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February 02, 2012


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I can only relate to Komen as a well-lubricated marketing machine that makes me skeptical as to its inner workings. Prediction: it is headed for a "Humpty Dumpty" experience once someone has the stones to audit it.

Disclaimer: I give freely and frequently to the Salvation Army. They are the only true charity organization worthy of support in this country.

I had occasion to review Komen's "numbers" about three years ago. The amounts were staggering. They have since doubled in volume.

mca, I challenge you to walk into a group of say a dozen women anywhere in North America or Europe. Loudly express negative comments about the Komen organization. In short order, you will have your pants wrapped around your neck. If you are lucky, you will have only one of your shoes shoved up your butt and you will have scratches and bruises that will take weeks to heal.

Bottom line Komen is a gigantic scam, but they've sold the women on it and that's the end of the story. Men beware and men dare not speak ill of the PINK RIBBON.

Speaking of Christians, now that WA state is about to finalize approval of same sex marriage, the Christian dollars will be rolling into WA by the millions! Rev Hutcherson's mug will be everywhere. Ugh!

"Arizona, once was a heavily unionized state"..., is a good point.

Unions in Az., were keeping the State's right-wing from lopsided politics.

The larger Unions like Food and Confectionery, Public Service (Including police and fire), Civil Service, and Farm Workers all played a role in keeping employees wages and benefits, as well as grievances addressed.

This was before Bruce Babbit, a Democrat, who was helped along by these same Unions--turned on them.

He sent the National Guard to the infamous USWA-vs-Phelps Dodge, Copper Miners strike in Morenci, as well as threats to the strikers in Ajo, Bisbee/Douglas, Ray/Sonora, Globe/Miami, and Superior, to .."Union Bust"...in the early 80's,

The State has never been the same since.

Arizona's, "Union Busting" bills, can also be attributed to the lack of voice and concern from the Dems. in the last election cycle. They dropped the ball, and let seats like those held by the Rios Family in Pinal County (Dems) for over 40 years, fall to ubber and rabid wingnut Steve Smith..(Now in charge on the "build a danged fence" website created by himself, Babeu, and the Governor)

Without a voice from the left, the right-wing loons running Az., as well as their political lopsidedness goes unchecked.

Maybe the "left" will have some voter drives like the recent one that recalled Pearce, and hopefully bring back balance and sanity to the State...One can only hope.


Arizona's greatest strength and weakness has been its authentic libertarianism. For a metropolitan area of 4 million people economic libertarianism is a disaster. As a place of refuge from the socially repressive, mean spirited small towns and suburbs of the middle west, Arizona's historic ethos of social libertarianism has been a blessing.

The dichotomy of Barry Goldwater. A far right politician in his time, Goldwater was always well regarded across the entire political spectrum as a man of INTEGRITY. The new Republican unfortunately does not possess or understand Goldwater's integrity, but pushes its reactionary agenda with the zeal and dishonesty of Joe McCarthy.

Under the current political leadership, Arizona has lost its status as a socially tolerant refuge from the sick values of the deep US interior. Its economic future is also being driven into the ground by an outdated reliance pure economic libertarianism.

"leadership" ?

In that case, lemmings have "leadership".

To HHighwater. Sadly, the Salvation Army has issues with homosexuality. They're off my donation list along with the Komen. From their website:

"Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex." The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage."


Well, I get the impression (and you can correct me if I'm reading this wrong), that you are referring to #Occupy as a diversion of lefty energy from conventional politics, thus allowing the right to do its run roughshod thing with no pushback.

I understand this, but in the face of disappointment in the actual performance of Democrats, iconically personified by the bursting of the Obama hope bubble (Democrats are the opposites of these roughshod riders, yes?), would this energy actually do anything useful if it were re-focused? I'm seeing no crawlback from neoliberal philosophy in the Dem camp even now, after the spectacular failures of our faux free-market capitalism, high-jacked by the FIRE financiers who have high-jacked the politicians of either side. The notable few who try to say or do the right thing are marginalized by the media and absolutely never offered up as viable candidates for serious power positions (unless the PTB know they're lying to us, which is presumably how O pulled it off.)

And even if this energy were recaptured for electoral pushback - how exactly can we sell that "fact" after what Obama did - is doing - to us? The energy is there, something will be done with it - fine, maybe not brand "#Occupy", but it will look something like it anyway...

Komen flip-flopped and will continue funding breast exams through Planned Parenthood. The backlash was almost immediate and astonishing.

"We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives," a Komen statement said.


To continue to think that things can change by peaceful protests and awareness events is fool hardy.

Want to prevent cancer of any kind? Eat whole foods and stay away from depleted uranium munitions. The whole foods things might be a little late for us of the Wonder Bread generation.

Some statistics can highlight the red in the purple field:


The right laid the groundwork for their counterrevolution methodically. They captured the Republican Party first, then the school boards, then the legislatures. They were well-funded by right-wing think tanks, and empowered by the post-Fairness Doctrine media machinery. They ginned up a Culture War (as much Lost Cause as it was Lost America) that convinced tens of millions of gullible white people that "others" were preying on their privileged status as Real Americans. The right quickly turned these advantages into a rout, and that rout is now itself a self-justifying phenomenon. The worse it gets, the more America doubles down on pain and punishment.

In retrospect, we can see how OWS was doomed as much by its outré participants as by its muddled messaging. During Vietnam, lefties were seen by Real Americans as so far outside the mainstream as belonging to some enemy tribe. The right discovered its black magic at this point - who does Joe Sixpack identify with better? Richard Nixon or Abbie Hoffman? George Wallace or Stokely Carmichael?

We've been playing this game for over 40 years and the left still doesn't get it. We lose because we imagine moral victories to be superior to political ones. The right's morality is essentially a fraud; vote for us and we'll "restore" America to some sepia-toned dream from long ago. But the left has its dreams, too, and they're mired in their own impossibilities of sweetness. We're not going to remake this country with hand-crafted houses, yoga studios, incense, and dulcimers. For better or worse, this country is more Texas than Vermont.

The left created America's middle class but the right created its sense of victimhood. It's frustrating for those of us who ponder these things how myopic the victims can be. But isn't there also a legitimate grievance at the heart of this political nightmare? The average older white American may be well-fed and housed but what good is it when they're marooned in some country they no longer recognize?

The darkness in our minds is not privation but loneliness. It's the loss of familiarity, community, touchstones of common knowledge, tribal allegiance, and comforting myths. We can only challenge ourselves so much before the challenge overwhelms the small self. That's our curse as humans - we're not as good as we imagine or as powerful as we want to be. But there was once a beautiful country where people were both good and effective.

I straddle a fence where traditional notions of justice and fairness collide with the physical reality of wounded and lost others. I want to fix this gap and heal the wounds. But the country is coming apart and the wound is already infected. On some level we already know this isn't going to get better. You love this nation not in abstractions but in the ways it comforts you. America is finding out it's easier to shoot the wounded than heal its fractured soul.

"...It is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."
Hermann Göring

"There is absolutely nothing to be said for government by a plutocracy, for government by men very powerful in certain lines and gifted with a money touch, but with ideals which in their essence are merely those of so many glorified pawnbrokers."
Theodore Roosevelt

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."

A power post by Mr. Talton. Point blank pessimism backed up by a litany of persuasion. Let me throw some more accelerant on his fire:

Did you hear the one about the Arizona State Republicans who told a local school district in Tucson that it can't teach Ethnic Studies? Of course you did. But did you read the reviews of the documentary "Precious Knowledge" and see the trailer? Maybe not:


But here is what is really cool. We know the Arizona State Republicans believe in "local control" of school districts because:

"An AZ Senate panel has agreed to let schools opt out of the federal program to offer free and reduced-price lunches for needy students"

Az. State Republicans don't like being told what to do by "big government". They point that out in no uncertain terms. Here's Rich Crandall, R-Mesa explaining whats irks him so:

"...there are new requirements for fresh fruit at breakfasts offered under the program."

Apples and Peaches and Pears.
Oh the horror of it...

Think about my juxtaposition. Think about all of of Mr. Talton's juxtapositions. What we are up against here is primitive tribal people who have no conscience, no ethics, no morality, but profess to possessing all of that in righteous super abundance backed up by Jesus.

This is a tough road for Democrats to hoe against indeed.



It's about time someone noticed that the rot isn't something imposed on the 99% by the 1% but rather is something that is has taken root from all sides.

Komen will again continue to funnel women into the breast cancer industry; that's what they do, and they do it so efficiently. Cure? Give me a break!

Pink Ribbons - hold them up and millions of women will gather up all the money their friends have and then run miles to give it to the Komen "cure".

Yellow ribbons - wrap them around a tree then send your young sons to kill as many people as possible in order to return and claim the yellow ribbon for his scrap book.

Red ribbon - eat like pigs for a lifetime, then earn a red ribbon from your neighborhood cardiologist.

I think I've isolated our country's problem - it's the ribbons.

Outlaw ribbons.

Let's push for a Komen audit to verify their efficiency and examine their focus. It has struck me as a slick marketing machine . . more Madison Avenue than Mayo Clinic. Using the term "cure" has seemed facile, glib and probably bogus. Remission is a more realistic and honest objective.

"We lose because we imagine moral victories to be superior to political ones."

They are (the same).

"They are( the same)"

Wrong. Not the same.

The corporate brown-noser advances and wins because of political victories.

The true hard worker wins moral victories but can't keep up with the progress of the brown noser.

True in life, true in business, true in politics.

The political victory trumps the moral victory because.....................................................................................well, because it's political.

Damn Walter U made my girl friend cry!

Opinion: there's some corporate "rot" that can often be tracked back to board of directors' malfeasance. No better example maybe than Komen's board consisting of Brinker, her son, a lobbyist, several former Junior League presidents, a medical authority and a partridge in a pear tree. Too little is written or understood about the shadowy influence of "stacked" boards across the entire spectrum of corporate America.

Fun times at the Talton Coffee Club.

In attendance:

Helen Highwater
Warren Peace

As ususal, we solved all the world's problems except one - note to self: don't seat Helen next to Cal at the next gathering. He didn't get his Apache name "Hands that wander" for nothing.

See you all at the Portland. ( I hope it's the bar, not the concrete plant)

Mr. Talton's essay is a superb overview of right-wing political activities, values and initiatives. Many of these appear in states across the nation at nearly the same time, which is no accident, since they are less a spontaneous expression of conservative values, as they are the work of organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which pays for study junkets -- essentially vacations where sympathetic politicians are wined and dined, and exposed to well funded, well organized right-wing agitprop; many of these legislators subsequently introduce bills written by ALEC itself. It would be great to see a second essay exposing the behind the scenes fundraising and organizing bodies responsible for many of the activities Mr. Talton has described. Below, find two links which may assist. The first is an excellent, broad analysis with many useful links, the second is specifically ALEC oriented but has more details on its activities, including a list of links describing ALEC's "model bills", organized by subject.



I still say that a bridge can and should be built between those on the left like Mr. Talton, who see little of use in the Occupy movement, and the movement itself, which as he correctly points out is, despite its vitality and sincerity and the importance of the issues underlying it, is not geared toward organized political activity.

The vitality of the movement stems from the same source as its incoherence and (sometimes) ignorance: its status as an authentic mass-movement motivated by the everyday woes of ordinary citizens, who come from a variety of educational and political backgrounds and are of varied socioeconomic status: they are united by concrete problems like high and long-term unemployment, stagnant and declining real incomes, massive foreclosures and bankruptcies, unaffordable medical needs, and a growing sense of economic and political disempowerment in a two-party system both of whose wings are unresponsive to their everyday needs. They feel instinctively that politics is about rhetoric, positioning, and politicians: and they are tired of rhetorical non-solutions to their problems.

Why should they attempt to reproduce what other activists, lobbyists, and public welfare organizations -- better educated, more politically savvy, better connected, and better funded than they -- have already failed to accomplish? As Mr. Talton points out, the status quo remains and the establishment continues along lines determined by factors beyond the control of ordinary citizens, not least of which is the use of concentrated wealth to political ends.

From a short story by Anton Chekov:

I look at this life and see the arrogance and the idleness of the strong, the ignorance and bestiality of the weak, the horrible poverty everywhere, overcrowding, drunkenness, hypocrisy, falsehood. . . . Meanwhile in all the houses, all the streets, there is peace; out of fifty thousand people who live in our town there is not one to kick against it all. Think of the people who go to the market for food: during the day they eat; at night they sleep, talk nonsense, marry, grow old, piously follow their dead to the cemetery; one never sees or hears those who suffer, and all the horror of life goes on somewhere behind the scenes. Everything is quiet, peaceful, and against it all there is only the silent protest of statistics; so many go mad, so many gallons are drunk, so many children die of starvation. . . . And such a state of things is obviously what we want; apparently a happy man only feels so because the unhappy bear their burden in silence, but for which happiness would be impossible. It is a general hypnosis. Every happy man should have some one with a little hammer at his door to knock and remind him that there are unhappy people, and that, however happy he may be, life will sooner or later show its claws, and some misfortune will befall him -- illness, poverty, loss, and then no one will see or hear him, just as he now neither sees nor hears others. But there is no man with a hammer, and the happy go on living, just a little fluttered with the petty cares of every day, like an aspen-tree in the wind -- and everything is all right.'

The participants of the Occupy movement cannot lobby better than lobbyists, nor educate better than educators: what they can do is "kick against it all" so that their plight and the plight of others like them cannot simply be ignored or reduced to silent statistics. They can take their bodies and do things that make life inconvenient for the establishment -- which lamentably sometimes means making things inconvenient for the general population -- in order to make their voices heard, or more accurately, hearable: the media covered their events precisely because of their campouts and occupations, their disruptions; if they had merely issued a press release outlining these problems, like so many organizations, we would not be talking about them now. The police (and the city councilmen behind them, and the discommoded business district owners behind those) understood this very well when they made the breakup of their camps the spearhead of their attack on the movement, which now languishes. Only the Oakland branch, which promises to occupy an airport, a port and city hall, seems capable of vigorous activism.

The "bridge" is important because Occupy cannot accomplish its goals without the help of political organization, but mainstream politics needs their vitality to revitalize itself.

I'm almost out of online time today and perhaps will continue this tomorrow.

Does the Portland have valet parking?

Cal, If I attend the Portland gathering, please be advised that my pants suit has an occupancy limit of ONE. ME.

I did have a grand time today (what a bunch of fine folk), and I look forward to Portland's. Yes, the momentum is towards booze and away from coffee.

Protect the pants suit, by all means. Cal has a dangerous grin.

Emil Pulsifer, thank you for your eloquent and incisive comments that express much of what I observe about Occupy. There is so much more to come! People are beginning to wake up, not only in the U.S. but around the world (Americans actually are lagging). I believe there is a huge movement being manifest, and while it sometimes appears fragmented and weak, it is growing and eventually will have the strength of multitudes!

In the words of Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D., who one year ago wrote "The Big Squeeze": "We will have turned the corner when contribution to our collective well-being is not seen as an obligation but an opportunity, and exploiting others is understood not as an opportunity but a crime."

Mr. Talton (and the rest of y'all), you're very smart and savvy, but you just need to exercise those journalist's legs -- you owe it to yourself (and your readers) to get out there to the nearest Occupation and learn about the movement firsthand, as a participant, instead of taking the armchair critic's easy way out. I have done this in a modest way, and I think you'll discover there's a lot more to the movement than what you have recognized thus far. It just might expand your horizon of what politics can and will become in the future.

Thanks for your post, but I have been out with Occupy, as a journalist, not a participant.

"while telling stories about the old days of taking the ferry over to Shelbyville and wearing an onion on my belt...which was the style at the time"

Excellent Simpsons reference, sir.

It was great to meet Petro yesterday, and word-wrestle some treason with Cal, Ruben and Jerry.

At one point, I got roused from my normally depressive affect and took exception to the idea that what ails America, in so many words, is a lack of moderation in our politics. That is, there's the far right, the far left, and hardly anyone in the middle. I sputtered that 30% of America is hard right and maybe 5% hard left, that the right has major organizational and media advantages, and that under these circumstances, the middle is already pulled by gravitational force to the right. In effect, there's a war going on where the doyens of discourse uses a False Equivalence to get everyone to the left of Pat Buchanan to lay down their arms. Except, of course, for the right since they don't listen to anyone but their own side. Which means that if you're not a right-winger, you're guilt-tripped into believing that you're part of the problem. Which is why we must elect Evan Bayh or Mike Bloomberg president.

No, no, no.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted something on a website that so exercised some right-wing dude that he promised to have friends in Arizona hunt me down and "lay down some serious hurt" on my person. When I used to post at AZCentral, this kind of communication was so common that I stopped counting the death threats from sociopaths like Zbigniew and company. I eventually got 86ed from AZCentral for using the word "bullshit" but in that period, I don't recall death threats being a violation of the terms of service.

I hate politics and I hate polarization. But if you don't stand up for basic decency, common humanity, and fair play, you're not defending this nation. We see over and over how the right uses dog whistles and hate language to rally their side to battle. They're doing it now with the Komen controversy. They do it with Michelle Obama's hips, Barney Frank's lisp, and George Soros' billions.

You're not going to reason with these people. They're simply too damaged. But you're still responsible. They're killing this nation. You're morally bound to oppose them. No exceptions.

Walter: only with Komen, they're getting skewered by both sides for their vacillation and gumby-like policy decisions. No way they come out of this without being seriously wounded in this "winter of discontent". Somebody's likely to really investigate stuff like their aversion to stem cell research.

"I think you'll discover there's a lot more to the movement than what you have recognized thus far."

Hear, hear.

In today's AZCentral poll question, so far 35% of the votes are against doing something to combat air pollution.

Really? Votes in favor of bad air?

I hope morecleanair doesn't see the survey. He'll be known going forward as moreburstbloodvessels.

Against clean air? We have a whole lot of "stupid" walking the dusty streets of this old metropolis.

It's a meta world, Warren... where the simplest questions are first interpreted through a filter of political implications before being processed.

"Are you against doing something?" (with no object) would probably elicit the same response from the free-market libertarian zombies.

Moreclean thinks what's really breathtaking is the ignorance and lack of vision at the Gov's level. Her predecessor Jane Dee Hull "GOT IT" and sponsored several initiatives during her tenure . . complaining all the while about the "midgets" in the legislature.

" In fact, most people need to pay more in taxes, even if the plutocrats need to pay much more. Even the poorest, although oppressed by regressive sales taxes and payroll taxes, should pay at least $1 in federal income taxes, as a token of citizenship."

Good luck with that. The reason for the rise in the number of households paying no taxes is not just due to decreasing wages, as liberals are quick to point out. They are partly right about that but the 2 main drivers of the increase in the number of households paying no federal income tax are the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The former goes entirely to parents and the latter goes mostly to parents. CTC has gone from $300 per qualifying child to $1000 now and politicians of both parties are pushing to increase it. Imagine how many more households would pay no taxes had John McCain been elected and succeeded in doubling the CTC per child as he promised on the campaign trail.

A single adult in poverty qualifies for a maximum EITC of $464 and it phases out entirely at an income of $13K. A single parent of one child qualifies for a maximum of $3094 and it phases out at an income of $36K. 3 or more children maxes out at $5751 for the credit and the income at $44K. So while it may sound good to say everyone should pay at least something as a token of citizenship that competes with decades of tax policy designed to incentivize procreation. So like I said, good luck with that. Neither party has the political will to cut those tax credits and no one wants to hear the ear-shattering shrieking of Mommies and Daddies across the land as they $3-5K refund checks taken away and presented with a tax bill in their place. Not gonna happen.

Here's GWB economic adviser Keith Hennessey explaining it so you don't have to take my word. http://keithhennessey.com/2010/04/15/off-the-rolls/

I composed a continuation, but once again the system will not allow me to post it. It was composed entirely offline and copied into the comment box, then attemped to be posted without much fiddling of any sort. There are no hyperlinks or cut-and-pasted text blocks.

I'll ask Mr. Talton to post it. As grateful as I am to him for that service, it is always annoying to see misplaced paragraph breaks, etc., which seem to inevitably accompany the indirect posting process.

Concentrating on the top 1 percent was an inspired choice for several reasons.

First, the top 1 percent has seen the lion's share of growth in real income in the last decade, while others have seen their incomes stagnate or decline when adjusted for inflation.  The higher within the top 1 percent one goes, the more this is true.  When multimillionaires and billionaires, who derive a much larger portion of their income from capital gains and dividends instead of salaries, pay the same 15 percent marginal rate on such income that a schoolteacher making $30,000 a year does, something is terribly wrong.

Second, the kind of concentrated wealth (as opposed to income) which has so distorted the political processes of this country, resides in the top 1 percent.  So too ownership of the companies which have eagerly broken unions and moved countless high-paying manufacturing jobs overseas, simply from greed and an allegiance to the almighty dollar rather than to the country which gave them the opportunity to amass great wealth.  The financiers whose irresponsible speculation and greed brought this country to the brink of collapse also exist within the top 1 percent, not outside it.
Third, whatever the need for broader tax reforms, concentrating on the top 1 percent was good political psychology.  Tax rates may only be changed through legislation.  The top 10 percent or top 25 percent have disproportionate political influence, not only because of money but because they are generally well educated, politically connected, better organized, more likely to vote, and are able to directly influence media content, the positions of legal, medical and educational associations, and so forth; but many of the top 10 or top 25 percent support tax increases on the top 1 percent, as do most of the bottom 75 percent.

Not everything can be accomplished at once.  Divide and conquer is the order of the day; and multimillionaires and billionaires are easy targets, at least in terms of popular support for legislative change in tax policy (if not among legislators themselves, many of whom are beholden to wealthy interests or wealthy themselves, or both).  If you can't rally popular support for making fat-cats pay their fair share, you certainly won't succeed in targeting the broader professional class who are the gatekeepers of establishment assets owned, endowed, and controlled by the fat-cats.  The obvious target is the rentier who makes millions or tens of millions each year through ownership of rental properties, not the apartment manager making $75,000 a year.

Fourth, "We are the 99 percent" is a much catchier and more appealing slogan than "We are the 85 percent" or "We are the 75 percent".

Mr. Talton has certainly earned the title of Rogue Columnist many times over.  That said, personalizing the issue of his treatment of Occupy has perhaps placed him on the defensive to the extent that his own higher knowledge is subordinated to a reflexive desire to twit his critics.  That is not good for either party.

Also, I believe Mr. Talton to be prey to a (perfectly common) political fallacy, which might be termed the "all or nothing fallacy" or perhaps the "savior fallacy".  He points out, quite correctly, that Occupy's incoherence, lack of organization, and absence of a specific political agenda make it unlikely to save the country, because at the end of the day it is political action that causes political change.  He is also alienated by the attachment of certain radical groups (e.g., anarchists) to the movement -- though they are an appendage, not the body, as well as by the hippy-dippy sensibilities of certain participants (again, an appendage, and such individuals are always drawn to movements featuring communal idealism).

In the end, none of this matters, because politics, like other endeavors, involves a division of labor, in which each gives according to his ability.

Occupy serves the vital function of shock troops: vital because, as Mr. Talton points out, left and left-populist sentiments (and their advocates) are already behind the eight-ball, having been marginalized in media ownership and influence, in the Democratic Party, in political fundraising, and so on.  Someone must disrupt the establishment to get media attention and focus popular attention on critical issues thereby, and, let's face it, to make mainstream Democrats look appealing by comparison, thereby facilitating greater willingness among conservatives of both parties for political compromise.

Samuel Gompers' bread-and-butter union demands only became palatable to Big Business after labor radical outside his faction threatened to take over the system (and the businesses) by means they made plain in practice: recognizing Gompers and giving into some of his substantive demands was the only way to co-opt the mass support which radical leaders had managed to rally around them.  Fat-cats don't give in because they should: they make a calculated compromise with the "lesser of two evils".  Eventually, the revolutionaries evaporated, but liberal reforms were their lasting legacy (or were for many decades before succumbing to erosion).

For those outside the Occupy movement but sympathetic to its broad, underlying concerns, the point is not to identify with Occupy personally, but to make use of it: it is for YOU to define the political and organizational steps necessary to attain its laudable (if sometimes vague) goals, and to render those goals in sharper outline, while giving the movement sufficient attention and moral support to sustain it.

Will individual elements, factions, and participants do or say things which you disagree with?  Of course!  That is the nature of the beast.  Occupy is a spontaneous mass reform movement: as such movements grow, they gather those who have been aroused by other movements, who all share the same impulse of resistance and of hope; so Occupy inherits the offspring of those movements, including those who possess zeal but lack subtlety of doctrine.

Tut-tut a little if you must, but hold your nose and ride the tiger, Mr. Talton, if it isn't already too late in the day.  Just remember that the movement becomes irrelevant only when it is ignored, especially by the media.

Let the anarchists, socialists, and radical progressives take over city halls, ports, airports and the like -- if only they will!  God bless 'em, it's only for a time, and the system needs a good kick in the pants while the time is still ripe for change.  Once the economy recovers, the media and others will be much less receptive to their message, which in its broad outlines is after all only the message of the political left.

I just got back from watching The Artist.
My opinion
one of the best films I have seen in 70 years.

Emil: I admire your sophistication and your trust in our receptivity/retention for dissertations vs. more concise analysis. You may garner better readership if you tighten the narrative.

Talton “But even then, we face a long march, or a long nightmare, before a serious political movement can counter and triumph over the reactionaries, theocrats, Randians, nihilists and nuts. In the meantime, #occupy this.”

American members of the American Occupy movement have not reached a level of suffering that is sufficient to bring the movement to a roar that cannot be ignored.

In this small corner of the world I read logical and sane comment. To expect that outside of this blog and college debate classes is rather foolish, me think. The real world is driven by human insanity, UN checked desire, greed and the power to kill, to satisfy the stock holders that continue to rule the world.

Currently and until the 2012 elections the Occupy folks will be used by the likes of Tea Party nut cases and the current administration to further their particular ambitions.

The movement has been “kick” started but it will require more than a kick to the systems pants to bring about sufficient change to make the world a better place to live. Given finite resources and the rate of human consumption the planet earth is most likely not going to become a better place to live. Economy recovery is not a thing I see as getting better except in short gains, followed by eventual decline.

I think there is about a 26 percent chance that the Occupy movement will become highly combative and about a 16 percent chance their efforts will succeed in changing the course of the country. The Arab spring movement in Egypt has a better chance of reshaping their government. Should the Occupy movement succeed in closing down major concerns in the US and become more militant in its efforts you will see local governmental entities recreate Kent State. Only when the body count gets over a 1000 will you begin to see the makings of a young driven Occupy movement that can bring about change.

If the movement is to succeed it must Divide and Conquer on a worldwide basis while the Irons are hot and the fires are stoked in large city bowels and then large numbers of shock troops of young willing to die for the cause must be sent forth until they have the queens head in the guillotine.

(I have never been able to conceive e a rational thought that would make me sacrifice my life for any line drawn in the sand political entity). I know I was a cop. But that was for fun and money.

And God will not help, the Occupy folks gotta do it themselves.

"one of the best films I have seen in 70 years."

It harkens back to the golden age of film, while carrying a thoroughly modern tone and twist.

Hedges goes after the Black Bloc - self-described "anarchists" who feed the chaos-and-violence cliche about anarchy: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_cancer_of_occupy_20120206/

Excellent piece by Hedges.

petro, might U send me an e-mail address?

[email protected]

thx, cal lash

Hmm... I thought it was available when clicking through my name - I see it isn't, will have to fix that.

In any case, a response is on its way, sir.

Mr. Talton,

This is a nice column, but you are talking about the wrong things. Most people don't give a flip about Komen or gay marriage. I couldn't care less. Screw Komen and Planned Parenthood.

WE NEED JOBS!!! Jobs are the only things that matter. You are writing about stuff that doesn't matter.

Republicans use divisive issues like abortion and gay rights to distract people from what really matters: NO JOBS.

Most of the people that I know who have had abortions were motivated by poor finances. Many of them wanted children, but could not afford them.

The great hypocrisy of the pro-life movement is that most abortions are caused by the nasty, evil Republican economic policies that the pro-lifers vote for like automatons.

I have NO RESPECT for the pro-life idiots.

Rommey is going to kill more Americans through starvation and the denial of health care than 50 years worth of abortions.

Romney is a satanic monster supported by the Bush family. He will destroy jobs and make Americans eat out of garbage cans. Romney is profoundly evil.

People who are eating out of garbage cans and living under bridges don't give a hoot about Komen or gay marriages.

FBI Agent Mick,

I was wondering where you were. Have you been out on a stake out, trying to root out terrorists?

As an FBI plant, you should attempt to keep your story straight. Since you are in Florida, wink, wink, you should move to Arizona. Lots of job here.

Petro wrote:

"Hedges goes after the Black Bloc - self-described "anarchists" who feed the chaos-and-violence cliche about anarchy..."

Yes, and there is a difference between a spontaneous mass movement that, because of its very catholicism, has no official leaders -- since its members are of varied political backgrounds and formal attempts to create them (by voting) would fracture the movement -- and anarchism as a formal political philosophy.

The former is the natural state of a nascent, grassroots protest movement united by basic economic concerns which transcend traditional political boundaries, and which loosely models itself on similar movements in the Arabic Middle-East; the latter is a contradiction in terms: the anarchist presumption that the old order can somehow be replaced with a new order without...order.

Regardless of the economic system, police will be needed to protect the citizenry against predatory elements. For that reason, there is absolutely no excuse for attacking "the police" per se.

And, while it is clear that, within ANY system, police serve the interests of the system, because the system is ultimately determined by political power, it must be remembered, first, that in many cases the police are ordinary individuals doing their job to feed their families; that they are not necessarily politically aware, and therefore are in a sense "innocents" (or mislead by social conditioning as much as anyone else); and furthermore that, at least in some cases, they will be more willing to respond in a measured fashion to legal transgressions of a political nature only to the extent that the transgressors do not aggravate matters by gratuitously targeting them.

Personal attacks transform political issues into personal issues; and in any case, only fools picks pointless fights with those who are better trained, better armed, potentially more numerous, and have the full authority of the law on their side as well as the complete machinery of the establishment at their disposal.

None of this is to say that confrontation can be avoided where direct political action (e.g., occupation protests of establishment landmarks and districts) is concerned, or that passive resistance is always and everywhere (just usually) called for; but anything beyond ordinary civil disobedience calls for particularly good justification and particularly clever planning, as well as sufficient propaganda support, if it is to succeed rather than backfire.

Donna Gratehouse wrote:

"...the 2 main drivers of the increase in the number of households paying no federal income tax are the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)."

Not so. The earned income tax credit, the child credit, and the childcare credit account for about 15% of those who pay no federal income tax. "Low incomes (or, if you prefer, the standard deduction and personal exemptions) account for fully half of the people who pay no federal income tax. A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero. The basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax. . . For many senior citizens, Social Security benefits are exempt from federal income taxes. That accounts for about 22% of the people who pay no federal income tax."


Note also that the percentage of Americans owing no income tax has increased substantially because of the Great Recession: that is, unemployment has increased (hence incomes have declined).

Gratehouse: "John McCain promised to double the CTC" (paraphrase)

Great idea. Let's add the EITC, and consider going further than mere doubling. Done correctly, this could not only reduce income inequality by restoring some of the income the bottom third of the population has lost over the last four decades as a result of outsourced manufacturing jobs, union breaking, inflation, and other economic shifts, but could also act as a permanent economic stimulus by redistributing income from those who use it for financial speculation to those who will use it to purchase goods and services.

Of course, the devil is in the details. How did McCain propose to pay for this? Probably not a tax increase on the wealthy. Probably not by running up the deficit. That leaves spending cuts, which negate the stimulus effect by reducing demand elsewhere in the economy, thus offsetting the demand increase from expanding the EITC. Besides, what would he cut? The Defense Department? I don't think so.

The EITC is your beef, Donna? Really? Why? Perhaps because McCain proposed something superficially similar, and McCain is a Republican. Instead of taking a good idea and making it their own, stalwart Arizona Democratic Party activists like Donna Gratehouse whinge at the thought of increasing the incomes of working class families. This pains me. At the same time, suggest to them (without reference to McCain or his ulterior agenda) how such a policy, properly executed, is in the strong interest of both social justice and the national economy as a whole, and they tremble like rabbits. "Oh, no, that would be income redistribution, and we'd be labeled socialists."

In 2010, 41.5 percent of federal revenues came from personal income taxes; 40 percent came from payroll taxes; 8.8 percent came from corporate income taxes (whoops -- there goes the "American corporations are overtaxed" myth); excise taxes accounted for 3 percent; and "other" (including voluntary contributions to certain supplemental Medicare insurance programs) accounted for 6.5 percent.

The first thing to note is that payroll taxes are nearly as large a funding source as personal income taxes: and as Mr. Talton notes, payroll taxes are highly regressive. As of 2010 there was a cap on Social Security taxes of $106,800 beyond which personal income is not taxed. Eliminating this would be a good reform. Why not start at the right end of the income scale where tax reform is concerned?

The link showing federal revenues by source (and year) is missing:


The percentages I gave were derived from this data for 2010.

Cal Lash wrote:

"Only when the body count gets over a 1000 will you begin to see the makings of a young driven Occupy movement that can bring about change."

You're pretty blood-thirsty for a 71 year old White Republican.

So, have you managed to meet with most of Rogue's participants and/or collected personal contact information about them?



See also p. 368 "Developing An Associative Matrix" (for identifying leaders and followers of groups)

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