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January 06, 2014


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Very, very well done, Jon

Something is driving us mad and it appears that the disease will have to run its full course. That is, the nation will collapse from a refusal to take responsibility for what is real as opposed to simply playing Family Feud on the national stage. When a majority of Republicans no longer believe in evolution, the sign becomes giant neon letters blinking in our eyes: THIS IS NOT GOING TO END WELL. When all but the upper 1% of citizens see their income shrinking and the only recipe for recovery has something to do with cutting food stamps and unemployment insurance, the sign illuminates the emptiness of our national soul.

We will not be the first modern empire to implode. Germany (sorry, Godwin) went crazy in the 1930s, lost a good chunk of its territory, millions of its own people, and the respect of the world. They've rebuilt and are doing very well despite universal health care, strong labor unions, and excellent mass transit ( The Wall Street Journal should investigate this absurdity). But you can still see how haunted many Germans are by recent history. Traveling through Europe a few years ago, I noticed over and over how sullen and reserved they are. I wondered: are they resentful because of losing the war or because they're still getting blamed for starting it?

A politically mature citizenry would want to tackle problems before they metastasize into bigger ones. NOT US! We're better than other people, because, well.....just because. This means we don't take climate change seriously because science is hard and why should we pay attention to stuff that is hard? We don't take energy depletion seriously because we're entitled to drive 35 miles one-way to work. We don't take education seriously because....teacher unions! We don't take our incredibly inefficient health-care system seriously because Obama is a socialist!!!.

HL Mencken wrote: "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." He called the average American citizen (and this was back in the 1920s) Boobus Americanus. You wonder what he would think of us today. I blow hot and cold on the survival issue myself, one day thinking young people will rescue this nation from the iron grip of demented crybabies, and the next day thinking it's all too far gone for any rescue. Germany was Europe greatest civilization and it blew itself up. Our civilization was great once but we've whittled it down to a level worthy of mordant mirth. Do we deserve what we're going to get? Yes, but not our children. They deserve better. And if we taught them history as opposed to propaganda, they would be very, very angry.

Pertinent and funny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YR4CseY9pk

Reminiscent of Morrris Berman- that's good. I'm getting on in years and am not so concerned that this will impact me. I've enjoyed more opportunity than 99% of people who've ever lived. Maybe it's perverse but I'm curious about how- not whether- this will come down, what that strange beast slouching around out there will look like. But I'm at least as concerned for my children and any that they might have and by extension all of the others living in our mess. Amazed at what we're squandering. Anyway, back tho the football game!

Soleri good post.
Your opening line reminds me of a e e cummings poem. Something about a comfortable disease, Manunkind and a hell of a good universe next door, lets go.

OMG. You nailed it. I have nothing to add other than it's difficult to want to stay involved and work towards a greater good when you have all that working against you. And we wonder why so many people shut themselves up in their homes, watch brainless TV and their fill of nutritionless, empty calorie snack foods and sugared softdrinks!!! Not everyone has the "get out there and fight" personality. To some, the brain reacts differently to the absence of hope than it does others. And for still others, they tried to fight and got burned or burned out for their efforts, and nothing changed. As for me, I try to lose myself in books.

SD Mittelsteadt, I take it you do not subscribe to Adbuster and are not an "Occupy" person.

Of note is that the international effort to wipe out the only pure form of capitalism on the planet is very busy.



RC, do you really think the USA will drop out of the Middle East to take on China? I think it might be more likely the USA doubles down in the mideast to reconquer Iraq and go into Iran. China's got no oil.

cal Lash: I admire those groups you mention but I have little faith in the David vs Goliath analogy. Especially in this country.

"Why should cattle have the gifts of freedom?
Their heritage from generation to generation is the belled yoke and the lash." -Pushkin

I agree with most of this but I really can't share your distress over swearing and casual language. Norms of civility are arbitrarily established and enforced by the most powerful members of society and wielded against those with the least power, who often don't even know what the rules are and are more likely to be in violation of them. The current emphasis on "civility" has been used to discount the voices of those who are harmed by or trying to bring attention to the harms done by the elites. Those unwashed ruffians are so angry and crude!

This was perfectly illustrated in Frank Luntz' recent self-pitying interview in the Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/01/the-agony-of-frank-luntz/282766/#comment-1189732583

Here's how he described the Occupy movement:

"I am grateful that Occupy Wall Street turned out to be a bunch of crazy, disgusting, rude, horrible people, because they were onto something," he says. "Limbaugh made fun of me when I said that Occupy Wall Street scares me. Because he didn't hear what I hear. He doesn't see what I see." The people are angry. They want more, not because we have not given them enough but because we have given them too much."

Luntz is simply repeating urban legends about Occupy. There's a long history of portraying left wing protest movements as dirty and scary. But it's clear that real populist anger has him really rattled, which is ironic since he built his career on spinning corporate propaganda as homespun wisdom.

And the guy who made his mark by teaching Republicans how to describe Democrats as "sick", "corrupt", and "traitors" seems utterly mystified as to how the country became so polarized! Naturally, the solution Luntz favors involves increasing the influence of wealthy business leaders over the political discourse and, you guessed it, more civility!

If he could, Luntz would like to have a consulting role on The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama. "I know I'm not supposed to like it, but I love it," he says. He feels a kinship with Jeff Daniels' character, the gruff, guilt-ridden, ostensibly Republican antihero, who is uncomfortable with small talk and driven by a "mission to civilize." "I love that phrase," Luntz says. "That doesn't happen in anything that we do."

The civility that Luntz and his ilk desire is not rooted in reason and empathy. No, it's about deference to one's "betters" no matter what. No matter how dishonest, hypocritical, and stupid they are. I'm not interested in that. Team Uncivil here.

It is a mystery to people like Luntz that it's so easy to kiss the Man's arse and make a comfortable living, so, why would anyone choose to live differently?

Civility from Republicans? You gotta be kiddin' me? They are talking about civility TOWARD Republicans.

I still am hearing too much crying and doom and gloom from the Left. People on the Right revel in being jerks. George Will never tires of reminding us that he is an intellectual AND a narrow minded prick. If George Will doesn't want to be called a narrow minded prick, he should stop being one.

I am just using Will as an example, I have no ax to grind against him -- although he would probably try to paint that phrase as a death threat - that's what narrow minded pricks do.

It's so funny that "dorky dorkman" mentioned George Will. I'm here to second Donna Gratehouse's scold of Jon's distress expressed in (9.) - though I understand his intent. The reason I thought it was funny is that Mr. Talton also shares Will's disdain over the ubiquity of blue jeans.

I cheerfully reject these concerns.

Petro -- Without denim, there would be no paper money.

Jon grew up in a Phx where boys wore nothing but 'blue jeans'(Levis), but in Queens, NY (where I was born) and on Long Island, boys wore corduroy pants or 'slacks'. You can imagine my relief upon ending up in Phx, where boys wore Levis.

One of my early casual friends in Phx (as an 8 yr old, was the Eclectic Mouse, who also was forced to wear the last of his 'slacks' until they were worn out.

I see both Democrats and Republicans guilty of everything on this list, and at this point in time they are almost wholly the same with very few insignificant differences. Neither party should be entrusted with our future, and no one from either party cares one iota about you or me or anyone else. They are only interested in preserving their power structures and funding sources, nothing else.

I am a staunch independent and will never vote major party again, as I feel both sides will be the eventual downfall of this once-great country, probably much sooner than later. If you think either party is actually doing anything positive to help you or me or anyone else who isn't dropping millions into their coffers you are sadly delusional. Stop drinking the KoolAid, open your eyes and use your brains.

Lutz the Putz. He sees himself in the mirror he holds up to the world, but is too arrogant to know himself.

The Eclectic Mouse!

Boo-urns, interesting handle. I think I read some of your thoughts in the latest issue of Adbusters. More than likely U R right.

LEVIS: "Real" men and women only need two things in life, a T-shirt and a pair of Levis. For folks under 30 I recommend buttons over zippers.

Good news for Capitalism:

Bad Capitalism news for the most of us:

Legal weed. It's good to know in these trying times that soma is coming to a store next to you.

Regarding fake 'civility':

Bottom line: Maricopa County gets what it deserves.


Wow, that post on smarm was an entertaining read, AWinter. Thanks!

Petro, did you catch the first comment by Freddie de Boer? Probably the most intelligent commenter on the Internet. Obviously, I'm contaminated by a snark habit myself and I really love the best practitioners like Alex Pareene, Matt Taibbi, James Wolcott, and Charles Pierce. Who are the worst offenders in the public realm when it comes to smarm? I think David Brooks is a good pick (he wrote last week about our "moral ecology" as a reason to oppose marijuana legalization. I'd add Ruth Marcus, Bob Woodward, and the laughable Peggy Noonan (who I sometimes think was conjured by John Waters during a psychotic break).

The part I really enjoyed most was the brief history of Jedediah Purdy, who used to intone on the Diane Rehm Show (NPR) with disturbing frequency. Now he's a professor of law at Duke, no doubt instilling high-mindedness in corporate America's up-and-coming sharks.

With all due respect, U all will have to simplify Swarm for me as what i read I did not comprehend.
Cal from the Sajuaro desert

Rumor: Governor approves state Kiosk Marijuana sales franchise to her sons:
consequently I see:
Petro financed by Talton gets Kiosk sales at light rail station at Park Central stop.
Chapo Guzman buys Lexington towers and moves into penthouse. Given green card and considered for amnesty as Mexican government has kill contract out on him using DEA financing. Its capitalism at its best.

Boo - "...they are almost wholly the same with very few insignificant differences."

The power to say what you mean is what delineates the smartasses from the dumbasses. You fall into the latter category.

Am I the only one who bristles when I see the numerous commercials showing companies supporting the troops when not one of them(and a large majority of Americans) even questioned the war in 2003?That was the event that allowed the many travesties listed by Mr. Talton.Nothing I am seeing in the corporate media and what I hear from average citizens makes me believe that we learned anything that has happened
as recently as 10 years ago,much less 100 years ago.It was said"those who don't learn from history,are doomed to repeat it"
This wisdom has been replaced by "never let a crisis go to waste"and further your agenda,be it Democrat,Republican,or corporate.Below is a link to Sen.Byrd asking the Senate not to rush to judgement on the Iraq war.Each of us should reflect on where we were and if we had the cajones to resist the "conventional wisdom"


miked -- "This wisdom has been replaced by 'never let a crisis go to waste' and further your agenda,be it Democrat,Republican,or corporate."

This is the false equivalence that we hear in the mainstream media all the time. For every example, flawed though your example may be, of the Democrats doing this, you will find hundreds of examples of Republicans doing this.

Just so we know who to blame for the mess we're in: It's the goddam' Republicans -- and no one else.

So dork u going shoot me. I'm still carrying a voter card that says republican

Dork: Are we really in a MESS? More than one Mess? your solution?

I am off to the Mountain to see Geronimo and talk to Camus.

Keep drinking the Koolaid Dorky and delude yourself into the falsehood that the Democrats are somehow superior / better / correct / always right / saviors of the Universe / etc.

"The power to say what you mean is what delineates the smartasses from the dumbasses. You fall into the latter category."
The last bastion of a liberal, when there is no cogent point to be made: name-calling. The internet is full of examples, including yours.

miked - "Am I the only one who bristles...?"

Apparently not. Several of your fellow Republicans are 'bristling', as well. And as for 'Boo', the people at Jonestown drank Flavoraid, not Koolaid, so you can't even get that right.

Cal -- "I am off to the Mountain to see Geronimo and talk to Camus."

Why won't you talk to Geronimo? Can you see Camus, or do you just talk to him?

Like Homer Simpson, I'm sure that you can truthfully say that you are not not licking the hallucinogenic frogs.

Donna Gratehouse,

I am missing your blog.

Dorky should take a bow for hijacking the comments. Which is what trolls do.

Anyone who thinks he's a Democrat/liberal has weak batteries in their bullshit detector. He has no point here except to suggest there is no point to anything. Oh, and that he's the hippest - and cleverest - dude for realizing it.

I really don't care what anyone thinks or says. But if you're going sabotage this blog for no real reason, you should probably resign from the "fan club".

Observant comments by Soleri regarding the troll. Also note that "dorky dorkman's" personal attacks on two of the most active commenters on the blog (last thread) serve the same purpose: discouraging participation by those who contribute; and this is also an attempt to sow resentment and divide the readership.

The hallmarks of psychological warfare are fairly obvious here, which is also why it's necessary for him to post under a different name so that his current persona (which is a convenience of the moment) cannot be cross-referenced with past remarks that are equally facile and specious, but which are obviously inconsistent with current claims and would expose the camouflage.

Many of the circumstances listed have been the norm for most of the life of the country.

Control of the courts by political factions: the judicial right of review established by Marbury v. Madison in 1803 stemmed from the infamous "midnight judge" appointments of Federalist president John Adams, one of whom was William Marbury, a prosperous financier.

Control of the media by magnates and others with political interests (Citizen Kane comes to mind but there are many earlier examples from the earliest days of the republic onward).

Concentration of power in industry and finance (e.g. railroad, oil and banking trusts).

Graft and corruption (e.g., Tammany Hall, U.S. Grant administration scandals, William Jennings Bryan, Teapot Dome).

An ignorant citizenry.

The Boogeyman (whether external or internal) as a means of obtaining conformity and/or unskeptical obedience.

Military adventurism and imperialism and covert dirty tricks, from the Monroe Doctrine to United Fruit (whence the term "banana republic").

The worship of "the free market": the Invisible Hand is not a new god (just ask Adam Smith).

Most of the rights enshrined in the Constitution *as we know then today* only came into existence in the latter decades of the 20th century, by means of case law.

Exploitation of cheap immigrant labor at a time when the U.S. had a far more liberal approach (essentially, an open-borders policy) than today (see Upton Sinclair's accounts in The Jungle, for example). The first systematic immigration quotas didn't exist until after WW I in the United States.

Corporate personhood began in 1819 under the U.S. Supreme Court and decisions in the 1880s confirmed and expanded this.

Much of this derived from class interests, which predate the republic but have been with us ever since.

It's true that we've seen some additional concentration and whittling away of various kinds lately: very serious it is, too, and I don't wish to minimize or gainsay it. But this is only relative to the fairly short-lived golden days of liberal case law, regulation, unionized domestic manufacturing and broader income distribution, which began in the 1930s and peaked in the 1970s.

So, while I agree completely with many of the criticisms I don't see this as markedly different from most of the country's history. These forces have always been there in one form or another, sometimes more dominant, sometimes less.

Most of the rights enshrined in the Constitution as we know them today only came into existence in the latter decades of the 20th century, by means of case law, which established uniform federal standards which previously had been under the jurisdiction of states and localities.

Racial segregation was legally practiced until Brown v. Board of Education and other landmark decisions (as well as federal military intervention) forced open access to lunch counters, buses, schools, hotels, and so forth. Not just for Blacks, but Jews also (rent a B&W movie with Gregory Peck called Gentleman's Agreement).

Local and state laws establishing religion common until the latter half of the 20th century. It used to be legal to arrest and jail someone who didn't have a minimum amount of cash on their person (vagrancy laws). In 1931 the Wickersham Commission found that use of the "third degree" in police interrogations was commonplace in the United States.


Many elements of the Bill of Rights were considerably weaker in law and in practice until the latter half of the 20th century: freedom of speech; freedom from cruel and unusual punishment; 6th Amendment rights to counsel and discovery; in practice requirements for search warrants; and countless other aspects now taken for granted as rights but which have only been recognized as such and put into systematic enforcement over the last few decades.

P.S. The Google Books link may or may not hold, judging from past experience. The link leads to Chapter Three of Skolnick & Fyfe's "Above the Law: Police and the Excessive Use of Force" detailing historical conditions and the findings of the Wickersham Commission whose mandate was expanded beyond a study of Prohibition and into a general review of jurisprudence in America. The view was seconded by the American Bar Association and other entities described in the text. Some of the details are shocking and bring to mind something from Nazi Germany.

Excellent posts Emil.

Dear Dork: my response was delayed as I have been traveling the Highway of fear and loathing.

I defend your right to post regardless of your intent or motive.

Regarding Camus, conversation in words with Albert is necessary as he did not live long enough to fully develop non verbal conversations. Regarding seeing him, visions are available to all that seek them. With or without substance ingestion.

Geronimo: After spending 63 years among and being married to two American Indians, a visit with Geronimo requires no need for spoken (white) man words. Our bodies and facial expressions are an entire conversation.

One of the selling points of Rogue is the intelligence, insights and discourse brought by the commenters.

It is a far cry from the thuggish environment of my old blog at the Arizona Republic — some of you remember that.

There are few rules here. It is an open forum and disagreement with me is welcome. I wish we had more conservatives or tea partiers willing to engage (Thanks, Teri).

In short, I am grateful for all the voices. I also don't mind a column thread being hijacked in an intellectually profitable direction.

It is highly unusual for a troll or "cause troll" to be banned. But it happens. N.b.

You're welcome, Jon.

Unlike Rogue, I do not tolerate a culture of disagreement to my beliefs and policies. As a true former prosecutor, I will use subordinates to stifle intellectual challenges to my policies and of course throw those subordinates under the bus should they be caught.

"I am not a thief " "I am not a bully "

My standing has just been enhanced with the Republican base.

So, Jon, do you have a policy about this sort of post?

No hard and fast rules. I frown on personal attacks (vigorous debate is fine) and cause trolls that try to hijack a thread and add no value. Especially repeat offenders.

It may be redundant, but as a "concern troll", I am "concerned" about all 25 of these developments.

This is how the Urban Dictionary defines a "concern troll":

A person who posts on a blog thread, in the guise of "concern," to disrupt dialogue or undermine morale by pointing out that posters and/or the site may be getting themselves in trouble, usually with an authority or power. They point out problems that don't really exist. The intent is to derail, stifle, control, the dialogue. It is viewed as insincere and condescending.

A concern troll on a progressive blog might write, "I don't think it's wise to say things like that because you might get in trouble with the government." Or, "This controversy is making your side look disorganized."

I may be a concern troll as i enjoy disruptions in the fabrics weave. Attempts to bust out of the web

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