Archive for category Socialism

Merry Christmas, Capitalists!

Ayn Rand Christmas card

“[A] capitalist culture, with its promotion of endless wealth accrual, will never be amenable on its own terms to an ordering of priorities that reflects a Christian view of life.”
Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig

“Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”
Pope Francis

“Capitalism thrives on selfish impulses that Christian moral teaching condemns, and neo-classical economic theory mythologizes a supposedly ‘natural’ free market that never existed anywhere.”
Gary Dorrien

“I am often reproached for continually attacking the rich. Yes, because the rich are continually attacking the poor. But those I attack are not the rich as such, only those who misuse their wealth. I point out constantly that those I accuse are not the rich, but the rapacious; wealth is one thing, covetousness another. Learn to distinguish.”
John Chrysostom

“It might seem like an aggressive misreading of the Bible to imagine, as the Christian right does, that Jesus was a laissez faire capitalist who wasn’t bothered by poverty or pollution, but since religion is a matter of asserting belief instead of making logical arguments, in the end it doesn’t really matter.”
Amanda Marcotte

More info:
Happy Selfish Christmas! 21 Ayn Rand Holiday Cards
Corporate America’s 5 Most Despicable and Cowardly Acts of 2014
Capitalism’s war on Christianity: How a “makers vs. takers” culture poisons our ethics
Poll: Americans See Clash Between Christianity, Capitalism
Pope Francis’s stinging critique of capitalism
Morality Should Not Be Priced in the Marketplace
5 Ways the Christian Right Perverts Religion to Push Inhumane, Unfettered Capitalism

“We Won The War”: Bill O’Reilly Congratulates Himself For Having “Single-Handedly Saved Christmas”


Normalizing Relations With Cuba

Viva Fidel


…and you are the kind of person who likes REALLY wild street parties, you want to get to Miami now.

Dave Barry, 2006

Communist holdout Cuba has long been ground zero for American dirty tricks (up to and including a military invasion in 1961). The CIA has tried to kill Fidel Castro so many times, he once said, “If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal.”

The USA-only 54-year economic embargo of Cuba has hampered the ability of Cuban-Americans to help relatives on the island, and prohibited trade.

Automakers, agricultural conglomerates and telecommunications companies are among those that have long eyed Cuba as fertile territory. The country has nickel deposits and offshore oil reserves, and it produces widely coveted cigars. Only 5 percent of the population has access to the full Internet.

Meanwhile, its tropical climate and abundant beaches have made it a popular destination for Canadian and European tourists, just as it was for Americans before the 1959 revolution. Cruise companies, airlines and hotel operators are among those poised for the moment that Congress might lift the embargo.

Well, now it looks like sanity has prevailed at last.

“Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba,” Obama said at the White House. “Neither the American nor Cuban people are well served by a rigid policy that’s rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.”

Every morning MSNBC’s Cuban-American anchor José Diaz Balart brings on die-hard anti-Castro guests, some of whom suffered in Cuban jails as political prisoners. They don’t want normalization while Fidel and his brother Raul stubbornly live on. But a new generation of Cuban-Americans tend to vote for Democrats, and in 2012, President Obama won a majority of the Cuban-American vote.

Public Strongly Supports Opening Relations with Cuba

A new poll finds 68 percent in favor of ending the trade embargo with Cuba, and 74 percent support ending the travel restrictions to allow Americans to visit the island.


SUV’s, Pink Slime and the Conservative resistance

Back in 2008, there were very high gas prices. They skyrocketed during the Bush years and as gas prices went up, I saw fewer SUV’s and the sky was much less polluted. Utahns have responded to a problem and acted properly. Logically if gas prices go up, then you should use less. It only makes sense. Now in 2014, Gas prices are even higher. What do I see? There are even more trucks and they are larger. What happened in 5 years? Why is it that in 2014, when gas prices are higher while there is a greater inequality of wealth do we see more gas-guzzling vehicles? This scenario reminds me of a controversy back in 2012 where several republican governors went and defended Pink Slime. They defended this product which is the remaining scraps of beef ground into a fine paste and laced with ammonia. When the Obama Administration condemned that practice, several republicans ate the pink slime raw. In terms of gas prices and driving a big-ass truck, when the left keeps talking about the environment and how we have to lessen our impact, the right does the opposite. This is a backwards thinking and this is by far the scariest thing I have seen in this country. This goes beyond hurting others and goes straight into the realm of hurting themselves. All for political regression.

I get that the right does not like Obama or anyone from the [snickers] “left”, but just because you feel that they are the enemy does not mean that you do the exact opposite of what they do. Sure, there are people who are afraid of communism and socialism, but even then when Russia became the first nation to reach space, the US didn’t start digging holes to reach the mantle as a protest. Instead they got into space to better them. It’s not even a thing that the left does. I may think that Bush is the worst president we have ever had, but when he signed a bill to illegalize telemarketing, I didn’t all of a sudden support telemarketers and buy into their scams.

We are in a very interesting fork in the road. We have issues with war, issues with the environment, issues with our education, with our economy, with our GDP and we can go either two ways. The first one is that we do what Utahns back in 2008 did. We identify the problems and correct them. Or we could say that logic and reason is the devil/communism/unamerican/whatever and end up ruining our society permanently. This isn’t even a joke. Last year, the world was on the brink of total economic collapse all because they wanted to repeal Obamacare. Something that was a republican idea to begin with. We are in the 21st century. We need to act like it’s the 21’s century or we will end up in the 5th century.


There Is No Such Thing As ‘Generational Theft’

Social Security trustees
The usual suspects.

Let’s be realistic, the Social Security trustees are not on our side. They represent the 1 Percent, not the 99 Percent. None of them are depending on Social Security for their own retirement. Some of them, for example Robert D. Reischauer, are even working with hedge fund billionaire Peter G. Peterson to actively sabotage Social Security and/or privatize it for the benefit of Wall Street. The trustees board has a long history of being overly pessimistic with their 75-year projections.

The annual trustees report (PDF) offers three projections: a worst-case scenario, a best-case scenario, and an intermediate one that they consider likely to occur. The intermediate projection assumes U.S. GDP growth over the next 75 years at 1.4% annually. Over the past 75 years the American economy has been growing at about 2.8% annually. Even during the worst economic times – during the 1930s depression – our economy grew at 1.9%.

Under the intermediate scenario, the trust fund is projected to pay 100 percent of benefits for the next 20 years, and then 77 percent of benefits indefinitely after that. The report fails to mention that in real dollar terms (purchasing power) those benefits are likely to become equal to or greater than what is being paid out now.

Trustees projections
Trustees projections (II = intermediate).

Raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour as James K. Galbraith proposes (the $9 minimum proposed by President Obama doesn’t cut it and not even in line with inflation from 1968) would begin to eliminate the shortfalls in Social Security. Or we could bust the cap on payroll taxes so that the rich pay their fair share.

Right-wingers like hedge fund billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller are going around claiming that Social Security taxes are “generational theft.” This is utter nonsense. The Boomer generation has paid for its own retirement, that’s why Social Security ran a surplus from 1984 until recently.

Pensions are practically unknown anymore, Wall Street’s 401(k) experiment has been a failure, and 37% of middle class Americans believe they’ll work until they die. The only defined-benefit retirement plan available to us is Social Security. If the 1 Percent kill Social Security, we shall be entirely dependent on the tender mercies of Wall Street for our retirement savings.

If Social Security and Medicare didn’t exist, many more Americans would be struggling with poverty as each generation desperately tried to support both themselves, their children, and their aged parents no longer able to work. That’s the “You’re On Your Own” (YOYO) society the right-wing wants to bring back.

More info:

Protecting Social Security from Inaccurate Accounting with an Agenda
The Case Against Intergenerational Accounting: The Accounting Campaign Against Social Security and Medicare (PDF)
Meet 3 Master Manipulators of America’s Oligarchy
Another GOP Talking Point Dies as Report Reveals that Social Security Is Not Going Broke
Sen. Dick Durbin: ‘Social Security Will be Broke in Twenty Years’ (He’s lying)
Stop The Social Security Stupidity: A Q&A With Bernie Sanders

UPDATE: Paul Ryan Waits Five Whole Minutes Before Killing Grand Bargain (Well, that’s a relief – except how are they going to avoid another Republican government shutdown?)


“My Conundrum:” A Crack of Light In The Collision of a Conservative Mind and Life: Could Be a Good Thing?

Cade Robinson

Update 2.6.2012:  It appears blocked my IP, which is exposed by design in our comments. This is remarkable given the amount of effort that must have been invested to not only find this post, but to inspect the comments in order to discover my IP address.  My next post on the subject will be about the astounding hypocrisy of the underlying justification for starting

Perusing the new Facebook-like platform, I was riveted by “Cade’s comment” as an excellent illustration of the tension between high self-conviction and low emotional intelligence in the conservative religious mind.

…which compelled me to read the top post “My Conundrum” which struck me as so perfectly juxtaposed to Cade’s comment as an example of the opposite tension, lower self-conviction, higher emotional intelligence. “My Conundrum” is posted also in its entirety below Cade’s comment immediately below.

Christopher Noyes – Well Cade, you are what we call around here, complicated. Truth is we all are complicated, how we resolve inner conflict plays a big part in determining our character.

Jesus Saves Teapartycommunity.comFirst, you did not abuse the safety net, and I do not believe the safety net ought to be removed. The problem with the safety net is the abuse of it that is cultivated and facilitated for either criminal or political reasons. It is there for people who, like you, had an untimely life threatening event, an emergency of life or death. Reforms may not be able to correct the safety net, and I would rather see it in the hands of the church like it was at one time, but the truth is the only way the government got a foot hold into social welfare is the church abdicated its responsibility a long time ago.

Second, God has never left you, he does not despise you, he has brought all of these things in your life for your edification because you are his adopted son and he loves you. Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama Derangement is All They Have Left

Remember when anyone who dared to criticize President George W. Bush’s policies was automatically accused of “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” as if no sane person could possibly be unhappy with the Bush administration? Well, there were a lot of perfectly rational reasons to be against Bush — and some of the same objections can be raised against the right-wing corporatist Obama administration.

But that’s not where President Obama’s major party opponents are coming from. Willard (“Mitt”) Romney, Newton (“Newt”) Gingrich, and Rick Santorum all offer a made-up version of the Obama administration which blames every American problem, real (the worst economy since the Great Depression, skyrocketing health-care costs) or imaginary (nonexistent Iranian nukes, nonexistent oil shortage, not enough religiosity) on Obama’s alleged “socialist” hard-left rule.

The Santorum campaign has produced a masterpiece of post-logical Obama fear-mongering, the phony “Obamaville” video. I guess they finally realized that campaigning against contraception and threatening to outlaw pornography wasn’t going over well with either women or men.

John Brabender, the Santorum strategist who made the video, said it was a trailer for an eight-part series that will start in two weeks. Each of those videos will show how various Obama policies, such as those regarding health care and energy, have affected everyday life.

“It’s just a little teaser to get people to start watching our episodes and do it in a way that piques their interest,” Mr. Brabender said. “It’s all about driving traffic to the Web site.”

The trailer is set in a desolate town called “Obamaville.” Here, gas prices soar so high that people seem to want to kill themselves (a man puts a gas nozzle to his head). The flame of a candle symbolizing religious freedom is blown out. A girl sits glumly on a bench in extreme poverty.

“Every day, the residents of this town must come to grips with the harsh reality that a rogue nation, a sworn American enemy, has become a nuclear threat,” intones a narrator as the viewer is plunged into a cold war fallout shelter with old television sets and an air raid siren.

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s image appears, quickly interspersed with one of Mr. Obama. Mr. Brabender said the coupling was meant to suggest the constant conflict that will ensue if Iran develops nuclear weapons.

Fear is an effective political tool, especially when legitimately scary stuff is happening to the American middle class as a result of Washington policies that favor the 1% at the expense of the 99%, and Wall Street at the expense of Main Street. It makes sense to be afraid of a government that asserts the right to kill or imprison American citizens anywhere in the world without a shred of due process, put us all under constant surveillance, and make protest illegal– all in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Why can’t somebody make a video about all that? It would have the additional advantage of being true.

UPDATE: Provo artist depicts Obama torching U.S. Constitution. But the title of the painting is “One Nation Under Socialism.” Can anyone name one “socialist” policy of the Obama administration? They even want to cut Social Security and Medicare.


Rocky Anderson Seeking Justice Party Nomination for President

So Rocky has announced a run for president. And in predictable fashion, the Salt Lake Tribune has fed the fly fodder to its anti-Rocky fans. Pathetic. Rocky was a widely popular 2 term mayor of Salt Lake City and remains a widely popular former mayor.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rocky addressed the subject of the Occupy movement to reporters.


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When do you stand up for yourself?

Dear People,

I’m not so convinced you are aware of how bad things can get if you don’t stand up to corporate greed. In my travels around the world, I’ve seen countries in various levels of rise and decay.

I assure you, things can and will get much worse.

Earlier this week I met a man that claimed to make 600 million dollars a year. I asked him to stop raping the American dream. (Did I go to far?) I think not. Something happened to you America and there are very real reasons the world hates you. This black Friday, that I made a point not to buy a single thing, is a great opportunity to share with you where your Christmas presents come from.

The truth is that all these things and all these factories could be in America, and all these employees could be paid a real wage. The only thing that stops them is the drive for Billions of dollars in only the pockets of executives. Keep in mind when you walk into Wal Mart almost everything there was made in a place like I’m about to show you.

You have a sense of detachment I’m sure. Those people (and children) are thousands of miles away. I take this opportunity to reinforce my statement from my first post. IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO PAY YOU MINIMUM WAGE… THEY WOULDN’T.  Think about it Social Security, Medicare, Minimum Wage, Job Banks, even your Military, all of the government blankets that protect you. Can and will be taken away by the very people that tell you that tell you, you have the capitalistic opportunity to make as much as they do.

The top 1% actually believes that your stupid enough to buy into their scam. I cannot legally condone violence against wall street. so I hope you will help them collapse by the same greed that got them there.

Happy Christmas shopping,

Thank you and Semper Fidelis,

Martin Bammes


The Weakness of Islam and the Evolution Toward Human Rights

Let me by very clear.  In the US, Islam is one faith among many; Muslims in the US are every bit as technologically sophisticated, committed to democracy, and citizens of a modern, pluralistic nation as are their Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and atheist neighbors.  American Muslims in many ways are reflective of American culture.  They are “us.”

But, the weakness of Islam is an interesting challenge, captured in this phrase by Joshua Micah Marshall:

Indeed, the weakness of the world of Islam–an ideology and culture that sees itself not only as superior to the West and the world’s other great civilizations but as properly in the vanguard of history–is the kernel of the threat it poses, the heart of violent Islamism’s toxicity. At the beginning of the 21st century most of the world is, for better or worse, rushing along the current of globalization. By any measure, the world of Islam lags far behind. With the exception of a few countries with vast amounts of wealth based on natural resources, it is impoverished and trailing the rest of the world on numerous fronts. Where is the great Muslim power? There is none. Where is the world of Islam’s advanced technology-driven economy? There is none.

It’s a paradox for which there isn’t an easy answer. Read the rest of this entry »


After “The Greatest Generation” Came “The Pepsi Generation”

pepsi jimmy

Somebody by the name of Bernard Weiner just wrote an article for “Online Journal” which I think gives a close to perfect snapshot of where we find ourselves today and how we got here. It’s about the methods corporate America uses to stamp out any threat to it’s domination of our culture. Any movement attempting to bring any new ideas or true innovations towards making our future better is sequestered and redefined to bolster capitalism. Even election fraud is on the table in this race for eminence.

I’m not going to reprint any portion of the article here because I think the entire article is a must read!

Thanks for finding this, cav.


Complex Capitalists, Complex Socialists

Caught somewhere between the Cartesian view of the world, in which deconstructive analysis was the key to understanding the world, and systems theory, in which a combinative, constructive view of the world is deemed most accurate, lay Ferdinand de Saussure’s notion of Structuralism.  Structuralism suffered from the mechanistic, hyper-logical thinking of older eras  but bent closer to viewing our holistic reality.  In the literary field, where I am most familiar with Structuralism, the tenets of the study are referred to as semiotics.  Using semiotic devices, one can create a complete break-down of a story’s plot, represented on only a single line or two, which may then be compared to other stories to find their similarities and distinctions.  While a useful tool in understanding interplay, semiotics is somewhat insufficient as the formula for understanding a whole literary piece, just as structuralism is insufficient for understanding the world. Read the rest of this entry »


Simple Capitalists, Simple Socialists

Putting faith in the free market (as described by so many clueless capitalists) is like putting faith in heaven. Heck, I believe it exists and I believe it’s beautiful, but I don’t think it’s here or ever will be (at least not under the power or control of man), and I think it’s utterly useless to discuss it in the context of man’s economic systems. Sort of like putting faith in the mythical socialist land of promise, where everyone works for the sole purpose of helping their fellow man, social and psychological diseases have been eradicated by good will alone, and the bureaucracy is more efficiently run than the most fastidious housekeeper’s home. They’re both ridiculous, they’re both juvenile, and yet too many people don’t seem to have been able to move beyond the vision of the perfect government that they first beheld in 8th grade. Read the rest of this entry »


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