Class Warfare Blog

October 30, 2017

A Viable Way Out of this Mess

I have been reading and hearing a lot of wishful thinking surrounding Mr. Trump of late. Most of the thinking focuses on removing the president through impeachment and trial or via the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

President Midas … er, Trump

Neither of these paths are at all attractive to my mind.

Consider the 25th Amendment route to removal of the President. In order for the scheme to work, a two-thirds majority in Congress of both houses, have to assent and that is after the Vice President and “a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments” have attested to the president’s unfitness for office as I am fairly certain Mr. Trump won’t off himself. Lots of luck with that as the Republicans hold solid majorities in both houses of Congress and most of the members have enough intellectual energy to light a match, so will probably shy away from voting on anything controversial that doesn’t involve a tax cut for the rich or the striking of Mr. Obama’s name from a post office or other edifice.

The impeachment path is even scarier. Gee, make Mr. Trump the center of attention … for months. Oh, he will hate that … not. And who is to say he won’t win? And nothing, absolutely nothing will get done for months.

The only viable path I can see out of this mess is to make Mr. Trump irrelevant. He continues to be President, head of state, head tweeter, etc. He gets to pardon the turkey, light the Christmas tree, etc. But otherwise, Congress ignores him and the military ignores him.

You see, if Mr. Trump is overtly removed from office, his supporters will be permanently opposed to anything we wish to do for the foreseeable future. They will rightly see this action as “not giving him a chance” and a “witch hunt,” etc. Mr. Trump is an outsider to Washington politics (all politics for that matter). He was elected because of that. If he is politically lynched it will appear to be a classic “the Empire strikes back” move of the “insiders” and Mr. Trump’s supporters will feel thoroughly dissed (correctly so).

This is not something that “we the people” will get over easily. I have argued that not only should Mr. Trump’s votes be counted as a vote against the status quo but also all of Mr. Obama’s. Think about it. This deeply racist country elects a Black president? Is there any greater statement of displeasure with the status quo.

The status quo involves the rich getting richer at an alarming rate at the expense of the rest of us. This has been going on for the better part of 40 years and people are really, really (really!) feeling it and they want it to stop. Even if you think that Mr. Trump’s selection had a snowball’s chance in hell of actually reversing the disparity of wealth in this country, that was basically what was fueling his election.

Removing him directly would therefore be a big, big mistake.

The few sane Democrats and Republicans have to get together behind the scenes and get a few things done but mostly they need to sit on their hands with regard to major agenda items as little good will come from their pursuit. Allow Mr. Trump his platform and move beyond him in the next election.

The Republicans will have little problem putting up some other candidate for president in 2020. The accomplishments of Mr. Trump will be mostly destructive (people can’t sue their banks, businesses are free to pollute, etc.) and the claim can be made that Mr. Trump wasn’t a real Republican (by the other candidates, not the party). It is curious that Bernie Sanders got hit repeatedly for not being a real Democrat when Mr. Trump was less involved with Republican politics than Sen. Sanders was with the Dems (who caucused with the Dems), yet Mr. Trump was never attacked as not a true Repub.

Possibly when Mr. Trump’s tax plan goes down in flames, or worse actually gets passed (What will the Repubs say when people’s taxes go up?), the Repubs will be motivated to sideline Mr. Trump.

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October 27, 2017

Catholics at War … Get the Popcorn

You won’t like me when I’m angry.”

In a long read article in The Guardian (The War Against Pope Francis) we are treated to the kinds of behaviors clerics deplore … in “the flock,” but by the shepherds themselves, hmm, apparently not so much.

For example, consider the following paragraph in that piece: “This summer, one prominent English priest said to me: ‘We can’t wait for him to die. It’s unprintable what we say in private. Whenever two priests meet, they talk about how awful Bergoglio is … he’s like Caligula: if he had a horse, he’d make him cardinal.” Of course, after 10 minutes of fluent complaint, he added: ‘You mustn’t print any of this, or I’ll be sacked.’” (Note: Bergoglio is the pope’s given name and using it is a sign the speaker doesn’t consider him a “real pope;” if he did he would refer to him as Pope Francis, or any of the other bullshit titles he possesses.)

Gosh, “we can’t wait for him to die,” is that statement describing an attitude, like a child who “can’t wait for Christmas morning” or a statement of intent? If it is a statement of intent, one hopes it suggests some sort of legal proceeding rather than the time tested methods used to remove a troublesome prelate: poison or a pillow in the night

Here’s another “In 2015, American journalist Ross Douthat, a convert to Catholicism, wrote a piece for the Atlantic magazine headlined Will Pope Francis Break the Church?; a Spectator blogpost by the English traditionalist Damian Thompson threatened that ‘Pope Francis is now at war with the Vatican. If he wins, the church could fall apart.’ The pope’s views on divorce and homosexuality, according to an Archbishop from Kazakhstan, had allowed ‘the smoke of Satan’ to enter the church.

Ah, the threat of the smoke of Satan which, if one has asthma, might actually kill.

So, what’s the buzz, tell us what’s happening? The article expands …

The crunch point has come in a fight over his views on divorce. Breaking with centuries, if not millennia, of Catholic theory, Pope Francis has tried to encourage Catholic priests to give communion to some divorced and remarried couples, or to families where unmarried parents are cohabiting. His enemies are trying to force him to abandon and renounce this effort.

The question is particularly poisonous because it is almost entirely theoretical. In practice, in most of the world, divorced and remarried couples are routinely offered communion. Pope Francis is not proposing a revolution, but the bureaucratic recognition of a system that already exists, and might even be essential to the survival of the church. If the rules were literally applied, no one whose marriage had failed could ever have sex again. This is not a practical way to ensure there are future generations of Catholics.

Ah, Jesus (Remember him?) was willing to forgive whores and brutal tax collectors (armed thugs who collected taxes anyway they wanted to) but the modern Catholics can’t abide a divorce, even when studies show people get remarried at a huge rate, so divorce doesn’t undermine the institution of marriage; it undermines the ability of the church to control behavior. (The older church was more pragmatic; it would have sold indulgences (if an annulment wouldn’t do): good for one divorce, but I digress.) I guess this is one of those issues in which Catholics have rules on the books, and then ignore them. Let’s see, there are the 92% of American Catholic women who use artificial birth control, which is strictly verboten, and now we find out that “In practice, in most of the world, divorced and remarried couples are routinely offered communion,” also strictly verboten. And the ass-covering Vatican officials are willing to not only tolerate a schism over this, but to create one. Who was it who said “with friends like these you don’t need enemies?”

To top things off for now, the article stated: “Last month, 62 disaffected Catholics, including one retired bishop and a former head of the Vatican bank, published an open letter that accused Francis of seven specific counts of heretical teaching.

To accuse a sitting pope of heresy is the nuclear option in Catholic arguments. Doctrine holds that the pope cannot be wrong when he speaks on the central questions of the faith; so if he is wrong, he can’t be pope. On the other hand, if this pope is right, all his predecessors must have been wrong.

Oooh, I wonder if this is one of Satan’s dilemmas, or just an ordinary one.

This has the possibility of being the greatest spectator event of the century. No matter how it plays out Amazon or Netflix will make a bingable miniseries. (Too bad Sydney Greenstreet is dead, he would have been a great Pope Francis.) And, one also hopes, enough Catholics are so disgusted by the antics of the Vatican that they will look elsewhere for their … spiritual guidance. (I’m sorry, I can’t quite use the term spiritual guidance without seeing in my cartoon mind a sign that reads “This Way to the Haunted Mansion” or a Victorian book entitled “A Guide to Spirits, Ghosts, Spectres, and Other Ectoplasmic Manifestations.” If people using this term are referring more to something akin to “lifting one’s spirits” or as in high school “building team spirit,” one needs a cheerleader, not a dour Catholic, celibate, uneducated “advisor,” especially as a marriage counselor.)

October 26, 2017

No. 36

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 11:50 am
Tags: , ,

This is my 36th post this month, setting a new record for this blog. My original strategy in starting this blog hinged upon the feedback I was given that I was “full of shit.” My thinking was if I could just get some of that out of me I would be less full of it. Over 4800 posts later, and my strategy seems not to be working as I seem to be just as full of shit as I was when I started.

Maybe I should try separating the good shit from the bad shit?

I knew I shouldn’t have used Republican logic in the first place. Trickle down my ass.

Capitalism—Good, Socialism—Bad … But Why?

In this country capitalism is the best economic system of them all! Capitalism and Free markets, rule, baby! Capitalism is No. 1. It is an essential element of democracy. Socialism (Boo, hiss.) is evil, the spawn of Satan and is a threat to democracy and all it stands for. (Q: “What do you think Mr. Spock?” A: Fascinating. “Yeah, me too.”)

I ask you to read the following before continuing:

The Mathematics of Inequality

“Seven years ago, the combined wealth of 388 billionaires equaled that of the poorest half of humanity, according to Oxfam International. This past January the equation was even more unbalanced: it took only eight billionaires, marking an unmistakable march toward increased concentration of wealth. Today that number has been reduced to five billionaires.

“Trying to understand such growing inequality is usually the purview of economists, but Bruce Boghosian, a professor of mathematics, thinks he has found another explanation—and a warning. Using a mathematical model devised to mimic a simplified version of the free market, he and colleagues are finding that, without redistribution, wealth becomes increasingly more concentrated, and inequality grows until almost all assets are held by an extremely small number of people.

“’Our work refutes the idea that free markets, by virtually leaving people up to their own devices, will be fair,’ he said. ‘Our model, which is able to explain the form of the actual wealth distribution with remarkable accuracy, also shows that free markets cannot be stable without redistribution mechanisms. The reality is precisely the opposite of what so-called “market fundamentalists” would have us believe.’

“While economists use math for their models, they seek to show that an economy governed by supply and demand will result in a steady state or equilibrium, while Boghosian’s efforts ‘don’t try to engineer a supply-demand equilibrium, and we don’t find one,’ he said. […] ‘The model tracks the data with remarkable accuracy,’ he said. He and his team will soon publish a paper on how it relates to U.S. wealth data from 1989 to 2013.

“‘We have also begun to apply it to wealth data from the ECB, and so far it seems to work very well for certain European countries as well,’ he said [..] It turns out that when agents do well in early transactions, the odds are so increasingly stacked in their favor that—without redistribution from taxes or other wealth-transfer mechanisms—they will get more money, and keep accruing wealth inevitably.

“’Without redistribution of wealth, our market economy would not be stable,’ said Boghosian. ‘One person would run away with all the wealth, and it would keep going until it came to complete oligarchy.’ And even if a society does redistribute wealth, if it’s too small an amount, ‘a partial oligarchy will result,’ Boghosian said.”

Now, of course, that is just the opinion of a few, but does that mesh with your current view of the world?

If so, I ask that you entertain a rephrasing of the title of this post into “Capitalism Good for the Elites, Socialism Bad for the Elites” and that is the truth behind our false beliefs.

So, why would we buy into propaganda fomented by the wealthy so that we believed the exact opposite? Maybe for the same reason we bought into propaganda fomented by rapacious corporations against labor unions, which we created to protect us from rapacious corporations? Maybe for the same reason we believe that people who are anti-abortion and pro-death penalty are pro life? Maybe for the reason we believe it is a good idea to deport parents of children born here because we are “pro family.” Maybe for the reason we still believe that if we give the wealthy even more money, it will trickle down” to us, some how, some way, maybe. (Who knew it could be so complicated?)

Which One of These Is Not Like the Other?

Filed under: Culture,Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:35 am
Tags: ,

The Chinese government is busy with the annual convening of the Communist Party. In their sessions, they reinforced that they were in charge, that they are the only political party allowed (birthday parties are okay still), and they feel perfectly comfortable controlling what ordinary citizens hear, see, and think. Chinese citizens exercise to “patriotic” music, even singing along. They read an ever-changing list of words that are not allowed to be used on their social media (and if they do use them, they should expect a knock on their door). The “party” exerts its control over the most minute aspects of their subject’s lives and their subjects are expected to venerate the party because … just because, or maybe “or else.”

We read about this and smirk. Those people aren’t free like us. We have all of the advantages of capitalism and freedom and they do not (smirk, smirk). Those people are like sheep, blindly following the elites as if they were shepherds. We are so superior, so exceptional! We’re No. 1, we’re No. 1!

Are we?

Try running for president as an atheist.

Try suing Goldman-Sachs for their multiple criminal behaviors.

Try to get your Congressman to carry a piece of legislation “for the people.”

Try running for office under the banner of a third party.

Try challenging the $8,000,000,000 annual federal subsidy of the U.S. oil industry, you know, the one making the massive profits.

Try finding out whether the U.S. “intelligence” agencies are still running every phone call you make through filters looking for key words they don’t like.

Try kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, even though there is no law against it.

Try driving (or shopping, or playing, or walking, or skipping) while Black.

Try getting your local city council to stop having Christian prayers said at every meeting.

Try getting your local oil refinery to clean up the incredible messes they have made.

Try suing your financial advisor for serving his own interests above yours.

Try eating without working.

Need I go on?

The difference between visible control by an elite class and invisible control by an elite class is, uh, subtlety? A matter of style? Do you get more points when the plebs buy into the system through which they are oppressed that they do the oppressing for you?

Just asking.

Okay, People, Listen Up

Filed under: Sports,The News — Steve Ruis @ 10:32 am
Tags:

I am more than a little sick of the round the clock hyping of sporting events. Every damned Monday Night Football game has a longer pre-game show than the first forty Super Bowls did, for example

I wakened this morning to this sports headline:

World Series: Astros save season in wildly dramatic Game 2 win over Dodgers!

Save season …, WTF?!

Idiots, I am surrounded by idiots.

The World Series is just that, a series of games. The team which entered the playoffs with the better won-loss record has what is called home field advantage. In this case, the Dodgers had the home field advantage because four of the possible seven games were scheduled to be played at their stadium and only three of the seven scheduled for the Astros home stadium.

It is called the home field advantage because the team that plays half of their games in that stadium during the regular season, the home team, the team which considers that stadium their home, tends to win those games more often than not. This is because: they get to sleep in their own beds, eat home cooking rather than restaurant cooking, they don’t have to sit in an airplane seat for five hours the day before a game, they get to play on a field they are more familiar with than any other field (they know all of the subtleties, quirks, and oddities about “their” field). Not only that but American League pitchers don’t normally hit in their lineup; National League pitchers do, so every ninth batter on the American League team has had virtually no practice hitting major league pitching. That is part of the home field advantage for National League teams. (In American League parks and games, the National League looks at the ability to basically pinch hit for their pitcher, using the same pinch hitter over and over, to be a major benefit, so that lessens the home field advantage for the American League teams.)

The home team has the advantage over the other team when the games are played on their home field. (That’s why it is called the …) Get it?

In the previous series, the Astros lead off winning the first two games … at home. Then the games switched to the Yankees’ home stadium and the Yankees won the next three games … at home. Then the Astros won the next two games, becoming American League Champions and winning the right to go to the World Series … at home.

Get it? It is called home field advantage for many, many reasons.

Every school boy when I was growing up knew that a series couldn’t end until Game 7 or at least the “away team” won a game in the other guy’s park.

Every school boy when I was growing up knew that the team without the home field advantage had the goal of winning one of the first two games because … wait for it … wait for it … then they would have the home field advantage. The current series is tied 1-1, but now the Astros have three games scheduled to be played in their home park, but the Dodgers only have two of such games left (they played two of their four already).

So, now the Astros are “in control,” or “in the catbird’s set,” or “one up on the Dodgers,” but if they had lost Game 2 in Dodger’s Park, well, that would have been normal, just like it was in the American League Championship Series against the Yankees.

So, “Astros Save Season?” WTF?

Could these news companies please get some headline writers who understand baseball … please? At least get someone who is over 25 and didn’t grow up playing video games all of the time. They don’t have to have played baseball, but at least understand it … that would be nice.

 

The Republicans Don’t Think

The Republicans don’t think … you need the right to sue your bank, your investment banker, or really any financial agent, because, gosh, they would never do anything even kind of shady, certainly nothing illegal, because that would hurt their reputation and be bad for business. That little kerfuffle in 2008 in which U.S. bankers brought the world’s economy to its knees and permanently made the U.S. economy weaker, that was just a misunderstanding.

The Republicans don’t think … we needed all of those guides to the laws protecting the rights of disabled children and adults. Those people already get too much mollycoddling. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, am I right?

The Republicans don’t think … you’ll mind cutting 20 to 35 million people off of the Obamacare rolls, because Repeal & Replace! Repeal & Replace! Well, Repeal and Maybe Replace If We Can Find the Time, Kinda, Sorta! It’s complicated; who would have known?

The Republicans don’t think … you’ll mind if they remove contraception coverage from Obamacare and restrict abortion rights because women should not have control over their own reproductive rights, their own bodies … because … because they’re sluts anyway and … because God said so!

The Republicans don’t think … you’ll mind going toe to toe with North Korea with nuclear weapons even if they do manage to drop a few nukes on California. They’re just a bunch of liberals who vote Democrat way too often, there in California.

The Republicans don’t think … you’ll mind giving the coal and nuclear industries big federal tax cuts, no wait, direct subsidies, because those corporations have suffered enough … wait, those workers, yeah, those workers have suffered enough. Pop-yoo-liz-um, pop-yoo-liz-um, pop-yoo-liz-um, rah, rah, rah!

The Republicans don’t think … coal mining corporations should be banned from dumping their toxic, heavy metal-laced wastes into public streams and rivers, because those corporations have suffered enough … uh … well … look, look at the waving flag and those NFL players disrespectfully kneeling as if they were praying during the national anthem! Disrespectful, disrespect while being Black!

The Republicans don’t think … we need all of those national parks and monuments. All that land and none of their donor class making a cent off of them … outrageous!

The Republicans don’t think … you’ll mind taking money away from your public schools to fund charter schools and voucher programs that perform no better than the public schools and often far, far worse. It’s for the children! And, rich Republicans need a publicly-funded voucher to be able to send their kids to private religious schools they are already sending them to. That thing in the Constitution … the Founding Fathers didn’t really mean it.

The Republicans don’t think … you’ll object to massive tax cuts for the rich as long as you will get a miniscule one, too. Never mind the cuts in public services, needed because of all of the revenue lost in tax cuts for the rich, will offset the minimal tax cuts for the rest of us, making our lives worse. I mean, nobody likes to pay taxes, right?

The Republicans don’t think … we should go along to get along, especially on things like Climate Change. The U.S. is exceptional; we lead, others follow. And we certainly don’t follow a whole horde of pointy-headed intellectual climate scientists. Sheesh, what do they know?

The Republicans don’t think … that we think enough to notice the way things are going.

The real question is: are they right?

Do Not Pay Attention to Trump’s Words

Do Pay Attention to His Administration’s Actions

October 24, 2017

The Solitary, Poor, Nasty, Brutish, and Short Lives of Hunter-Gatherers (Not)

I was reading a NY Time’s Science Newsletter highlighted piece on eroding shell mounds in Maine. Here are a couple of quotes:

Middens like this one line Maine’s tortured shoreline. ‘We know that there are over 2,000 shell heaps on the coast of Maine, said Dr. Kelley.

From about 2,200 to 800 years ago, Native Americans visited this site in late winter and spring. The inhabitants discarded the shells in heaps that grew year after year, century after century. ‘They were eating oysters like crazy and catching alewives,’ Dr. Spiess said, referring to a type of herring.”

This reminded me of California, where the shell mounds around San Francisco Bay are as numerous and truly huge, some of them make actual hills that go unnoticed because of wind-blown soil covering the top couple of feet (then it is shells, all of the way down).

The Pomo tribes and others had migratory patterns. They would move to one location, set up camp, and then eat up all of the local produce and then move on, returning in months or years to repeat the process. These locations were linked to the migratory pathways of prey, like deer, and by the seasonal abundance of fish and shellfish. This pattern prevailed for so long, as it did in Maine, that they used the same spot to discard the shells of the shellfish they harvested, to the extent that those mounds are truly immense.

Many people do not realize that when people became “civilized,” that is accustomed to living in cities, this was not exactly a boon for ordinary people. The wandering hunter-gatherer tribes had, I am sure, status orders in which some were treated better than others, but all benefited from a diet that was varied and plentiful. They were relatively free of disease, including tooth decay, and had considerable amounts of leisure time.

When “civilization” came to people, their bodies became less tall, less muscular, and more disease ridden. Some benefits, eh? They had to work longer hours and had less leisure time, if any. Their diets became very restricted, unhealthily so, and the crowding of people and food attracted vermin, rodents, and disease organisms. The concentration of wealth attracted robbers.

Thomas Hobbes’ quote (see the title) was meant to refer to primitive man but is more aptly applied to the new “civilized man.” All of the benefits of civilization accrued to a small cadre of elites. Over time the benefits have been spread somewhat, but the basic structures of civilization do not seem to have changed. Primitive Americans worked a few hours per day, now we work many (certainly more than our parents). They didn’t have healthcare, but neither do many of us and we have many, many more diseases than they did. The wealth created by the extra labor of the many still ends up in the pockets of the few, and the religious are still spouting gibberish to justify the behavior of the elites.

Too many of us think of civilization as this great boon to mankind. We do not look at the consequences. Civilized Europeans became Americans who thought very little of killing off the bulk of this continent’s original inhabitants, nor of enslaving millions of people, considering them as “subhuman” to avoid any moral qualms. All of these things were brought along as part of “civilization.”

It remains to be seen whether we can fashion some kind of civilization that brings the benefits to all without lining the pockets of the so-called elites. It certainly isn’t in either the GOP’s or DP’s political platforms. (It is hard to get someone to do something they are being paid to not do.)

Moving On Up …

I have been writing recently about the genesis of human “civilization.” The word civilization itself is derived from “cities,” the existence of which marks the beginning of civilization. It seems quite apparent that what we call “civilization” was created by elites for elites. The average Joe not only didn’t benefit from this “advance,” he ate less well, he worked harder, and he likely ended up a slave serving the interests of the wealthy elites.

My original thinking was that this was a larger scale manifestation of the consequences of physical prowess. My fantasy goes like this: when we were mostly members of wandering tribes of hunter-gathers, I suspect that there was some guy who was bigger, stronger, and braver than anyone else in a small troop (fewer than 25 extended family members). Because Mongo was the best hunter, he had a hand in doling out the fruits of the hunt, so he had power. He probably was responsible for defending the tribe against predators and the occasional raids from other tribes (looking for mates or …). Because of these actions, people deferred to Mongo (and if they didn’t he might smack them around a little). Mongo was the Alpha Male in a troop of great apes. Now the fly in the soup came in the form of not the Beta, Gamma, or Delta Males in the group, they were happy to form Mongo’s posse on hunts and benefit from his largess. The wild card in this was a low status male who resented not getting the prime cuts from the hunt or access to the best women as mates, but one who had cunning. At some point in time, a natural happening shocked the tribe: a flood, an earthquake, a lunar or solar eclipse, a huge lightning storm, a volcanic eruption, something alarming and the cunning Omega Male took a chance. Thinking he was in no immediate danger, he stood up to the burning mountain, or raging flood, or eclipse and spouted made up bullshit about how the gods were angry and that only he knew how to placate them. He followed this with mumble, mumble, mumble and the crisis soon ended (the eruption of the volcano subsided, the storm passed, the flood subsided, the eclipse burped up the sun or moon). A tribal shaman is born. He gets treated better, consulted by Mongo more often, gets better cuts of the food when it was divided, etc.

So, my imagination leads to the religious leader gravy training on the physical leader (general, king, chief, main hunter, whatever).

Imagine my surprise when I learned that the earliest cities were run by religious cliques, not “strongmen.” Large cities started forming 3500-3000 BCE, but the first mention of anyone whose title could be translated as “king,” didn’t happen until about 1700 BCE. Apparently Mongo was strong and capable but not all that smart. The clever shaman usurped his position at the top of the tribe. In those early large cities, you see, the chief warrior was subservient to the priestly class. This is born out by a story about Gilgamesh, one of the first Sumerian kings. (Seeking permission from the religious council to make war on a neighbor, the council though it too risky and told Gilgamesh to chill. Gilgamesh went out and riled up his warriors and went to war anyway. Gilgamesh might have been a king at this point but he hadn’t earned the Divine Rights Merit Badge and was seen as a minion of the religious elites.

So, I was wrong about the elite pyramid being topped by a strongman, instead it was the clever, cooperative religious cadre forming the core of the people benefiting from “civilization.” (I guess they had practiced the role for millennia and were just “movin’ on up…”.)

These cities rose and failed at a phenomenal rate. (The famous city-state of Ur-III, which had five kings listed in its records, lasted all of 100 years.) The inevitability woven into the standard narrative of: agriculture makes storable surplus of grain which makes cities possible: iPhones! is misleading at the very least.

In actuality these cities were very, very fragile. They were dependent on slave labor, often their populations were dependent on acquiring female slaves of child-bearing age (so many children and women died in childbirth that “replacement breeders” were vigorously sought).

With so many such processes there is a minimum size and a set of minimum conditions that result in a tipping point that goes on to some kind of stability.

What I am struck with is the easy comparison between the elite class in those days, 5000-5500 years ago and the modern Republican Party. The elites then needed cheap labor, so they coerced it. They created a system in which all of the surplus wealth ended up in their hands. They discouraged any collective action on the part of their coerced laborers. They rigorously controlled the reproduction of more citizens.

The GOP, in contrast, suppresses wages so that labor is cheap, it distorts the political system so that all of the wealth and power flows to the elites, it discourages collective action of laborers by disadvantaging unions, and it is obsessed with controlling the reproductive rights of women, and it seems they are subservient to a religious clique.

Oh, I guess that is not a contrast.

Has anything changed since the dawn of civilization?

Presidential Qualities, Our Emperor’s New Clothes

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 12:04 pm
Tags:

I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name. And that’s what hurt me the most because if my husband is out here fighting for our country, and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?” Myeshia Johnson, describing the condolence call she received from President Trump after her husband, Sgt. La David T. Johnson, was killed in Niger.

When I do a telephone interview, I keep a yellow pad in front of me, primarily to take notes, but at the top of the pad in big block letters is the name of my phone contact. It is way too easy to forget someone’s name in the midst of a complex discussion, so I use this simple device, as do many, many other people … but apparently not our POTUS.

He is also unlikely to perceive the pain he causes others, a common symptom of sociopathy.

I wonder if there is a Schmuck Hall of Fame?

 

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