddamn shame, because good ideas - solutions beyond what's "politically possible" or attractive enough to gain thirty seconds of interest among a pack of narcissistic Twitterheads - can be intensely powerful. They can catch fire and, given the current technologies, circle the globe, creating an army of supporters in less time than it takes to fry an egg."-philalawyer.net

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You seem to think the word ... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2010 4:48 PM | Posted by bleach: | Reply

You seem to think the word 'mercantilism' means something completely different than it does. You may want to actually look the word up at some point, since you have used it in dozens of articles wrongly.

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How do you kill the cogniti... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2010 7:40 PM | Posted, in reply to abdadad's comment, by GT: | Reply

How do you kill the cognitive kill switches? I dunno. I'm still waiting on that answer from the previous post Alone wrote on cognitive kill switches. He ended it by writing there is a part 2 coming up that will cover over coming the kill switch.

I guess to overcome it is to see it for what it is and not be suckered into accepting the other person's premise/judgement of you??? Maybe???

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cool one. now try to... (Below threshold)

March 7, 2010 9:17 AM | Posted by Trei: | Reply

cool one.
now try to figure out HOW we can actually change ourselves.

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When the Democrats use the ... (Below threshold)

March 7, 2010 12:54 PM | Posted by Mikee: | Reply

When the Democrats use the Alinsky Rules for Radicals for essentially all their actions in the public square, what non-Democrats get is not debate, it is branding, ridicule, etc.

What I want when I ask, "Do you think the unions have too much sway in the current government?" is an answer that discusses the facts of unions interacting with government, not to be told I hate laborers.

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Actually I found this on th... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2010 11:34 AM | Posted, in reply to GT's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Actually I found this on the web awhile ago. Maybe he's right about using meta-labels.

http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

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Alone, you say that we don'... (Below threshold)

March 14, 2010 11:28 AM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

Alone, you say that we don't hat Obama, but we hate his supporters.

It all depends on who and where Obama supporters are.

If his important supporters are in the vast majority members within the US House of Representatives and close to a majority in the US Senate, then those particular supporters can wreak havoc with the United States.

At the present time, the only fear supporters in Congress have is that they're wreaking havoc all by themselves, with no fall guys to blame when the fan gets hit.

If Obama supporters comprise many people in Keokuk, Missoula, and Brooklyn, they're all irrelevant!

If Republicans ruled Congress, they would tell Obama and his supporters to have a nice day!

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***********... (Below threshold)

March 26, 2010 3:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


********************** "WHAT" ??????? Jeez, what a crapload of narcissitic blather. You obviously worship at the foot of your own ego-stroking intellect!

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Am I blinded by my lying ey... (Below threshold)

May 22, 2010 7:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Mikee's comment, by Terry Dineen: | Reply

Am I blinded by my lying eyes or something?

What I want when I ask, "Do you think rich oligarchs and their minions have too much sway in the current government?" is an answer that discusses the facts of corporations interacting with government, not to be told I am a socialist or that I am engaging in class warfare.

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I am a socialist, I am enga... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2010 1:00 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I am a socialist, I am engaging in class warfare, and I said all along that there was really no difference between the "major" parties, that whatever song they sing they dance for whoever pays the way the "sponsor" likes it. So I say fuck Obama and fuck his whole discourse: he wanted to be the First (Half-) Black President and he is, and he's got the usual crowd of cheerleaders and hangers-on that any "successful" politicians, and he's hoping if he caves in even more than he did last week he'll get re-elected, and none of it's worth a cold plate of cat shit.

But hey, what can we expect from the American Voters? this is the crowd who didn't vote for Nader because the MSM told them Nader wouldn't win because nobody would vote for him. It's that way with all "alternative" candidates, regardless of what they say, so we always get more of the same -- because most Americans are simply not willing to think for themselves. They don't even want to try it, they're afraid of anything like it. (Especially the self-mutilating "nonconformists" with their pierced faces & tattoos: is there no other way to make Daddy notice them?)

This is why my long-cherished anarchist ideals simply won't work, this is why the Left needs a vanguard party. If we don't own and "guard" the sheeple some other bunch will, and they'll do things like destroy & occupy foreign countries to prove something to somebody's daddy and turn a naval base into an S&M dungeon because they don't know how to ask politely.

Fuck that whole U.S.A. discourse. All it means is means is more money and more power for people who don't know what "enough" means.

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fuck you, Bill Clinton was ... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2010 2:17 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

fuck you, Bill Clinton was the first 1/2 black president.

fuck you, Nader sucked, he polled 7% in '00, who cares. What you say is wrong because people were willing to vote 23% for Ross Perot in '92 so go do your homework asshole.

Bush didnt go to Iraq to prove something to his daddy- why were you so taken by Oliver Stone's terrible film on W? That thesis is so wrong. He went to Iraq for daddy and for his friends and for himself. for fcking $. so go fck yourself. You sound like a teenager. Grow up.

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excuse me, Perot polled 18.... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2010 2:20 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

excuse me, Perot polled 18.7 % in '92.

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I hate to be a contrarian b... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 7:41 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I hate to be a contrarian but I think this strident condemnation is too overreaching. Certainly many people may be hopelessly flawed and crippled by egoism. Maybe even most people, as you say. But you seem to deny even the possibity that any opinions or beliefs can be genuine, principled, and based on careful consideration of the facts of the matter. If that is true then the most uninformed, reactionary hyperbole has the same value as an educated response, as they both can be swept away into pathetic irrelivence by claims of narcissism. While I join you in rejecting the simplified labels and political cheerleading and demonizing other and all that, and I agree that it is largly due to self-deception and blind obediance, you seem to be saying that there is not one who can see through the fog. You can simply blanket diagnose anyone who think this as being "part of the problem".

So if everyone is so hopelessly crippled, if literally everything that everyone says and thinks are symptoms of narcissism, what is your solution?

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I stand corrected on Perot.... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 11:05 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I stand corrected on Perot. My, isn't America wonderful? When you have lots of money you can achieve lots of things.

To quote Wikipedia: "He campaigned in 16 states and spent an estimated $65.4 million of his own money. Perot employed the innovative strategy of purchasing half-hour blocks of time on major networks for infomercial-type campaign advertisements; this advertising garnered more viewership than many sitcoms, with one Friday night program in October attracting 10.5 million viewers."

Let me know when a POOR "independent" wins 1/5 of the vote in a Presidential campaign ("but no Electoral College votes," again quoting Wikipedia).

And by the way, to quote the Wikipedia article on his 1992 campaign, "Exit polls revealed that 35% of voters would have voted for Perot if they believed he could win." So Perot could have won if enough people had voted for him, but a lot of people didn't vote for him because the MSM told them he couldn't win because not enough people would vote for him. This reinforces the point I made talking about the Nader campaign: "most Americans are simply not willing to think for themselves." The question of whether Americans in general are smart enough to figure out that the MSM and the corporations behind it were counting on them to be stupid is still open, by the way; I don't think it takes a 200+ IQ or a PhD to figure out that a candidate can win if enough people vote for him, but then I'm just "a lone nut" with a G.E.D.

Again, this is why we need a Left vanguard party: somebody's going to own and control the sheeple, and it might as well be somebody who cares about what's good for them. Including, by the way, spending less on "the military- industrial complex" and more on basic primary education such as, oh, basic common sense and how to count and add. ("They must think I'm stupid!" is how my mother, who supported Perot, put it; "but most people are," I replied.)

NB: there's simply no way to prove my assertions in this long comment wrong by sitting there and carping at me. The only way to prove that an "independent" or "third party" candidate can win is to vote for such a candidate enough that he/she does win, regardless of what they say on TV. When that happens I will do everything I can to congratulate the American voters for not being stupid that time and for getting up on their hind legs for once.

My other assertion, that Obama is (as TLP says also) "more of the same," is one I don't have to prove: Obama has been proving it himself since January 20, 2009. But hey, at least America has its first (half-) Black President: I gotta tellya I thought THAT wouldn't work. Maybe the U.S. votership is educable after all.

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To repost what someb... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 11:11 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


To repost what somebody posted in another thread here: America: Why R Your Peeps So Dum?

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Thanks for that link. The ... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 12:28 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Thanks for that link. The essay was very entertaining, but since I suffer from ADHD and refuse to take medication (in the same way that my 94 year old grandmother refuses to wear her hearing aids even through she is partially deaf and cannot participate in most conversation as a result. i.e. she doesn't want to acknowledge the fact that she is, in fact, deaf in the same way that I do not want to acknowledge the fact that my brain is, in fact, deficient) , I stopped reading about half way through; the essay was not compelling enough for me to will my way through to its end; I did not conclude it necessary to my survival to will myself through to its end. I will probably go back at a later date in time and finish reading it so thank you for said link.

"Let me know when a POOR "independent" wins 1/5 of the vote in a Presidential campaign ("but no Electoral College votes," again quoting Wikipedia)."

This has happened several times in our political history: If you will recall Teddy Roosevelt won 27% of vote running as a Progressive in 1912 (Yes, perhaps he should be excluded here due to $, but that is for another comment/post altogether); Republican Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin won 17% of the vote in 1924 when he ran as the nominee of the Progressive Party; George Wallace won 14% in 1968 as an Independent. Yes, LaFollette and Wallace fell short of 1/5, but theirs were substantial numbers nonetheless (Jon Anderson won 7% in 1980).

The problem is not that Americans are unthinking and will not give their vote- in overwhelming numbers- to a candidate outside the two main parties. They would if they were given that legit opportunity:

The 1st problem is MSM. MSM means that it will cost citizen a million to millions of dollars to run for major political office- governor, congressman, senator, president. Because citizen must get on tv to talk to people especially if your opponent chooses to abuse the medium (see Meg Whitman v. Jerry Brown in 2010 California governor's race. She flooded Tv; Brown was forced to buy more and more airtime to keep a comparable presence there). Internet has not killed MSM tv yet.

Why is the 1st problem MSM and not campaign finance reform? Because MSM has a vested interest in killing campaign finance reform.

In short, because I have ADHD and I must get back to work by 12:30pm, Americans are smart. Yes, the 'mass' culture that we see when we turn on MSM refutes this preceding statement. Turn off the distortion that is MSM and you see very smart people all around you who would vote for John Anderson if they were given the chance to. Destroy MSM, fix campaign finance and you get a more sane representative government.

Thank you. Good day.

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Wow, I think you should tak... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 1:36 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Wow, I think you should take your medication. That was a very confusing and illogical response to Anonymous.

What are you trying to say?

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He's saying it's not... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 2:26 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


He's saying it's not that Americans are stupid, they're just brainwashed by TV, and that if TV can be overcome (or at least gotten out of the way of the political process) we'll see how smart Americans really can be about choosing politicians.

What's wrong with you that you didn't grasp his simple points? If I can do it anybody can.

I'm willing to grant the possibility that what he says is true, by the way, but I'm afraid that Americans will only exchange TV for something even worse (like in "Neuromancer"). That is, I'm afraid that Americans WANT to be brainwashed, hypnotized and stupidified.
Anything to keep from thinking for yourself. (I read a book on that a couple decades ago but I can't recall the author or title; all I know is it wasn't Erich Fromm's, this guy was a retired longshoreman or something.)

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it was that douchebag eric ... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 2:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

it was that douchebag eric hoffer. why the hell did he get a book contract? publishing was in such dire straits that it needed to scour the salvation army for literary talent?

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Hoffer was not a douchebag ... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 2:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Worried Commodities Analyst: | Reply

Hoffer was not a douchebag or a bum. He was a longshoreman and probably made more money than you ever will, asshole.

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What does how much money I ... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 2:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Worried Commodities Analyst's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

What does how much money I earn have to do with this, you fcking douchebag? And why are you a "worried" commodities analyst? What- is the CHX on the verge of collapse? Will you be forced to move to Shanghai and get a job with Lazard bros.? I feel so bad for you.

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This is the ADHD anon. pgs... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 3:23 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This is the ADHD anon. pgs. 85-104- MSM, its hypothetical destruction, effect:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/2887203/Media-Myths-Making-Sense-of-the-Debate-over-Media-Ownership-ThiererPFF

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Hoffer! That's it! I was th... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 7:21 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Hoffer! That's it! I was thinking :Hopper" but that didn't work.

From the Wikipedia article on him:

"Hoffer was a young man when his father, a cabinetmaker, died. The cabinetmaker's union paid for the funeral and gave Hoffer a little over three hundred dollars. Sensing that warm Los Angeles was the best place for a poor man, Hoffer took a bus there in 1920. He spent the next 10 years on Los Angeles' skid row, reading, occasionally writing, and working odd jobs. On one such job, selling oranges door-to-door, he discovered he was a natural salesman and could easily make good money. Uncomfortable with this discovery, he quit after one day."

I don't think I'd quit after one day if I found out I could make good money doing anything, but the rest of it sounds like me. Unfortunately California went broke because of 1978's Prop. 13 so it's not a good place for a poor man anymore.

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Hoffer! That's it! I was th... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 7:21 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Hoffer! That's it! I was thinking "Hopper" but that didn't work.

From the Wikipedia article on him:

"Hoffer was a young man when his father, a cabinetmaker, died. The cabinetmaker's union paid for the funeral and gave Hoffer a little over three hundred dollars. Sensing that warm Los Angeles was the best place for a poor man, Hoffer took a bus there in 1920. He spent the next 10 years on Los Angeles' skid row, reading, occasionally writing, and working odd jobs. On one such job, selling oranges door-to-door, he discovered he was a natural salesman and could easily make good money. Uncomfortable with this discovery, he quit after one day."

I don't think I'd quit after one day if I found out I could make good money doing anything, but the rest of it sounds like me. Unfortunately California went broke because of 1978's Prop. 13 so it's not a good place for a poor man anymore.

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Are you insane? California ... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 8:22 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by MedinaCartel: | Reply

Are you insane? California is a fine place for a poor person to live. My mother came here from Mexico and she gets fine SSI benefits and she was able to get them for my whole family. She is also an illegal alien. Any place in America is good for a poor person if you know how to work the system.

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" On one such job, selling ... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 8:28 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by TextbookExample: | Reply

" On one such job, selling oranges door-to-door, he discovered he was a natural salesman and could easily make good money. Uncomfortable with this discovery, he quit after one day."

Maybe Hoffer had social fears, anxiety. and though he made money that one day and was able to interact with people, he was not comfortable and he realized he was suffering from a mental disorder like avoidant personality disorder? But he never went to a psychiatrist for help because he was ashamed. instead he retreated to the local wharf and a life on the docks working alongside gruff no nonsense types who didn't like to talk unless they had to, a situation more palatable to his avoidant personality disorder.

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I would definitely quit aft... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 8:30 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Worried Commodities Analyst: | Reply

I would definitely quit after one day. I don't like working if I don't have to.

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"I'm willing to grant the p... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 9:13 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"I'm willing to grant the possibility that what he says is true, by the way, but I'm afraid that Americans will only exchange TV for something even worse (like in "Neuromancer"). That is, I'm afraid that Americans WANT to be brainwashed, hypnotized and stupidified."

Your fear is misplaced. You are saying that people are not intellectually curious. Specifically you are saying this of Americans. Because of the horrible government that they decade after decade insist on electing, you can deduce that they don't like thinking for themselves. Fine, then if this is your logic, you cannot single out Americans. Everyone in the world is unthinking and just wants to be at the beach all day playing volleyball and drinking beer, smoking pot and surfing:

1. Name me a nation aside from Aruba and Finland where the government is not corrupt and incompetent? People the world over live under and continually elect poor governance. It is not just America, yet we do not call Italians stupid. We do not call French people unthinking. We do not call Irish people half-retarded. We do not call Romanians intellectual midgets. We do not call Polish people dumb poles (okay, we do). We do not call Chinese people underachieving overeating slobs. We do not call Benin people assholes. We do not call Belgian people confused rich bitches. We do not call Canadians pea brained snobs. We do not call Mexicans know-nothing druggies. We do not call British people sorry autistics. We do not call Israelis brain dead metaphorically deaf people. We do not call Lebanese people D+ high school drop outs. We do not call Algerians wasted minds. We do not call Spain people decadent xenophobes who don't enjoy reading. We do not call Greeks illiterate gangbangers. We do not call Uruguayans trolls with less than average IQ's. We do not call Argentinians obese dunces. Yet all of the citizens of these countries allow themselves to be governed by poor leaders in the same way that citizens of the United States do.

2. People do not WANT to be brainwashed etc. Most people aren't. In America, for example, most people say "the two party system sucks etc. my govt official sucks...I don't vote, it is useless...they are all corrupt, what's the difference etc." 80% of my immediate and extended family says this and I am from an old school Irish Catholic family that doesn't believe in birth control i.e. a big fucking family equaling close to the population of the metro Boston area.

3. When it comes to electing public officials, most people in the world are not willing to reform their broken systems. Most people do not want to take a stand. Most people don't know what the fuck they can do about it; they feel money locks them out of the system.

4. People are brilliant. People are cowards.

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Time will tell who's... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 10:06 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Time will tell who's right. I certainly hope I'm wrong; I'm not happy after all these years to have such a view & a bad taste in my mouth. It was 8 years of Bush -- mainly 7 years of "the war on terror" -- that did it. (So where's Bin Laden? Where are the WMDs?)
And now there's talk of running SARAH PALIN for President.

And it's not that I think Americans are worse than anybody else, only that I only have direct experience of my own people & country.
It would be silly to say that "based on my experience Belgians..." since I've never been to Belgium and as far as I can remember I've never met a single Belgian. (The hostels I've stayed in CA were full of Germans & Australians with a scattering of Swedes and Netherlanders, with here and there a Russian or a Japanese, but I can't recall any Belgians, either Fleming or Walloon.)

So what do you say to a Left vanguard party? A non-marxist, or at least non-leninist, one?


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California eliminate... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 10:26 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


California eliminated dental benefits ("Denti-Cal") in on July 1, 2009. All they'll pay now for is pulling teeth -- and they won't pay for dentures. I've had chronic gum disease for almost 30 years (I'm 47) and I've only had to surrender 3 teeth to the demon Periodontitis (though two were front teeth, which just about killed my "love life" 12 years ago).

My father and his father got all their teeth pulled before they were 40; in my Dad's case before he was 30, before I was born.
And they fucking hated dentures. No thanks.

If I could afford replacement implants I'd have that done instead. No State's Medicaid plan does that, as far as I know; most don't even cover tooth cleaning for adults.

Anyway, thanks to diligent hygiene and expert dental care I didn't even need a Scaling & Root Planing this year, for the first year in I don't know how long. (When the dentist told me that I just about had a stroke: I couldn't believe it, I even offered to pass the hat around my friends & family to pay cash, but she said "But you still don't need one now.") So I'll stay where I get treated right.

Californians fucked themselves over with 1978's Prop. 13. The people of this state ain't quite that stupid.

See?



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anonymous Dec. 15 @ 10:06pm... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 10:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Jack Coupal: | Reply

anonymous Dec. 15 @ 10:06pm,

So what do you say to a Left vanguard party? A non-marxist, or at least non-leninist, one?

I'd say you had Christianity without Jesus Christ.

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"Christianity withou... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 10:30 PM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


"Christianity without Jesus Christ." Sounds like Flannery O'Connor's "Wise Blood." No barbed wire undershirt for me, nuh-uh.

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I'd say that your party wou... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 11:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I'd say that your party would be very small and ineffectual (see: largely people from Vermont who vote for Bernie Sanders) unless you had billions of dollars and a Mitt Romney like (bland appearance and legit governing resume- not his religion, politics) spokesman to help you build a substantial following.

Otherwise, I would advise calling your party Independent and recruiting Mike Bloomberg to be the leader. That is already happening. Jump on that band wagon.

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"unless you had billions of... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 11:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Dusty Trailhead: | Reply

"unless you had billions of dollars and a Mitt Romney like (bland appearance and legit governing resume- not his religion, politics) spokesman to help you build a substantial following."

Good luck with that. Who the fck looks like Mitt Romney, has been a governor or mayor of major city, and believes in leftist ideas like full dental coverage for medicaid recipients and shit like that? You are dumb. Go back to your bong and Willie Nelson best of live performances album.

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Howard Dean, M.D. governor ... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 11:13 PM | Posted, in reply to Dusty Trailhead's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Howard Dean, M.D. governor of VT '92-'02. Go fck yourself Dusty Trailhead.

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Europeans are fcked up. Yo... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2010 1:40 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by omar torrijos: | Reply

Europeans are fcked up. You can't compare Americans to Europeans. I am glad that I am Cuban and not European or American.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dranqFntNgo&feature=related

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<a href="http://www.... (Below threshold) Europeans are dysfunctional... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2010 1:55 AM | Posted, in reply to omar torrijos's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Europeans are dysfunctional, but I think on the whole they are more articulate, passionate, and learned than Americans much less Cubans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Drsw55hY45Q&feature=related

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Europe is dysfunctional, be... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2010 7:22 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Guilty: | Reply

Europe is dysfunctional, because it's trying to be USA from premises that would have made USA dysfunctional. European countries are build around nationalities. Every one of them. So when you try to make an United States of Europe, you'll have old nationalities resisting the change.

For the cuban dude to comprehend: What they are trying to do in Europe, It's like joining Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica to one country, except more artificial. Everyone of those countries are builded from more multicultural starting point - to say Europeans are this or that is a great error, since there are so many countries build around ethnicities inside it. I mean, I'm an European, sure, but I do look at the central Europe stuff like I'm from moon.

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"Name me a nation aside ... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2010 7:37 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Guilty: | Reply

"Name me a nation aside from Aruba and Finland where the government is not corrupt and incompetent? "

Hahaha. You're kidding, right? Finland only seems not corrupt. True, it's not corrupted through and through, but there's corruption, and it's very different form of corruption, because it's based on political traditions - no need to raise questions, everyone's doing it. The biggest scandal is just revealing itself as we speak. The police and governement officials, are pretty free of corruption though, but where there's money, there's corruption.

Finnish justice system - incompetent.
Finnish politicians - incompetent.

The officials generally are pretty competent, have to admit that. You can pretty much trust things get done.

The system mostly works, but it's a free rider's heaven here, and there are alot of freeriders. 25% of people are dysfunctional and on anti depressants. Most of them are women. Men don't take meds, we drink, do drugs and punch and stab people while we're at it. Violence rates are pretty high, and most of the violent crimes are done under influence.


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Ron Paul 2012... (Below threshold)

May 17, 2011 3:35 PM | Posted by Dan: | Reply

Ron Paul 2012

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the most up-to-date coupon... (Below threshold)

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Get a free bag of protein f... (Below threshold)

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