Coup D’Etat

I was struck this morning while reading the New York Times story on the billionaires who are funding the Republican efforts to remove Barack Obama from the White House, just what a distance we have traveled in the nearly fifty years since JFK was assassinated. And then I thought, “but nothing has really changed”. Fifty years ago Right Wing Texas Billionaires like H.L.Hunt and Clint Murchison Sr. were scheming how to remove John F. Kennedy from the White House. No one has ever proved that these men, who were so close to J Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Johnson, actually staged a coup d’etat, but the very fact that we have moved from the thought of real assassination by gun to character assassination by money is at least some sign of progress.

Last night my wife and I watched the wonderful four hour American Experience film on Bill Clinton. What is so striking was that within weeks of his inaugural, the Right Wing, with full acquiescence from the Republican leadership, set out to delegitimize Clinton through character assassination. Of course Clinton was stupid enough to hand the assassins some ammunition by playing around with an intern, but other than lying about a blow job, there was absolutely nothing to Kenneth Starr’s four year $40 million Whitewater investigation. The same characters (Koch, Adelson, Simmons, Perry, Crow) have now set out to spend what ever is necessary to assassinate the character of President Obama. Adelson says he is will to spend $100 million to get rid of Obama.

What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economywe’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives.

Part of this character assassination is the continuing “Obama is not a Christian” bullshit that we hear from Santorum, Gingrich and even the Reverend Franklin Graham.  And this is where I get pretty sad, because in some ways we have regressed culturally since 1961. In 1962 Major General Edwin Walker, who had been forced to resign from the Army after writing that Harry Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt were communists, organized a counter demonstration by local armed Klansmen against the integration of the University of Mississippi.

After a violent, 15-hour riot broke out on the campus, on September 30, in which two people were killed and six federal marshals were shot, Walker was arrested on four federal charges, including sedition and insurrection against the United States. He was temporarily held in a mental institution on orders from President Kennedy’s brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

So in 1962 a crackpot like Walker was sent to a mental institution. Today, he would probably have a right wing talk radio show with millions of listeners. In 1962, fringe organizations like the Klan or the John Birch Society were forced to the margins of society and had no access to the mass media. That is not the case today. The crazy anti-science screeds financed by the Koch Brothers or the “Obama is a socialist” rants backed by Adelson are proof that, with enough money, the truth can be obliterated and that Joseph Goebbels was right—“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

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33 Responses to Coup D’Etat

  1. JTMcPhee says:

    Nothing new here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=628728631767818729

    or here: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-09-14/features/8901120771_1_catholic-confession-army-air-forces-cadet-intellectual-guide

    Joke back in the day of Bush I: If somebody succeeded in bumping off the President, the Secret Service had standing orders to “pivot” and shoot some Qualyles…

  2. Fentex says:

    Proportional representation is the answer.

    Let the loons be pushed out of the tent and into the margins.

  3. Jon Taplin says:

    @Fentex-Explain to me how proportional representation would marginalize the extremists?

  4. Fentex says:

    People frustrated with established parties have meaningful alternatives which sieves edge cases into minor parties.

    The strident self-important self-serving politicians unable and unwilling to represent the majority of people who float around the centre of politics will seek to lead their own parties – purified of dissent .

    And will calve off into minor parties, satisfying their own egos but also becoming clearly delineated and isolated from the major parties and centralist ruling blocks.

    Why this happens may not seem obvious to those without experience of P.R but the pressures are inherent (though national temprement/cultural allegiances seems to matter for how it plays out).

    In the U.S I expect the religious right would fly apart into several minor pious parties insisting each is the true way allowing Republicans an opportunity to rebuild a Conservative rather than religious party (but I may be misunderstanding U.S culture from afar).

    Coalitions and a need to start acting a little bit more like grown ups seems inevitable in P.R, it appears the very nature of political representation once riven from two party rule is for no party to have outright majority support. This is a good thing, although some people think Italy and Israel stand as examples against the concept because there stable government is awkward to organise.

  5. Alex Bowles says:

    At the national level we’re a two-party system. But to the victims of partisan redistricting (which is most Americans), they may as well be living in a single-party state.

    If your district has been rendered “safe” for the opposing party, nothing you say, think, do, or feel will every be transmitted via the ballot box. Elections may have consequences, but your vote won’t. And this may even be true in places where a majority of your neighbors share your sentiment. After all, a mathematically perfect gerrymander can hold a district with a mere 26% of the vote.

    The resulting dynamic tilts the field in favor of lunatic candidates, who can get progressively crazier and crazier without any danger of losing a seat for the party. That’s not a guarantee that they will win. It just means that if you are a nutter, and you live in an artificially safe district, then chances are high that candidates will skew crazy. You’ll be represented, but at the expense of your non-nutter neighbors, who (surprisingly!) never seem to have any attractive candidates to vote for. Meanwhile, elections revolve around inanities, while the really important stuff dodges election-year scrutiny.

    What’s so amazing is how quickly this crap ends once legislators lose the power to select who can vote for them. California provides a case-study. After voter initiatives ended partisan redistricting, the CA GOP boss responded by saying something along the lines of “we’re going to have to start attracting a different kind of candidate.”

    Understatement of the year. And it was delivered as soon as the loss registered. No need to test the theory. These guys KNOW this is how the system works. After all, they’re the ones who run it.

    Anyway, Fentex, what you’re after will happen, but not immediately. The thing about the move in CA is that it puts far more power in the hands of California voters, and it does so at the direct expense of party “leaders”. The idea of punishing a representative who actually represents his constituents instead of toeing the party line goes out the window. In another major reversal, popularity accrues to representatives who are good at working across party lines.

    This calculus holds anywhere, but having the shift take place in California is a huge deal, since CA has the largest Congressional delegation in America, by far. A couple of election cycles from now, and we’ll be sending a very large bull into DC’s china shop. Freed from national party discipline, but attuned to the needs of actual CA voters, this group will be able to operate as an independent block. They will become the swing vote on everything tight enough for a swing. They will be the Justice Kennedy of Capital Hill. Nothing will move unless there’s something in it for California. And since California is big enough for nearly everything to matter to it on some level, you can expect this power to be used ruthlessly and relentlessly.

    As howls of pain and rage in every other state become louder and more frequent, people are going to start wondering how California suddenly got to be so domineering. After all, they’ve always had a big delegation. What changed to make it so pivotal so quickly? Given that Cuomo is already starting to push NY in the same direction, and Florida is also making similar moves, they won’t be short on answers. Indeed, the spectre of a multiple big states freeing themselves from partisan deadlock and working with each other to privilege their interests over the rest of the country will create an irresistible dynamic. The only way lesser states can avoid getting steam rolled by these monsters will be through instituting similar reforms of their own, and neutralizing the advantage of the big states that freed themselves first.

    When the dust finally settles, the useful idiots are going to find themselves re-relegated to the sidelines where they used to live before Gingrich Rove & Co. decided to bet their party on co-opting and controlling them.

  6. len says:

    with enough money, the truth can be obliterated

    Not quite. With enough money financing enought repetition, an alternative coupled to a cloaked reward becomes acceptable.

    Decades on, Americans still don’t believe the Warren Commission report. They accept that they are unlikely to prove any of the alternatives. The given facts have been microparsed into little bundles of contradictions. Any new evidence (say the AF1 tape) is poured over but no single fact emerges to alter the balance of belief. After a time no single fact can prove or disprove the alternatives so we come to rely on the body of evidence as the legal profession says, the 50000 foot picture and all it tells us reliably is a lot of very powerful and ruthless people wanted him dead and in fact, he is. It barely matters who succeeded given that portrait of our culture.

    When it comes to short season politics (what a presidential election is, meaning a four year term isn’t that long given how long it takes to create lasting change), the framing of the opposition is quite effective. It doesn’t mean people believe the frame; it means they accept it. A counter coup depends on encouraging them not to accept it as is the case in Syria today where the truth is too obvious to reframe so the final solution is acceptable to the very small groups that control the very big weapons. The outcome is the cost of former acquiescence.

    Money can control the distribution. It cannot make the message. For all the lunacy, Santorum is out front by making a message people embrace rather than simply accepting. That’s the real challenge. Obama won the same way. Lots and lots and lots of money is spent on an election after which the alternatives are narrowed and then and only then do people understand what they have accepted.

    Proportional representation? I’m not a believer in the rabbit hole or the hat. This is about money pure and simple. That’s the fact. The lies we accept predicate the extremes we ignore to get more of the money. Money doesn’t care where it is spent. It only cares that it is in play.

  7. len says:

    @jon tossed in the comment that since the Powers That Attend have substituted money for bullets, things are getting better. I suspect there is a little cynicism in that but given our esteemed host is an educator, here is something to chew on:

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/why-do-some-people-learn-faster-2/

    Are there cultural parallels to this brain model and do you think the way the media covers an election given the switch to soft persuasion by the PTA and the vast sums flowing in inhibit or promote the learning model? The message matters. A lot.

  8. Ken Ballweg says:

    Found this via a Wonkette send up on Santorum’s citing Charles Murray’s book “Coming Apart”. David Frum’s work since getting kicked out of the American Enterprise Institute has made him my favorite conservative thinker. This long form article

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/06/charles-murray-book-review.html

    encourages a look beyond the limited view of history taking place in our adult lifespan. Frum’s criticism of Murray’s book (and therefore of the people like Santorum who buy into the far right echo chamber meme of the day) is broader than a take down of one case of bad scholarship: it gives a context and offers a substantial extension of your brief take Jon.

  9. John Papola says:

    This is a partisan screed, Jon. Obama is a horrible president who has filled his administration with wall street cronies, filled his campaign coffers with wall street donations from fancy wall street dinners… all while cynically pandering to those who “occupy” wall street with talk of the rich paying their “fair share”. I know these posts must be tribal catharsis for you. But they also read like the very radio talk show hosts you despise. The GOP is no worse than the Democrats on being funded by billionaires and deep-pocketed interest groups. To act as if they are is dishonest propaganda.

    Oh, and it’s not “anti-science” to be opposed to the climate change policy hacks and their devious, scheming group-think IPCC supporters. Climate change issues are highly political. They are not all of “science”, as this buzzword “anti-science” nonsense aims to assert. Climate gate was a real problem for the legitimacy of the IPCC at the highest level. But even more real is the fact that the political “solutions” in the table for climate change are downright idiotic and won’t actually help. We should give even more resources to the state, one of the biggest environmental destroyers in history? That’s just stupid. Our best bet for dealing with a changing climate is to deal with a changing climate. That is, find ways of dealing with what will happen, rather than hopelessly pretending that climate change can be stopped or that human material progress should be ended in the name of trying to stop it.

    Of course, if you care about war and peace and civil liberties, you should be praying that Obama loses. Why? Because with a Republican in the white house, all of the cynical liars on the left who pretended to be anti-war until Obama was elected will once again go back to being anti-war again. They will be magnified by the only consistent anti-war political group, Ron Paul libertarians, and that will mean a larger anti-war movement in general under a Romney presidency. Meanwhile, on real economic reform, like taking on the banks power, we already know where Obama is on that. Even Simon Johnson thinks it will take a GOP to take one the banks, again, because the right with their pro-corporate bias will be less likely to resist a right-wing bank reform.

    Of course, we’re headed to fiscal ruin with either guy and nobody has the guts to be an adult on that, so it’s just full speed ahead into a brick wall immaterial of the november outcome. Sigh.

  10. John Papola says:

    Here’s a great piece on denying bad policies while being open to the science versus denying climate science (or being “anti-science” in general, which nobody at the Cato institute is)

    http://www.thefreemanonline.org/headline/global-warming-social-science/

  11. Fentex says:

    if you care about war and peace and civil liberties, you should be praying that Obama loses. Why? Because with a Republican in the white house, all of the cynical liars on the left who pretended to be anti-war until Obama was elected will once again go back to being anti-war again.

    This doesn’t make any sense. Republicans seem pretty bold about declaring an intent to start a new war with Iran, that doesn’t seem like a better choice than a President who doesn’t.

    I can understand not being pleased with Obama’s record but claiming any of the Republicans on offer represent an improvement, especially in terms of reducing conflict and minimising the M.I.C’s influence, isn’t a credible position to take.

  12. John Papola says:

    @Fentex

    Yes, the GOP (save for Ron) is bellicose. But read my point. It’s not about what any of these liars say, it’s about the support or opposition they will face. With a GOP president, the left will cynically flip flop back to its anti-war status. The reserve army of sychophants will swap thier pay-my-student-loan signs for “stop the war” signs. Foreign Policy made this exact point recently. Obama is a hawk’s best hope for more war.

    Meanwhile, on economics, the charge “socialist” isn’t nearly as far off the mark as Jon is huffing and puffy about. When the president can order the entire health insurance industry to give away birth control “for free” while also dictating their premiums, risk ratios and everything else that matters, we have a fully socialist medical system with a fake pretense of private provision. His other initiatives from corporate subsidies to the celebration of GM are all statist. He’s not a soviet socialist. But he’s as close to modern self-identified “socialist” parties as anyone. He seeks to control the commanding heights. He’s a totalitarian.

  13. John Papola says:

    PS. I believe in general that levels of campaign spending are positively correlated with increased awareness and education of the issues among the public at large yet they are very WEAKLY correlated with election outcomes.

    In other words, SuperPACs are helping republican voters to find out actual real facts (most horrible) about the various candidates. This is good. Yet when push comes to shove, the final election will not be strongly influenced by money spent. Meg Whitman loses to Jerry Brown. Moreover, name recognition and incumbency DOMINATES spending, hence the +85% incumbency re-election even in “change” years with congress at single digit approval. Obama’s incumbency is priceless in comparison to SuperPACs.

    The talk about money in politics is totally bankrupt if not openly fraudulent.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/money-politics-freakonomics-author-gives-big-fat-no-182648515.html

  14. Jon Taplin says:

    @John Papola-Wishing the Neo-cons would return to power in a Romney or Santorum administration is the worst kind of destructive fantasy. At a minimum, Obama and his team are foreign policy realists, not ideologues bent on inventing Iranian nuclear weapons that don’t exist. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/world/middleeast/us-agencies-see-no-move-by-iran-to-build-a-bomb.html

  15. Jon Taplin says:

    @JTM -You make the most trenchant comment. All the way back to FDR, Neo fascist Republicans have attempted coups of one kind or another to oust liberal Democrats. Democrats may suffer through Nixon, Reagan and the Bush’s, but they don’t try to assassinate them.

  16. John Papola says:

    News flash. Obama is a neocon. Look at the policies. Take Glenn Greenwald seriously. Stop being blinded by personal affection or relationships with members of the administration.

  17. John Papola says:

    @Jon Taplin

    Leon Panetta AND Timothy Geithner have called real cuts in the military (not cuts in the rate of growth) unacceptable. I see no change from Bush of serious merit. The neo cons won in 2008.

  18. Fentex says:

    No one, until sufficient crisis provides the window, who is electable as President in the U.S has much room to reduce military spending or otherwise wrestle the financial and political interests that dominate the country to a completely different course against all resistance.

    Libertarians might not like Obama, but he’s clearly not as driven to making everything worse as all the Republicans declare themselves to be. Even being annoyed by his health care legislation doesn’t mean much as I understand he’s pretty much copied the likely Republican candidates policies.

    A desire for a more Libertarian society is something quite different from the choice responsible citizens will need to make when voting – Libertarian issues with Obama are more about a system of patronage that guarantees any candidate in a two party system will not be a Libertarian.

    Agitation for change doesn’t remove the responsibility citizens will have to at the very least choose best between two evils.

  19. Jon Taplin says:

    @John Papola-you totally misuse the word Neoconservative, a doctrine which argues for preemptive war and unlimited extension of American military power. Despite what Panetta and Geithner may argue for, one year from now when the sequester goes through, Obama will have overseen the first real cuts in Pentagon spending in five decades. He will pulled us out of both of the disastrous Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and will have (hopefully) kept us out of Iran and Syria. Contrast this to the stated policy of Romney, Gingrich and Santorum.

    Wake up, man.
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/arizona-debate-conservative-chickens-come-home-to-roost-20120223

  20. JTMcPhee says:

    @Jon Taplin
    Sir: Regarding relative political behavioral tics of kleptocrats vs. democrats, “Nice guys finish last.”

    Do not, repeat, DO NOT, enter into a debate over definitions of terms with a libratairian. That way lies madness…

    On the other hand, re “cuts” to the military, the stuff I have seen makes it pretty clear that the Warrior Networked Battlespace Chieftains have done their sums to a nicety, know the extent of their real power over the purse-strings, and know damn well that all they are facing is a ‘reduction in the rate of growth’ of their “share” of our economic industry and innovation.” http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2011/12/06/Deep-Defense-Cuts-Are-Unlikely.aspx#page1

    That don’t look like no frikkin’ peace dividend to me which, since “we” are perforce involved in a Perpetual Global War on Terror (and Drugs, and what-ever), is only logical. Ain’t nothing even a November Surprise by the Paulists can do to change the momentum by even a fraction. Paul elected? Panetta-or-whoever just gives the Stalin response: “How many divisions does HE have?”

  21. Alex Bowles says:

    Do not, repeat, DO NOT, enter into a debate over definitions of terms with a libertarian. That way lies madness…”

    Seconded.

  22. len says:

    Wishing the Neo-cons would return to power in a Romney or Santorum administration is the worst kind of destructive fantasy.

    And unlikely. Still, they usually have a war in their back pocket somewhere. Most analysts are watching Iran. I’m watching our southern border.

  23. JTMcPhee says:

    @len
    Maybe time to grow eyes in the backs of our heads too; while looking south, “we” have to kind of bear in mind all those Fellow Americans who are referring to that stash of combustibles up in the Sort Of Far North as “OUR Tar Sands.” Though I see that some definitionists insist on referring to them as “oil sands,” or “bituminous sands,” as doing a much better job of peddling the “extracting” of them as something positively, like, Righteous and Innocuous. Like plans to suck all the fresh water out of OUR Great Lakes, so the Kleptocratic greedheads can fill their swimming pools and green up their bluegrass in Outer Phoenix and Lesser Palm Springs…

    “Drug War,” “Global War on Terror,” “Wars of Choice,” “Networked Battlespacia,” all of a fu##ing piece. And 7,000 Marines marooned in Costa Rica… The parts are interoperable, the game’s the same, all us dumbshits happily keep paying our taxes and creating Real Wealth to encourage the Chinese and the Social Security Trust Fund to lend “us” money to pay for more of this shit.

    Frank Herbert, the “Dune” guy, had a lot on the ball in the understanding of human nature. One thread of his tales is the vast sense of stultification and malaise and unspoken knowledge that the species was in need of stirring vigorously. A grand unconscious thrust toward the catharsis and randomness of violence on an enormous scale, the re-mixing of genes and cutting off of less-”successful” branches of the family tree. Something that even the Kwisatz Haderach could neither stop nor really control. Lots of stuff on YouTube that sure looks like the runup to Ragnarok to me.

    What’s that new Gametoy that brings the Matirx another tad closer? The PSVita? http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/08/sony-playstation-vita-delayed-to-2012-for-us-europe.html Where the current “sell” is a “game” that is basically all Hobbes, every person’s hand turned against every other person’s, as you walk about under the real sun and feel the real breeze on your cheeks?

    Stupid fu##ing humans.

  24. len says:

    @jtmc: Consider the closing chapter of jurassic part (the book) with the image of those clever raptors who absolutely must obey their xeroxed genetic urge to migrate north with the rest of the birds eating all the way. I don’t know if genes are driving us or our habit complexes that are so strong we accept (as someone on NPR pointed out) that the developers of Febreeze added a strong scent to a product designed to eliminate scents because by habit, we can’t smell our own shite (really) so the reward for using the product is never “sensed” unless a smell is added to the product itself. IOW, it can’t just remove the scent; it also has to perfume the room

    And this is what successful politicians get: you can’t just fix things; you have to ensure the fixin
    send a signal too. It’s not enough for Obama to get a stimulus that puts money in the taxpayers’ pockets in a time when most have direct deposit because they don’t notice. He would have done better mailing them a check as Bush did. As Joe Klein points out, they are objecting to “shovel ready projects” few of which actually happened so the money isn’t spent.

    As a wise fellow pointed out, given average idiots, half are dumber than that so in effect, most of us are above average idiots and it’s very hard to democratically govern a nation of dum-dums. Thus we give them candy. See Lady Gaga. Nature conspires against intelligence and favors habits. We can eat our way to Canada and take the pipeline home. Go with the flow.

  25. John Papola says:

    @Jon Taplin

    Jon, since Obama will likely win, I pray that you are correct. The talk from Panetta of these cuts being a “doomsday” does not instill any confidence in me. Nor does Obama’s love of the CIA and drone warfare or NDAA horror. The man is not for peace. He’s for power. But, fingers crossed.

  26. Fentex says:

    It’s true of all elections, but especially where there’s a two party system and embedded patronage, that the best conceivable person isn’t a choice for electors.

    It’s about choosing the best of the candidates, no matter how much one might wish or agitate for different options.

    And Obama is far and away, for the interests of the U.S Republic, better than any extant Republican candidate.

    I can understand railing against Obama, but the idea that his not being what one wants in a President is an argument for any of the Republicans seems lunatic.

  27. JTMcPhee says:

    @len
    Re “go with the flow,” and scatology in general-

    The three rules of plumbing, in no particular order:

    1. Payday is Friday

    2. Shite always flows downhill

    3. Never chew your fingernails…

  28. len says:

    @jtmc: Hot on the left; cold on the right. Cut the power BEFORE draining the tank.

    @fentex: And that is the rub. America is divided on what is in American’s best interests because they are conditioned to believe politics is a single throw of the dice, winner take all. They treat each election as a championship. They do not have a view of generations or algorithmic, transformative thinking. The difference in the coming election is a heightened almost universal awareness and distain for the tricks of persuasion and rhetoric. We are tuning out the electioneeering. If that is enough to offset the habit of cheering for a team over a country, we shall see.

    The harsh problem is the Citizens United fueling of the super-pacs who pour huge sums into the media mogul pockets creating a positive feedback that locks out breaks from the election in favor of 24×7/365/4 conflict stoking and resolution. It’s a media-meth addictive behavior with the media outlets acting as dealers. Points of view aren’t resolved logically; every broadcast is a smackdown.

    The Republicans are self-anilhilating. The question of interest is given another Obama win, will the obstuctionists continue to obstruct for four more years? If so, then Washington will become isolated as the States continue to plot their own courses. Here we have a campaign going on between Mo Brooks (an economist by trade) and Parker Griffith (a somewhat disreputable doctor). Griffith was elected as a Democrat then instantly switched parties at the behest of Richard Shelby, a Senator and money man for the offense industry. No one likes a turncoat so Griffith was kicked out in favor of Mo who talks a tough line in DC and is said to have irked most of his colleagues. So now Griffith is running against him for being too mouthy and losing us jobs. IOW, congeniality is the issue and that is ironic here where Democrats would be Republicans anywhere else and the Republicans are one black uniform short of being the SS.

  29. len says:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/08/tech/innovation/green-nudge-environment-persuasion/index.html

    This is what the behavioralists among us have been pointing out: sometimes it takes a nudge (three units less than a kick in the ass) to move the crowds. As long as this is planned, unified and coherent (see the Brit unit on behavioural twaddle), it works. It fails in a climate of nudges and fudges all happening more or less at the same time. The rats become confused and after awhile will sit down and stare back glumly even if offered a real and tangible reward. Sometimes they shoot up the schoolyard.

    It’s easy to understand why some school systems demand uniforms, etc. It’s also easy to see why the students leave campus and put on DeathGoth after school. That aside aside, if we really were committed to improving our lot here in America, we’d be a lot more conscientious about what we allow to be seen on our TVs and very conscientious about our kids’ consumption here there and everywhere. Instead, they are exposed to our personal failures, domestic violence and continuing obsession without our own fading vain youth. TV tells them we suck and they are ready to accept that.

  30. JTMcPhee says:

    @len

    “TV tells them we suck and they are ready to accept that.” From what I see (basic cable only) TV also tells them THEY suck, that THEY are suckers, and that the harder THEY try, the lessandless they will ever have. And what does YouTube and the predations of Facebook tell them about the once, present and future state of humanity? Granted, there are always a few who are immune. There’s the hope for the future, I hope…

    Speaking of nudges leading to Great Change: Ever been beaten near to death by a butterfly’s wings? It apparently happens every night, to the users of a particular benzodiazepamic “sleep aid…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WIcPph-zVs&feature=related I wonder why the originator of the notion picked Peking as the location for that inconsiderable initiating displacement?

    And for the young people, full of hope and raging hormones and unformed frontal lobes, there’s this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhdkaeUIz74

  31. len says:

    And what does YouTube and the predations of Facebook tell them about the once, present and future state of humanity?

    That if they have a message, they have a means. For all the trivia, the kids get this. The hope my friend is that they have a means to derive their own hope, their own way. They will succeed better or worse than we but I think of youtube and facebook as ways to help if one has the talent and the time.

    We try. We catch. We add handlers. :()

  32. Javier says:

    I’m reading you from Spain. And enjoying every word.

    And very surprised to learn that right wing politicans play the same games everywhere. I always thought that the US was safely on the side of democracy, in fact I always use your country as an example of a nation where democratic tradition has exluded bigots and lunatics from the political mainstream. I guess that the times have changed.

    We have our own brand of extreme right lunatics, and a right that has been traditionally alergic to modernisation and democratic values. We had Franco ruling the country 40 years, you see. And when a liberal or socialist party wins the election, they always try to oust it, never accept the legitimacy of the election, and always in the name of God, freedom, ect., call for a coup.

    Guess they -American, Spanish extremists- atre built in te same factrory. Same model, different accesories.

    As for the never ending arguments about socialism, libertarians, class warfare, etc. I would make Supercapitalism, the Robert Reich book, compulsory reading at schools over the world, so that people learn that the US became a superpower by planned economy fro the grovernment and engendered the american way of life when a president forced the big industrial patrons to raise salaries. And started to decay the day neocons convinced voters that if the rich get richere verything would be better.

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