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#303841 - 11/10/17 04:33 PM End of empire and the big drop ahead?
chunkstyle Offline
journeyman

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 658
Posting on the other forum made me realize the shortcomings of trying to discuss broader issues as they relate to the political scene going on. We seem to be captive to the media narrative of Russian collusion and the convenient red blue divide.
I still think Trump is a symptom and the cure won't be found in more Blue wins on the score board. That the problems are systemic and we have been in a post democratic age with Trump being the loudest sign. That we now have economic forces in the world that are stronger than democratic forces. Perhaps the only way out is a hoped for spiritual reset starting at the grass roots community level. It has happened before in our nations history. The drop may allow for some space and opportunity for a social change to happen. Much in the same way that the anarchists have created a space for themselves within the space of war and civil breakdown in northern Syria?

Again, I reference Hedges article as a starting point of where we may actually be:
End of Empire

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#303842 - 11/10/17 05:18 PM Re: End of empire and the big drop ahead? [Re: chunkstyle]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15531
I think the GOP and Democratic parties are poor analogs for the groups of American views, which is why there is currently so much fractiousness within their parties. Similarly, the red-blue divisions favored by the media are very misleading. So, too, unfortunately, are Mr. Hedges' dire predictions. He has identified several trends and conditions, but exaggerated their impacts and import by at least an order of magnitude.

Yet, there are lessons to be learned and alternative tracks that can be used as a road map, or at least suggestions, for a way forward. Ronald Reagan, in the 80s, equated capitalism Witt democracy and pushed disastrous policies in central and south America which helped destabilize the reason for at least a generation. Similarly, George Bush the younger, felt democracy would naturally spread from military conquest. These linkages are ephemeral. European powers had similar expectations the century before, also misplaced.

But that does not really bolster Mr. Hedges' thesis. The real lesson is that economic and political forces do not move in the same direction. They are separate entities. That is how England successfully punched above its weight for centuries as an economic juggernaut based on colonial expansion. Rome did the same. What brought them down as empires, however, were very different.

China has a population much larger than the United States, but it's world impact has been far below that status. It is learning, but is thinking hegemonically, not globally. Ditto, Russia. We're the "big bad" for many (including Hedges), but also the cultural touchstone for millions (if not billions) of people. The promise of America still has considerable sway.

I'm not naive, but I'm also no Cassandra.
_________________________
A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

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#303844 - 11/11/17 12:07 AM Re: End of empire and the big drop ahead? [Re: chunkstyle]
matthew Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/24/16
Posts: 319
Originally Posted By: chunkstyle
I still think Trump is a symptom and the cure won't be found in more Blue wins on the score board. That the problems are systemic and we have been in a post democratic age with Trump being the loudest sign. That we now have economic forces in the world that are stronger than democratic forces.

How true.

We live in a thoroughly totalitarian age, and no good will be done by ignoring that simple fact, and pretending that it isn't true.
.
_________________________
Once, weapons were manufactured to fight wars; today, wars are manufactured to sell weapons

No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Americans

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#303845 - 11/11/17 01:03 AM Re: End of empire and the big drop ahead? [Re: chunkstyle]
chunkstyle Offline
journeyman

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 658
NWP,
I don't think we can say with any degree of confidence that were not in a permanent retrograde decline. I thought hit Hitchens did a pretty clear job of citing common symptons and behaviors of empires in decline. The hollowing out of the homeland we are witnessing thru privatization of public spaces like the military, education etc. Magic thinking and myth formations to keep the inconvenient truths of science or journalism at bay. The theft of resources and hoarding of wealth. Dissassociation and neglect from the ruling class towards the ruled, etc...
There's quantitative evidence for this still though that may become less as we continue on. EPA reporting, crime report data from Justice, etc...
Hedges draws are attention to inverted totalitarianism and it's evidence of the coup having already taken place to our democracy by large corporations. We can see its destructive influence on the ability of our government to fungi on with the consent of the governed.
I don't have your confidence that what were in right now will pass NWP. I'm more inclined to Matthews way of thinking. That's not saying I don't wish you were fight. I just see to much evidence to the contrary.
If Hedges is right then the question we may have to ask would be what can we do to restore democracy? Is it already to late?



Edited by chunkstyle (11/11/17 01:34 AM)

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#303846 - 11/11/17 01:04 AM Re: End of empire and the big drop ahead? [Re: chunkstyle]
chunkstyle Offline
journeyman

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 658
My first thought is we must do away with the fiction of corporate person hood.

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#303847 - 11/11/17 01:41 AM Re: End of empire and the big drop ahead? [Re: chunkstyle]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 12728
Loc: Whittier, California
Sorry, I agree with Hedges, not only on this point but also on "The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle" in which he outlined the TOOLS by which oligarchs were ACCOMPLISHING what Chunky describes as:

Quote:
"the hollowing out of the homeland we are witnessing thru privatization of public spaces like the military, education etc. Magic thinking and myth formations to keep the inconvenient truths of science or journalism at bay. The theft of resources and hoarding of wealth. Diss association and neglect of the ruling class from the ruled, etc..."


Furthermore, Naomi Klein outlines the blunt tools and weapons of mass destruction utilized in disaster capitalism, in order to promulgate the "shock doctrine" which quickly wearies the population and forces them into submission.

There is so much well funded and organized effort aimed with laser precision that we've already arrived at the juncture that makes every Dominionist heart beat faster, an "America brought to her knees, the collapse of secular democracy".

Trump is the final bunker buster bomb which will knock the underpinnings out from our floor. After that, free fall into civil war and chaos, which will only be stopped when a frightened public begs for order at any cost.

At that time, the theocrats, fully funded by the oligarchs, will march in their pastor-strongman...and authoritarian theocratic fascism, wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross, will usher in the New Amerikkka.
_________________________
The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. - H. L. Mencken

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#303864 - 11/11/17 02:28 PM Re: End of empire and the big drop ahead? [Re: chunkstyle]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15531
I do not dispute that we are in a deep, dark hole of our own creation. The forces of authoritarian oligarchy are ascendant, and too many of our citizens are complicit. I'm very afraid. I agree that the fiction of corporate personhood is a pernicious cancer and that the enemies of democracy possess the tools of mass destruction, like control of our courts. Trump and his ilk are an existential threat.

Yet, I do see signs for hope, because we are not the only ones who feel this oppression. A recent survey showed that a majority of Americans recognize that we are in dangerous waters (link). Trumpism was roundly rejected on Tuesday across the country. There are many corporate entities, business, social and political leaders that are forcefully rejecting denialism on the environment and trying to implement the Paris accords despite the actions of the current administration. The sudden toppling and forceful rejection of serial abusers - Ailes, O'Reilly, Weinstein, Cosby, Spacey, Louis C.K. (many of whom I've personally admired) - the advent of #metoo and the resurgence of investigative journalism give me hope that there is still a core of decency at work. I see a growing energy, and signs of life in a moribund electorate.

So, yes, I'm not all doom and gloom. We recognize the problem, which is the first step in combatting it.
_________________________
A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

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#303875 - 11/11/17 06:36 PM Re: End of empire and the big drop ahead? [Re: NW Ponderer]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 12728
Loc: Whittier, California
Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
I do not dispute that we are in a deep, dark hole of our own creation. The forces of authoritarian oligarchy are ascendant, and too many of our citizens are complicit. I'm very afraid. I agree that the fiction of corporate personhood is a pernicious cancer and that the enemies of democracy possess the tools of mass destruction, like control of our courts. Trump and his ilk are an existential threat.

Yet, I do see signs for hope, because we are not the only ones who feel this oppression. A recent survey showed that a majority of Americans recognize that we are in dangerous waters (link). Trumpism was roundly rejected on Tuesday across the country. There are many corporate entities, business, social and political leaders that are forcefully rejecting denialism on the environment and trying to implement the Paris accords despite the actions of the current administration. The sudden toppling and forceful rejection of serial abusers - Ailes, O'Reilly, Weinstein, Cosby, Spacey, Louis C.K. (many of whom I've personally admired) - the advent of #metoo and the resurgence of investigative journalism give me hope that there is still a core of decency at work. I see a growing energy, and signs of life in a moribund electorate.

So, yes, I'm not all doom and gloom. We recognize the problem, which is the first step in combatting it.


Right...I spent way too much time worrying that the #metoo outing extravaganza was going to turn into a witch hunt and lead to armies of angry armband wearing men haters marching across the face of the male population, but in the last week or so, in talking one on one with at least two dozen or more female friends of mine, I'm beginning to understand that this is more of a benign and benevolent cleansing.

Our women partners are helping us men topple our worst adversaries who are seated at the pinnacle of their power, and while some collateral damage to a few minor stooges is inevitable and unavoidable, the overall aim is not to disparage men in general, or to build a wall of enmity and hostility, but to render the slate clean and encourage a rewrite of the rules of engagement, one which they seek to be happy and positive partners in, together with those of us who already "get it".
Respect them, and the favor will be returned. Make them feel at ease and comfortable, and they will flower and flourish, and gift us with all the love and support we could dream of.

Be mindful of their dignity, and they will take our hands and walk side by side as jubilant and eager partners to build a world together.

A world like that will also be one in which oligarchy cannot seek any safe space, because men who recognize the dignity of their female counterparts are also by nature unwilling to exploit any good soul who is vulnerable, but rather, nurture and support those good souls in their efforts to become strong, competent and capable of holding up their load as vibrant players in our daily endeavors.

An egalitarian society of equal men and women is also by nature one in which the moral obligation to nurture the tender shoots of new growth is a spoken and acknowledged primal value, a cheerful duty which pays off in greater economic, spiritual and physical health.
It is fertile planting ground for the very best in liberal democratic ideals.
_________________________
The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. - H. L. Mencken

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#303904 - 11/12/17 10:59 PM Re: End of empire and the big drop ahead? [Re: chunkstyle]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7094
Loc: North San Diego County
I love it: #NeToo women are all tweeting and instagramming photos of themselves at age 14!

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