Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston




"Trump has, thus far, made casual phone calls to the leaders of Taiwan and Pakistan, two significant countries on the world stage involved in fraught issues.

He has also casually suggested that flag burners be not merely tried as criminals, but deprived of their citizenship. He has done these things, and others, without the slightest introspection, consultation with others, knowledge of the issues, or even acknowledgment of institutional structure or constraint. And all this as president-elect, before he is even inaugurated.

These, my friends, are not the actions of a president, but those of a caudillo, asserting his power to actuate major policies on his whim, and his alone, without constraint or consideration. This is the man whose most famous line prior to his political campaign was, 'You're fired!' Or, worse than a caudillo. He is demonstrating, over and over again, that in his mind he conflates the state, and the country, with himself, and himself alone. He then hosts victory rallies and claims an overwhelming electoral victory in a country which voted by more than 2.5 million votes for his opponent over himself.

Do not trivialize this." -- Michael K.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Occupy Wall Street is gathering more strength as the weeks go by.  These are Americans who are fed up with what the multi-nationals, the banksters, and the financial rapists on Wall Street have done to our country.  If the TPers had any sense, they would join with the OWS movement because these average Americans are angry over the same issues the honest TPers (and there are a few) are frustrated by.

This man sums up the frustration quite well.  

I'm off this afternoon to Dewey Square Boston, where the OWS is demonstrating.


Truth 101 said...

The movement has me thinking about my blogging mode and politics in general Shaw.

For a long time I advocated fire with fire in campaigns I helped. Villainize the opponent. Flood the media with negative shit about him/her. That's what they did to us.

The OWS movement may be signaling a change from that. Who knows if it will be a factor in 2012 but if the 99% demand honesty from candidates and vote against the bullshit artists like Rick Perry, then our Nation can truly move away from being puppets to propagandists.

I hope anyway. But the truth so fat is the most traffic I get at T101 is when I just swear at righties. Not that I care about traffic. It's an ego boost I suppose. But for whatever reason, being polite and sensible just hasn't added up to much in the way of hits or followers.

I sure hope this movement grows.

Rational Nation USA said...

Shaw, at the risk of pissing off Octo {not that I really care} I am in complete agreement with the movement's disdain and disgust with the crony capitalism, corporatism, the corrupt bankers and the Wall Street financial crooks. They are currently the biggest threat to America's financial security.

As I have acknowledged recently I was wrong in my initial support for the supreme court decision on corporate donations. I guess you live and learn and occasionally eat crow.

However, the way this thing is shaping up does give me concern. The answer is not increased government bureaucracy and unnecessary and crippling regulation.

I am very interested in heraing the concrete remedies the so caled 99%'ers are offering as a solution to the very real problems I have acknowledged exists.

Tim said...

Bravo old guy in the picture! I am sick of getting always screwed over by the wealthy.

Leslie Parsley said...

I'm not against all people who are wealthy and we need them to provide jobs - when they're not shipping them overseas. If they were less greedy, more honest and more concerned about the environment, there might not be a need for regulation

Malcolm said...

I can't wait to hear your first-hand account of the OWS protest in Boston.

Octopus said...

Well, well, well. It is certainly a welcome change (for once) to be on the same page with respect to crony capitalism (which isn't capitalism) and rampant corruption in our financial system. Also a welcome change: How the Citizens United decision corrupts and ultimately destroys democracy, as my side of the political divide has been arguing since the beginning.

A few words on government regulation: Be careful what you wish for. It seems mighty contradictory to acknowledge corruption on one hand and then dismiss regulation on the other. Had there been proper SEC oversight (read: regulation), perhaps the Great Recession could have been avoided. Regulation helps prevent corruption.

Right now, environment regulations are under attack under the rubric: Regulations kill jobs. How quickly our visiting troll forgets: The EPA was started by a Republican President. How quickly he forgets WHY the EPA came into existence: Because an entire community had to be abandoned - Love Canal - due to industrial pollution that sickened an entire population. How quickly he forgets the Cuyahoga River that caught fire due to industrial pollution.

And how quickly this is forgotten: the root word in "conserve," conservation," and "conservative."

If our resident troll is so concerned about "crony capitalism" after all these years, then perhaps he should ask where the messages are coming from ... and WHY.

Consider Koch Industries, and its impact on the political landscape. Koch Industries is a major polluter; it has a virtual monopoly on formaldehyde production, a major cause of leukemia in children. But Koch Industries wants to protect its monopoly and its business interests, so Koch has put out a paper that claims all clinical data linking formaldehyde to leukemia is bogus. And Koch Industries is a leading contributor of "stealth" money that dismisses clinical evidence and corrupts our political system.

Before you join the anti-regulation chorus, consider the motivation and the source behind the propaganda: Is it really about jobs? Or is it really about protecting a dirty and dangerous industry for profit and self-aggrandisement?

In times of high unemployment, it is easy to exploit the fears of voters; but fear-mongering is not necessarily truth, and fear-mongering is the worst kind of demagoguery.

If our troll is so convinced about regulations being bad, then perhaps he should develop a taste for salmonella infected eggs and listeria infected cantaloupes, and dioxins in his water supply, and how air pollution causes asthma, emphysema, other respiratory diseases. Feel better now?

Like Citizens United, be careful what you wish for.

And BTW, I support the 99% wholeheartedly. Had this got off the ground in early 2009, the Tea Party would not have been so easily exploited by crony capitalists and our political system would be less polarized and paralyzed today.

Leslie Parsley said...

This is the best video of why and what it's all about. Found at Birds on a wire. Point by point factual.

Octopus said...

FYI: War On The EPA: Republican Bills Would Erase Decades Of Protection.

Contrary to what spin-meisters say: Regulations do not necessarily kills jobs, but pollution and tainted food certainly kills people. So, before one engages in 'all-or-nothing thinking' about regulation and the role of government, consider the background and the facts carefully without taking personal potshots at the folks of this forum.

Now, I don't know much about RN's background or family life, i.e. whether or not he has children and/or grandchildren, but one would think he has a personal stake in the future health and well-being of at least someone.

If one is truly independent of thought, and honest about the issues, I can't see how simplistic polemics and identity politics serves anyone's interests.

Rational Nation USA said...

Octo - I have three grown children, a 3 year old grandson and 5 a month old granddaughter.

I have been fortunate to have spent my life both in the trenches and then leading those in the trenches so to speak.

I have been associated with many fine individuals, both conservatives, liberal, centrist, and even a few goofballs.

I have traveled the country and ghave found pretty much people want the same things out of life. Whether they be educated or just a normal Joe or Jane.

I have been pro business all my life. My father owned and operated two businesses with my mother, all while holding down a general managers job at a 900 million dollar company that created jobs from the west coast to the east coast.

Regulation is not in and of itself all bad. It can be when it is 1) legitimately unnecessary, and 2) hurts competitiveness.

I am a capitalist in that I fully and completely support a system of honest true capitalism. I do believe the system we have today has become so corrupted by politicians and unethical business executives that something indeed must be done.

I simple hold that we do not need to kill the system and replace it to survive. Rather we need to reform the system so real capitalism can create the opportunity for all.

The numbers are approximations but they illustrate the point nonetheless... 1970 a top executive earned approximately 50 times the wages of their average employee, it now stands at 500 times.

I have no problem with the guy or gal that is taking all the risks, assuming all the liabilities making lots and lots of money. They should. What I do have a problem with is many of these same people pay their employees well less than they are worth and then the annual general increase is between 1.0%and 3.0% An insult really to the working nan and women.

Yes Octo I do advocate capitalism, as it should be, not as it s today.\. I also advocate individualism, and self reliance.

My father and mother taught me that, and I tried to teach my children the same. My siblings and I have done well, so have my children. I'm fairly comfortable that my grandchild will also.

Yup I do care. I also have a hard shell having lived through very difficult times. I am not religious at all. However, If I were I would firmly buy into the notion that "God helps those who help themselves."

Self ppride and self reliance are strong motivators. If you believe in yourself.

And yes Octo I understand "rational self interest." I understand as well what it isn't.

I shared more than I needed. And there of course is much I didn't. Just a glimpse.

I appreciate your tone today.

And by the way, My beautiful wife has never been to the coffee emporium. I have never had "to find" her, and she indeed rises to her higher standards, bringing me to her level. Which is why she's on a pedestal.

Good day sir...

Dave Miller said...

RN, a couple of thoughts. I spite of the rhetoric, we have never really believed in individualism perse.

Without the collective work of people from the US we could never have won WWII, built the roads that connect our country, or summoned the will to lift a generation of seniors out of poverty through Social Security.

Our country, from the very beginning has been a country of individuals coming together for the common good of society.

The question then becomes how we decide when to exercise that collective will.

How is that decision made.

As for capitalism, it may seem like the best system, but am not so sure. I do not think capitalism can survive without a ready source of cheap underpaid labor. once people begin to demand and expect wages that are reasonable and allow them to maintain the same upwardly mobile path of the top tier folks, the system breaks down.

How could capitalism have survived at our inception without the forced labor of slaves? How could capitalism survive without cheap immigrant labor? And how could capitalism survive without even cheaper Chinese labor?

You take underpaid workers out of the capitalistic system, and I believe, the cookie crumbles...

Octopus said...

I am no stranger to free enterprise, having started and owned an education/documentary film production company in NYC that employed over 100 people. I sold the firm to the employees in a leveraged buyout (ESOP) and later returned to academic life.

There is a history of entrepreneurship within my family. During WWII, my grandfather machined shell casings for the war effort and retooled after the war and manufactured a line of kitchenware that become a famous American brand. For historical reference, these are the trademarks of the family business.

I grew up privileged but never forgot the humble origins of my forbearers. My grandparents came to this country as teenagers without parents, survived hardships and illness and prejudice. If I were looking for lessons on rational self-interest and self-reliance, I would look no further than my own family.

Yet, I also the recall stories told within my family about the Great Depression, the social injustices they faced, and how the New Deal made it possible for them to improve their lives and give their progeny a better future. There was a time when our government played a positive role in the lives of people. During the Depression, it staved off mass starvation and created the WPA, among other worthy programs. After the war, the GI Bill gave returning vets an opportunity for get an education to advance themselves. In my book, the government should get credit for building the mighty middle class. But what happened?

a top executive earned approximately 50 times the wages of their average employee, it now stands at 500 times

My numbers are slightly different, but I do not dispute the gist of what you are implying and often use similar numbers to make my point. What happened between then and now?

If you were to say: “Corporate lobbyists took over and stole from the middle class,” you would get no argument from me. If you were to say: “Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements but earned benefits,” you would get no argument from me. If you were to say, “Perhaps we should restore the tax tables that once sustained the middle class,” you would get no argument from me. And if you want to blame the excesses of global trade on the Democrats, I’m OK with that too.

Dave (above) makes an eloquent argument: You cannot have individual attainment without the collective effort of others; an architect cannot build a skyscraper without steel workers and brick layers; and if you confer all reward to the people at the top, sooner or later the entire edifice crumbles down.

This is why I absolutely abhor polemics and identity politics (including personal potshots): It keeps reasonable people from having a reasonable discussion.

Anonymous said...

Octopus said...

"I do not think capitalism can survive without a ready source of cheap underpaid labor ..."

There was a time when I used to believe American business would reward the contributions of its employees; a time when there were educational opportunities, healthcare, lifetime employment, and a decent retirement. No longer.

It seems America lost its soul somewhere in recent times. Big business has become more unconscionable - more callous with regards to the health and welfare of its workforce. As large numbers of employees become mere cyphers in the pursuit of financial performance within a global marketplace, today's mega-corporations have no loyalty even to their country of incorporation. As the saying goes: Privatize profit while pushing bailouts and social costs onto the public.

What drives the debate over environmental protection and labor relations/conditions? Read between the lines and you will find a Hobson's choice: "Either turn the USA into a third world country, or else we will export your job to a third world country."

On balance, I am sorry to say, I concede this argument to you.

Rational Nation USA said...

Octo - Thank you for sharing your families story with me. One can not help but admire your grandparents courage and resiliency. It is truly an American story.

"If you were to say: “Corporate lobbyists took over and stole from the middle class,” you would get no argument from me. If you were to say: “Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements but earned benefits,” you would get no argument from me. If you were to say, “Perhaps we should restore the tax tables that once sustained the middle class,” you would get no argument from me. And if you want to blame the excesses of global trade on the Democrats, I’m OK with that too."

To which Octo I would say, in large share you would get no argument from me.

"Dave (above) makes an eloquent argument: You cannot have individual attainment without the collective effort of others; an architect cannot build a skyscraper without steel workers and brick layers; and if you confer all reward to the people at the top, sooner or later the entire edifice crumbles down."

To the above I would respond with only this... Individuals are born with one brain, their own. They do not think with a collective brain. What they do, if they are rational and posses the ability to reason is to consider and analyze the thoughts of others. Both those who agree with them as well as those who do not.

The advancement in science, technology, medicine, and a host of other things have come about as a result of the the brilliance of individual thought that when pooled with other brilliant thought has enhanced the brilliance of each individual thought, that were it not for the thoughts of other brilliant individuals the singular brilliant
thought {regardless of the individual who originated it} would have remained just a thought.

One further observation, I do not believe that true capitalism can survive only in a society that employs slave labor or one that enjoys the benefits of cheap labor. I do however recommend one reads the book by Clyde Prestowitz entitled Three Billion New Capitalists.

As a footnote, Ayn Rand would have agreed with your following quote Octo... " You cannot have individual attainment without the collective effort of others; an architect cannot build a skyscraper without steel workers and brick layers; and if you confer all reward to the people at the top, sooner or later the entire edifice crumbles down."

She would of course taken issue with the use of the word collective. For I believe she would have referred to it as the individual brilliance and competency of the skilled craftsmen, both steel workers and bricklayers that are required to erect the skyscrapers. And in as much as Rand had a great deal of respect for those of the aforementioned crafts {as well as others} only a fool would believe that Rand would not have rewarded them for their skills and the necessary contributions they supplied.

On a final not. It is both the extreme Left and the extreme Right that I, and Rand despise{d}. Because either and both approach reality not from a rational reasoned point of view but rather a biased and often irrational and unreasoned one. To which I will for my part admit to being guilty of from time to time.

Good day sir, and good day to the readership of Shaw's fine blog. To which I add, even when I disagree :) .

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and for keeping it civil.

I can add nothing to the comments.

I will post the photos from today's "Occupy Boston" demonstration in a new post.

Thank you all again for coming here and participating in this forum.

Octopus said...

The advancement in science, technology, medicine, and a host of other things have come about as a result of the the brilliance of individual thought that when pooled with other brilliant thought …[etc]

Not intending to antagonize you or start another argument, human anthropology does not support Ayn Rand. The earliest of our species could not survive without collective cooperation. Early hunters, for instance, could not bring down big game or survive large predators without safety in numbers, otherwise we would not be here today.

Various commentators have claimed that Ayn Rand’s resentment towards collectivism stemmed from her anger at Bolsheviks. A close reading of her memoirs reveals a different drama. Alisa Rosenbaum was angry towards her parents, specifically her mother who often told the young Alisa how unwelcome she was, how the mother would have preferred having no children to encumber her. Rejection from a parent leaves a highly distorted worldview in a child … and a highly disturbed child. And let there be no doubt: Ayn Rand was a very disturbed person.

Rational Nation USA said...

Octo - Antagonize? Not in the least.

Your analysis of Rand is, in my opinion flawed by your own bias against her philosophy as well as her fierce individualism.

Having made the foregoing statement I will only add, we shall always find ourselves disagreement with respect to the validity of Rand's Objectivism and her ethics.

At the end of the day one must remain true to their principles and values. I fully intend to do so and know you will as well.

That is deserving of respect.

Octopus said...

"Your analysis of Rand is, in my opinion flawed by your own bias ..."

Not intending to beat a dead horse, but my opinion is shared by numerous psychologists and psychiatrists who have often conjectured about the personality profiles of deceased celebrities. Their consensus opinion: A co-morbidity of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality DIsorder (NPD). Most noteworthy is this account:

"According to Rand scholar Chris Matthew Sciabarra, she deliberately modeled Renahan - intended to be her first sketch of her ideal man - after this same William Edward Hickman ... 'born with a wonderful, free, light consciousness -- [resulting from] the absolute lack of social instinct or herd feeling. He does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people ... Other people do not exist for him and he does not understand why they should." (Journals, pp. 27, 21-22; emphasis hers.)

And who was this William Edward Hickman?

"William Edward Hickman was one of the most famous men in America in 1928. But he came by his fame in a way that perhaps should have given pause to Ayn Rand before she decided that he was a "real man" worthy of enshrinement in her pantheon of fictional heroes (...) In December of 1927, Hickman, nineteen years old, showed up at a Los Angeles public school and managed to get custody of a twelve-year-old girl, Marian (sometimes Marion) Parker. He was able to convince Marian's teacher that the girl's father, a well-known banker, had been seriously injured in a car accident and that the girl had to go to the hospital immediately. The story was a lie. Hickman disappeared with Marian, and over the next few days Mr. and Mrs. Parker received a series of ransom notes. The notes were cruel and taunting and were sometimes signed "Death" or "Fate." The sum of $1,500 was demanded for the child's safe release (...) The father raised the payment in gold certificates and delivered it to Hickman.

At the rendezvous, Mr. Parker handed over the money to a young man who was waiting for him in a parked car. When Mr. Parker paid the ransom, he could see his daughter, Marion, sitting in the passenger seat next to the suspect. As soon as the money was exchanged, the suspect drove off with the victim still in the car. At the end of the street, Marion's corpse was dumped onto the pavement. She was dead. Her legs had been chopped off and her eyes had been wired open to appear as if she was still alive. Her internal organs had been cut out and pieces of her body were later found strewn all over the Los Angeles area."

Ayn Rand's ideal hero. Not my words, here is the source article.

Dave Miller said...

RN, you forgot to mention that a lot of the brilliant thought to which we would all attribute much good and advancement, has been incredibly by government tax dollars for quite a few years...

Rational Nation USA said...

Octo - I understand from whence the information used to cast Rand in a completely negative light comes.

Rand was neither infallible nor a monster as the psychologist, sociologist6s, and the progressive left makes her out to be.

Many who have a complete library of her writings, both fiction and non fiction, and who have read her thoughts would disagree.

Personally, I would much rather use my independent mind to read her writings, and those of her critics, then apply my independent judgement to arrive at my conclusions.

Having done the above I am comfortable with the conclusions I have drawn.

Dave - Point noted. Neither is our republic, and its governmemnt bad or good. It is the people who run it, and specifically those who are corrupted by the power of government that make it bad. The same can be said of course for the good.

My one liner on government...

The issue as I view it is this, how does government maintains the maximum liberty for the individual while at the same time insuring the public safety. As well as maintaining a national infrastructures that all citizens benefit from.

Octopus said...

"... progressive left ..."

This is fatal mistake you make every time. You turn an ordinary difference of opinion into a partisan one ... and your characterizations are beyond annoying. There are hundreds of writers who have commented on Ayn Rand over the years, and to my knowledge, no one has ever conducted a poll as to their political affiliations. With respect to signs and symptoms of underlying psychology, these are PROFESSIONAL ASSESSMENTS, not partisan ones. Don't get so defensive just because there are people who don't put your hero up on a pedestal ... and mirror your every petulant wish and desire.

Returning to the subject of government, there is this well-known expression: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." If the default condition of human beings always tends toward chicanery and corruption, then it stand to reason that the most powerful people can corrupt the most. Not a rhetorical question: Doesn't this describe the corrupting influence of big business and their K Street lobbyists!

Earlier you mentioned a change of heart with respect to the Citizens United decision, a mutually shared agreement. For both of us, it can't see any freedom and liberty in our future from a purchased government.

Rational Nation USA said...

Octo - I shall not belabor Rand further. I acknowledge your latest points. They have been taken under advisement.

In your closing paragraphs I can only acknowledge agreement.

Good day Sir

Octopus said...

Acknowledgement appreciated. Maybe we can build on that!