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05/30/2013

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John D

It seems the only person making an effort to stop this crap is Elizabeth Warren, and she seems to be a Don Quixote tilting at windmills.

Oliver

I used to "assume there are multiple conspiracies" going on - but then it dawned on me that this assumption rested on another assumption: that the movers and shakers were much smarter than me and therefore more capable of pulling off a steady stream of secret chicanery. I now think in Darwinian terms, that these Alphas are much too much focused on themselves to conspire with anyone else in any deliberate fashion. As individuals with minimal empathy for others, they simply push and push to get what they want with tunnel-vision determination, and those in stunned awe of their apparent mighty power (including spineless lawmakers and other sycophants) just roll over and do their bidding.

Where the craziness comes in is when this motley crew believe their own propaganda, such as they are acting in the public interest, or doing what's good for the country, or "only" trying to make a honest buck for their family.

We are cursed by nature's mantra of survival of the fittest. The "fittest" is synonymous with don't-give-a-fuck-for-anyone-else-so-get-out-of-my-way. Hardly the stuff of sentience, sapience or any other pretentious label for the current human species.

Jim

The U.S. government is most properly viewed as a class of professional facilitators for business and special interests (most special interests being business coalitions, with a handful of activist and union groups). Most legislation and enforcement is designed to support these businesses and interests. When someone rails against regulation, he/she doesn't understand that for every law protecting the spotted owl, there are 100 laws directly benefiting particular businesses or industries. Most regulation covertly aids certain businesses. Lobbying is so rampant because there is extremely high ROI for doing so.

It's been this way for decades, but it is getting worse and worse.

Those elected, even if they go to Washington with propaganda-addled minds, quickly come to realize how the system actually works, and they just accept it. It's appalling, but they go home to their huge houses and see the world as functional if not perfect.

I tell liberals that if they want to "fix" things like climate change or the military-industrial complex, then campaign finance and lobbying reform has to be tackled first. This falls on completely deaf ears - they just see the problem as being Republicans. I pretty much know we'll never address major issues in our government because no one seriously discusses campaign finance. Citizens United was egregious, and we all just act like it's another day, another dollar.

For instance, here's a liberal response to lobbyists:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/05/24/lobbyists_writing_bills_it_s_okay.html

Brain death.

I've come to think that the liberal elite's function in the Empire is to prevent implosion in the system - which really means they are the safeguards of the system itself. They will talk a good game about protecting the people, but in the end they'll pass out food stamps while approving Monsanto legislation. The people are pacified, the system rolls on. (Take away the food stamps, though, and watch what happens).

But BS rules, and we have "surface only" politics. It's unfortunately the world we live in.

Oliver

Meanwhile, the general craziness continues ... hilariously:

Flying car for the masses set for take-off

http://www.reuters.com/video/2099/01/01/reuters-tv-video?videoId=242984818&refresh=true

Dave Cohen

Jim,

Brain death, indeed. If I were presenting the case I made today in court, that Yglesias article would Exhibit A.

What I like about your comments Jim is that you do your homework and you follow-up.

I didn't expect many comments today because DOTE had 33 on yesterday's post, which may be some kind of record.

But I'll tell you, if we're talking about the Human Condition, it's the kind of stuff I wrote about today which really interests me.

best,

-- Dave

rumor

There appears to be no more remarkable feature of the human brain than the ability to delude itself into thinking it is righteous in pursuing its own self-interest.

It's probably a very effective trait, evolutionarily speaking, but fuck beans, it sure does suck when we're the masters of all and sundry.

Oliver

Sorry to butt in again, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share some more of the glorious sanity of humans c.2013:

uk.news.yahoo.com/former-specialist-claims-jesus-reborn-234352910.html

David Waddle

Wow! They just do this shit out in the wide open. They don't even try to hide it anymore. Thanks Dave.

MR in BR

Oliver: "We are cursed by nature's mantra of survival of the fittest. The "fittest" is synonymous with don't-give-a-fuck-for-anyone-else-so-get-out-of-my-way."

Of course, today's fittest are tomorrow's dinosaurs. Tunnel vision impairs adaptability and is ultimately self-defeating. Humility is one's best bet for long-term survival, or failing that it's at least the best bet for maintaining one's sanity.

NonLinear

some psychology news from:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/texas-gop-rejects-critical-thinking-skills-really/2012/07/08/gJQAHNpFXW_blog.html

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 07/09/2012
Texas GOP rejects ‘critical thinking’ skills. Really.
By Valerie Strauss
(Update: Stephen Colbert’s take; other details)


In the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff department, here’s what the Republican Party of Texas wrote into its 2012 platform as part of the section on education:

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.


Yes, you read that right. The party opposes the teaching of “higher order thinking skills” because it believes the purpose is to challenge a student’s “fixed beliefs” and undermine “parental authority.”

It should be noted that after the plank in the platform was ridiculed, Texas GOP Communications Director Chris Elam told TPM.com that it was all a big mistake and that opposition to “critical thinking” wasn’t supposed to be included. It can’t be easily removed, he said, because the platform had been approved by a party convention and any changes would also have to go through the same process. That clears things up.

yeah

Diogenes

@ NonLinear

Thanks for that...Colbert's video is a beauty. I hadn't seen it before...

"This is infuriating. As a parent I expect my children to act and think exactly as I do. And for a while they did. But then they turned three..."

Hadn't seen Willingham's article either...downloaded for reading over the weekend.

No greater mind fuck than using thinking to think about thinking.

Malcolm Kettering

You get what you vote for. Garbage in, garbage out. I could go on and on. Anyone surprised by this legislative "process" needs to have their voting rights revoked and be sterilized.

Drewriders

Sadly, this doesn't surprise me. It follows up to the fact that no one went to jail for the mortgage debacle. One man was tried for fraud and insider trading but he got off with a huge fine and no jail time.

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