STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE

Here's a long, well-written piece about a factory closing in Sparta, TN. It's OK if you don't have enough time to read the entire thing, since you have already read this story dozens of times by now. You know the drill: Everyone worked hard and lived decently until The Company shuttered the factory and moved to Mexico or China. The town is now suffering from collective PTSD, with much of the population fleeing or sinking into poverty and vice; the few people who have been able to transition into other work are making peanuts and living paycheck to paycheck at a job that is likely to disappear soon and without warning. The role of the government is to come in and set up totally ineffective "retraining" programs among the rubble.

Once you read the first few paragraphs, you can finish the rest of it in your head. Only the names and locations change. We know this story by heart. We have read it before and we will read it again.

The question is, how many times is this story going to play out before Americans have had enough? Will the strategy of distracting the working class with "social issues" and redirecting their anger toward convenient scapegoats (minorities, The Gub'mint, immigrants) work indefinitely? Will we ever reach a point at which people refuse to take this shit any longer?

The most common criticism I get from this site is that I spend very little time (close to none, honestly) talking about solutions and lots of time talking about how much everything is screwed up. This is not an accident. I believe – and clearly there are people who disagree, and there are plenty of other sites for them to read – that it is facile and intellectually dishonest to peddle "solutions" to social problems of this magnitude. To do so would involve one of two things: advocating overarching solutions that are beyond anyone's ability to implement (Let's change our entire political system and the way that several hundred million people think about social responsibility and class!) or pitching achievable but ultimately useless solutions to make people feel like they're doing something (Write your Congressman!).

That is a long way of saying that I understand that figuring out what to do and how is a major obstacle to action. It's hard to expect people to Do Something when it is clear that nobody has any useful idea of what to do. I am amazed, though, by our capacity to hear this story over and over again without being affected by it, or by the capacity of people directly affected by these situations to do nothing but fume, watch more Fox News, and inveigh against the Unions and the Libtards and gee if only the rich didn't have to pay so much in taxes somehow my life would be better.

Roger & Me came out in 1989. Harlan County U.S.A. came out in 1976. The Grapes of Wrath has been on high school reading lists since the 40s. We've heard and seen this story repeatedly. We know exactly how it ends, every single time. We know, based on our post-1980 lurch to the right, that politically and economically fellating the rich doesn't fix the problem and functions only to make it really awesome to be rich. People appear to have breaking points, at least on some issues. After three decades of hearing this same story the only thing about them that remains interesting is the fact that yet another group of people in another town have been ground to dust and nobody intends to do anything other than sit back and wait for it to happen again.

Be Sociable, Share!

52 Responses to “STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE”

  1. jestbill Says:

    The tiniest baby step toward solution is to repeat this mantra over and over:

    The production will come back, the jobs will not.
    The production will come back, the jobs will not.
    The production will come back, the jobs will not.
    The production will come back, the jobs will not.

    Every "solution" that ignores the mantra ignores reality.

  2. J. Dryden Says:

    My gut (pardon the imminent pun) instinct is to say that our affected citizenry will not hit the breaking point until they start to starve. That, to me, is the point at which the rubber hits the road, when people start to act like biological organisms whose existence is threatened–to act, in other words, contrary to their desire to maintain repose.

    We're a lot of things in this country–we're sick, we're ignorant, we're helpless in the face of a crumbling infrastructure–but we're not starving. Or rather, not enough of us are starving. When that starts to happen, well…maybe.

    What's interesting is that the safety net put into place over so many decades, and being torn apart so quickly, is the one thing that folks like the Kochs want most to get rid of, while simultaneously being the one thing that's keeping them alive. Because if this were Republican Rome, or Revolutionary France, such men would be declared Enemies of the People by individuals who would consider violence as the ONLY adequate response to that verdict.

    But we stopped being revolutionaries a long time ago. In large part, because things like Medicare and Social Security and the Voting Rights Act and food stamps were fought for and achieved and made it so that violence ceased to be rational.

    But as soon as those things go away, well…

    Or maybe not. I know you're not a fan of Orwell, Ed, but he captured a perception of the collective that stands the test of time: sometimes, if the powers-that-be really put enough effort into it, the 'people' don't have a breaking point. They literally can be made to accept anything.

    I'm not saying we're living in an Orwellian world–too many easy distinctions, there–but we don't have to be for him to be right about the (potentially) bottomless nature of human weakness. Maybe the reason we can't think of a solution is that there is no solution–that America is content to become yet another instance of third-world poverty, filth, ignorance and illness living side-by-side with an oppressively exploitative overclass. And why not–it isn't as if that isn't the model for most of the rest of the world–really, the only thing that stands between us and, say, Bangladesh, is a couple of decades and our demented insistence that we're too good for such things to happen here.

  3. Dr. Mac Says:

    "It's hard to expect people to Do Something when it is clear that nobody has any useful idea of what to do." Nor will their elected saviors tell them what to do or help them in any way. I'm sorry, but they… we… are totally fucked. Merry Christmas.

  4. Middle Seaman Says:

    Single company based towns will die. Products aren't needed anymore (horse and buggy), the company leaves town (escaping minimum wage), company loses its market to a rival, etc.

    Death is never a happy occasion and mostly can't be avoided. Modern societies, i.e. Europe, have a strong safety net that alleviates the pain. Sometime, the establishment sees well in advance the coming danger and finds a local solution.

    As the post says, we do just about nothing and offer even less help. Hey, we are number 1.

  5. Sarah Says:

    It still pisses me off to think the reason why women can now be denied coverage for birth control for the religious views of their employers Is that in 2000 and 2004, a certain bloc of voters couldn't be arsed to go vote just to maintain the then-status quo. The last time I stood in line to vote the wait was about 45 minutes, and I've heard stories about waits of up to 8 hours down south. If certain spoiled and overprivileged brats can't be bothered to do that much for their own interests, I don't see why anyone else should give enough of a damn to do more.

  6. ดูหนังโป๊ Says:

    It is really a great and helpful piece of info.
    I am glad that you just shared this useful info
    with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Anonymouse Says:

    @Sarah; there's been a well-orchestrated war against women and the status of women in society…well, pretty much since I've been alive. In reaction to the gains of the 1960s and 1970s, there's been a huge backlash against anything perceived as women's benefits, including access to birth control. Listen to the hysterical shrieks from the right about how the worst thing to be is a feminist (that is, a person who believes women are people, just like men). They want to take us back to my mother's generation, when a working woman could be fired simply for becoming pregnant, or even just marrying (which implied she would become pregnant immediately, because no birth control was readily available). Keep the women chained to the stove, barefoot and pregnant, and there's more work for the men. Also, families are so fragile and dependent on the employer that the men will put up with just about any horrible treatment because a pittance is better than nothing.

  8. Anonymouse Says:

    The current book-on-CD that I'm listening to on my commute is Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and it documents the family's one-year experiment in living on just what they can grow/make themselves or else buy locally (talking about food, but also touches briefly on clothing and consumer goods). The book was published about 8 years ago. One thing it discusses is community; when people buy from each other, the community is strengthened. The part I listened to this morning documents the family's trip to relatives in the northeast and how the granite-working has been outsourced to China, leaving people with those skills unemployed.

    Anecdatally, Frito Lay just opened up a huge factory in Mexico to make snack foods to sell in America. The American plant in (Dallas? Somewhere around there) has been shut down and those folks (some with 20 years of experience) are now unemployed. FL is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and they're laying off American workers and selling snacks made-in-Mexico at Mexican wages to Americans at American prices.

  9. Slocum Says:

    Americans–or American political discussion–tend to rely on view of society composed of two incompatible parts. One is the hypermoralist self-righteousness that construes the poor as lazy moochers, minorities (especially blacks) as degraded savages, and women as whores-because-they're-not-Madonnas. The other part is completely amoral–a faith that market forces alone can organize decent outcomes and that immediately perceptible or measurable material gains are the only gains that count. When this unstable mixture is shaken vigourously, you get Donner Party Republicanism, in which the suffering of some others is good as such, a militant nationalism without even the saving grace of a touch of in-group solidarity, and most importantly for the purpose of the OP a complete inability to see social problems (if they are seen at all) as problems that persons must cooperate with each other, regardless of differences, to solve by creating institutions and organizations according to plans and goals that are neither moralistic or amoral.

  10. Xynzee Says:

    Hamburgers n haircuts folks. Because… value added service industries or sumptin'.

  11. cat Says:

    Why do you assume that it should change? Why isn't 'modern' society is the aberration and the drinking the kool-aid the proper natural order? A middle class who were not completely dependent on their benefactors but upon themselves is a completely modern feature of society.

    You are asking for evolution at revolutionary pace and its not going to happen

  12. DaSponge Says:

    The most concerning part of all this is that when (not if) international strife over resource access begins, the public will finally face an era of real hunger and real impetus to change at a time of chaos that will make redirecting anger even easier than it is now.

    Sadly, no matter how dire the circumstances public anger can always be redirected at a scapegoat. Plenty of anger gets redirected at Islamic immigrants in progressive, relatively homogenous Norway even now.

  13. doug Says:

    I always thought you were leaving the solutions to the peanut gallery here. I like that.
    Thanks for all you do.

  14. c u n d gulag Says:

    Maybe a few long tumbrel rides, culminating in the several whacks of dull guillotines until the head rolls, might start to get the wealthy folks attention.

    When the USSR was still around, our uber-wealthy had to pay us because they felt that they didn't want a revolution here.

    Now, without a competing economic system, Capitalism is eating us, and itself.

  15. well mostly Says:

    "The question is, how many times is this story going to play out before Americans have had enough?"
    I'm thinking about eleven thousand four hundred and twelve. or maybe twice that. Some really big number.
    "Will we ever reach a point at which people refuse to take this shit any longer?"
    No, we won't. Rampant fear pushes off that day for many. Profound delusion secures another whole batch with distraction. And finally, decades of scapegoating and preaching against empathy makes sure the rest can simply not give a shit.
    It would be hard to imagine and create a combination of factors more likely to retard a society and culture than the ones we have invested in.
    There is no "when THAT happens then we'll finally see some change" scenario that makes any sense. We've already got all the shitty examples we need to conclude things aren't working. Some other kind of thing will need to happen. Stay tuned but don't wait up.

  16. Templar Says:

    Dryden has a good point about the minimal comfort needed to prevent radical change. I remember seeing a study of political opinion in Spain today. It was virtually identical to the Right-Left distribution of Spaniards' opinions during the Spanish Civil War. The difference: the system now provided enough to prevent conflict.

  17. FMguru Says:

    It's going to take unemployment hitting 50%, otherwise a majority of people will say "No, you see *I* still have a job, therefore the system works, so why don't you stop whining and get a job, you useless moocher!" and things stay the same. We're not going to see any action taken on global warming until half the country is underwater, and for precisely the same reason. And even then, we'll just find a way to blame it all on hippies and negroes and messicans, same as always.

    Good article, and a good counterpoint to that Airstream piece that you blogged about a week or two ago.

  18. Anubis Bard Says:

    Have you ever fallen asleep on a cheap vinyl couch on a hot, humid day and woken up stuck to the surface with sweat and drool? This is America waking up from the American Dream.

  19. Mo Says:

    Religion-is-the-opiate-of-the-masses seems to still be a thing.

    If you believe in a better afterlife (c'mon, who ever thinks they're going to Hell?), maybe that increases the amount of suffering and crap you're willing to rationalize in this life.

    OK, the flip side is that maybe you feel obliged to work to relieve the poor and suffering. But nowadays that urge is channeled into "saving babies" from being aborted. Because relieving poverty and suffering is such a thankless task, I'm guessing, and you don't get that same jolt of self-righteousness juice from it.

    And rich people are so much more fun to hang around with.

    Suckers and suck-ups.

    Until we shun and tax the wealthy for being parasites, they'll continue to feed.

  20. David Says:

    We've been down this road before and when things got bad enough we got FDR. We got lucky as we could've gotten another Hoover or even a Hitler, but it does give me hope that, as Winston Churchill said, you can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they've tried everything else. I'm just not so sure about the always bit.

  21. quixote Says:

    You've mentioned the "bread" part. There is — for some people minimally — enough bread. But what about circuses? The circuses now available run 24/7 and as Assistant Prof's brilliant comment noted, hijack the pleasure centers of the brain.

    Add to that Studs Terkel's point that learned helplessness keeps tyrannies in power. At this point isn't the mere thought that we could really change anything considered naive?

    And then there's the problem that there's no longer agreement on what justice even is. Plenty who think it's cutting taxes for the rich while they eat beans out of the can. If people don't even know which way is up, how do they dig themselves out?

    It looks to me like we have a sad long way to go to start turning things around.

  22. Jeffrey Says:

    "(Let's change our entire political system and the way that several hundred million people think about social responsibility and class!)"

    Point well-taken except that the country is really run top down by probably no more than 20-30 thousand people – "captains" of industry, Congress, Supreme Court, the president (with the current having very little influence really), state legislatures, a handful influential mayors, foreign corporate and national lobbies.

    Therefore, the ability to change the national political dialogue is not a matter of changing the way 200 million or so Americans think because most of them don't care because either their personal circumstances are not so dire that they feel threatened by what's become the status quo or
    there circumstances are dire enough that they don't have a lot of time to be concerned with the socio-economic state of the state.

    Actually, to turn the tide is a matter of energizing maybe 10 million voting adults. Democrats, even the middle-of-the-road animal they have become, have out-voted conservatives in, what, every congressional election for the last four or five elections? Therefore, you get enough Texans (hell, Houston elected a Democratic lesbian for mayor), Floridians, Illinoisans, Wisconsinites, etc. and it happens.

  23. Sarah Says:

    @Sarah; there's been a well-orchestrated war against women and the status of women in society…well, pretty much since I've been alive. In reaction to the gains of the 1960s and 1970s, there's been a huge backlash against anything perceived as women's benefits, including access to birth control. Listen to the hysterical shrieks from the right about how the worst thing to be is a feminist (that is, a person who believes women are people, just like men). They want to take us back to my mother's generation, when a working woman could be fired simply for becoming pregnant, or even just marrying (which implied she would become pregnant immediately, because no birth control was readily available). Keep the women chained to the stove, barefoot and pregnant, and there's more work for the men. Also, families are so fragile and dependent on the employer that the men will put up with just about any horrible treatment because a pittance is better than nothing.

    I know. I remember the "year of the woman" in 1992 which was followed by the Republican backlash in 1994. I can also appreciate youthful naiveté, considering that I voted Republican in '94 and '96.

    The thing is that a lot of time and effort went towards achieving those advances in the first place, and it's really disheartening to see it get thrown away for apathy. There's an old saw about how the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The fact of the matter is that anti-feminism and misogyny are things that exist and will probably always continue to exist, and if we don't want them to win we need to be willing to look out for our collective interests. I remember watching Rush Limbaugh back when he had a television show and one of the things that stuck in my mind was a bit about an apparently stupid young woman who got confused about the "male" and "female" symbols for bathroom, thinking that pants-wearing individuals went into one facility while skirt-wearing individuals went into the other, and extrapolating from that the idea that all women are so fucking incompetent that all we are good for is baby machines. More recently, since the behavior of Marion Zimmer Bradley has come to light (trigger warning for sexual and physical abuse of children), there has been a meme among right-wing reactionaries to fight feminism on the grounds that modern women will excuse and promote child abuse for the sake of feminist ideology.

    All it would have taken to keep the advances we made rather than getting the step back we have taken would have been for a critical mass of like-minded people to maintain an awareness of the issues and then go participate in the process on election day, but considering the assholes I went to school with, I'm going to take a wild assumption here and say that the reason why 18- to 20-year olds are staying away from the polls in droves is that they don't want to look uncool in front of their friends. (Again, I voted the wrong way as a young voter and I wish I could take those ballots back–but I DID VOTE.)

    At any rate, like I said before, I am almost at the point where the only dog I will have in the abortion and birth control debate will be general principle, and while I am willing to continue supporting it for that reason it's not as though I don't have anything else that needs my attention. The women who have a bigger stake in this (and especially those women who didn't bother voting when the Shrub was running for election and re-election) should, to my mind, step up and take some responsibility for fixing the mistakes that have been made.

  24. Tim H. Says:

    As long as the system's even kind of working, change is difficult. When the system fails, many options become thinkable, even doubling down on every mistake that's laid us low, which might be likely, given our money = blessing culture.

  25. Mike Says:

    Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

  26. Anonperson Says:

    US elections aren't real, people. One of the unavoidable conclusions of the Snowden revelations is that a few (dozen? hundred?) elite actors control the country/world. "They" can and do spy on and blackmail senators, presidents, judges, and corporate executives with no consequence. Even now that the public has some actual confirmation of the extent of this spying and extortion, the control is so total that there are still no real calls for serious change. Those who could forment and advance change know they are targeted. Fear rules.

    You think elections, especially those for federal officials, matter in that climate? "They" fix what they can through black box voting and psyops and propaganda and if they can't fix it on the front end, they fix it post-polling with blackmail and intimidation.

    And local elections? At least where I live those are even more transparently fixed. But anyways, keep voting and giving a fig-leaf of legitimacy to this farce while patting yourself on the back for doing something unlike all of those slackers who instinctively figured this out long before last year.

  27. Major Kong Says:

    That's the problem with running a race to the bottom. Eventually you get to, you know, the bottom.

    Trying to run a race to the bottom with Mexico, or Bangladesh, or Vietnam is a losing proposition.

  28. Jeffrey Says:

    Major Kong Says:
    July 15th, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Trying to run a race to the bottom with Mexico, or Bangladesh, or Vietnam is a losing proposition.

    * * * * *

    And, that's not what's even close to what is happening domestically. In terms of mechanized and not-so-mechanized manufacturing, the U.S. has never been part of this, which is corporate profit and consumer driven. You couldn't force U.S. low-skilled manufacturing wages low enough to compete with the ever-developing world because our economy, in spite of evidence to the contrary, is way too healthy and our overall standard of living so far above these, mostly, over-populated nations.

    I know I've banged on about this time and again, but many of the responses here with regards to our economic decline in relative and absolute terms was predestined seem to be made in an historical vacuum. Of course, the tech bubble, the criminal Iraq war, tax cuts for the wealthy and then the housing bubble depressed real growth for about a decade, but anyone who thinks that we are going to regain all the manufacturing jobs we'eve lost over the last 20 years or so in a global economy either doesn't understand how economics works or thinks autarchy is a good thing. If you like shopping at the Gap, Whole Foods, Macy's or even Safeway and (shudder) Wal-mart, then you much conceded that the things you are (mostly over) consuming are only affordable (unless you are in the top 15%) if these goods (and some services) are produced abroad.

  29. chautauqua Says:

    Wake me when it's time to Eat the Rich.

  30. mothra Says:

    As long as politicians can always make sure that the proles have someone else to blame for their misfortune, no, things will never change. It is also important to note the move to gut public education is a completely deliberate move to keep the populace ignorant and manipulable–and note it is not just politicians doing it, but now large corporations, too. The uneducated are easy to lead around by the nose, doncha know.

    I used to rail back in the 80's that Republicans were bound and determined to get rid of public education. My friends thought I was a crackpot conspiracy theorist. Guess who's being proven right now–and the Republicans even managed to get the Democrats on board, too! Gah, it depresses me.

  31. Carter Says:

    A Universal Basic Income would be a big step in the right direction.

  32. JMC Says:

    "Because if this were Republican Rome, or Revolutionary France, such men would be declared Enemies of the People by individuals who would consider violence as the ONLY adequate response to that verdict."

    – A thousand times this. You want change? Make things worse. Crush them so that they have no recourse but to rebel.

  33. Ed Says:

    "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me."
    ~MARTIN NIEMÖLLER

    Interesting that Trade Unionists and Socialists were the things the Nazia hate, and the Republicans hate them too. I wonder why?

  34. Bill Says:

    But Nazis were socialists! It says so right there on the tin!

  35. vegymper Says:

    To "do the right thing" means that you have to be a part of those who decide what to do among the million possibilities, assessing who will get pissed off, and how much so, and seeing if what "has to be done" (from any ideological point of view) can pass the test of majority approval. This is the game named "politics," truly a contact sport. But somehow "they" have convinced us that being a politician is a nasty thing, and what we can do better is to look at the action from our seats. Just ranting or waiting for the race to the bottom to hit bottom is just complying; democracy needs actors, not spectators. Be a candidate!

  36. Gary Ruppert Says:

    The fact is, you liberals should just give up and let freedom and liberty wash over you like a clensing mudbath

  37. Nick G. Says:

    A key aspect of any "solution" is lobbying power, i.e. money.

    Until someone with pockets bulging with cash thinks a good way to spend some of it is by bribing Congress, there can be no "solution."

    I actually think this is great.

  38. Robert Says:

    One of (just one, mind) of the problems with USAian voting is that, outside of certain Congressional districts, about eighty percent of everyone who is going to vote will vote on party lines. The campaigns go after the remaining twenty percent, hoping to gin up a majority or plurality.

    This is part of why, despite perennial low approval of Congress as a whole, individual representatives running for reelection usually win. Everyone who votes more or less likes their rep, and wonders why all those clotpolls from other districts keep reelecting theirs.

    Regarding the class war issue, it's been received wisdom for quite some time that it's only class war when the working class fights back. That hasn't happened for a while, because we don't have poor people in the USA, just temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

  39. Rich Says:

    A lot of these jobs moved there from somewhere else–places like the one where I grew-up. That, sadly mitigates my concern about sunbelt towns that drank the koolaid and went along with employers who ultimately screwed them. Countries like Germany have business where unions play a role in management. The Germans also protect small business. They can compete in the world market place because they have forward thinking businesses rather than just buying and selling businesses, loading them up with debt and shafting the workers. Some jobs in Western Europe have been shifted to Western Europe, but even now, Western Europe has relatively strong, diverse economies. You can't just build an economy around services–the post industrial cities we were supposed to view as the future like Phoenix and Atlanta were among the hardest hit in the bubble. In some cases, real estate prices had not appreciated much more than inflation before the bubble. The policies we need are policies that retain and enable the growth of our economic resources rather than a hollowing out of our economy. There is no current political force to promote this and one can only arise from grassroots. Wall Street owns the GOP and a large chunk of the Dems and Wall Street is killing us.

  40. Xynzee Says:

    @Sarah: "…there has been a meme among right-wing reactionaries to fight feminism on the grounds that modern women will excuse and promote child abuse for the sake of feminist ideology."

    The problem is that at any given moment we've all had to vote for someone that we find repugnant for no other reason than the fact guy on the other side would be far worse if given access to power.

    A solution for this would be to eliminate the "first past the post" system. Either a preferential system or mmpr(?) would go a long way to helping break the dead lock. At least one wouldn't fear completely throwing away their vote. It would allow people to send very clear signals to the majors that the populace is really not impressed with their actions. So if the Progressives took a chunk of votes out of the Dems, but still gained a seat they would get a clear understanding that the constituency expect them to lean progressive.
    Imagine how things could have gone if more people felt they could have voted for Nader, but the votes would flow to Gore if he failed?

  41. Dobby Says:

    State and Congressional representatives of Sparta, TN? Both Republicans. It's sad to see these working class people slitting their own wrists at the ballot box, but they do it in the marketplace as well. They demand the cheapest goods possible and then wonder why their jobs move offshore. They demand untenable returns on their 401Ks and wonder why publicly-traded companies (i.e.,their employers) stab them in the back for a bump in share price. These folks will gladly undermine themselves until they are educated otherwise.

  42. Brian M Says:

    rich sums it up.

    Contra the very top comment from jestbill, why does he expect the production to come back? Our financial swashbucklers and swindlers are steadily selling off the trademarks and industries to the Chinese. Like IBM, which has nothing to with "machines" anymore but just offers, bascially, IT services. Google just sold off the Motorola cell phone line to Lenova.

    China and India are bigger markets for cheaper consumer goods. The production will most certainly stay there. That's where the suppliers are, the skilled workforce (do you think the de-skilled 7-11 employees in a poorly educated Southern town can compete with the Asian workforces? LOL. That is blind patriotism), and increasingly, the ownership caste.

    The ownership caste now is transnational. It has zero real commitment to the American economy.

  43. Whatver Says:

    There will never be revolution in America, the noise of teatards and Occupiers losers not withstanding.

    So long as you can keep the populace well fed and well policed, there's just too many fat, dumb, and lazy people out there whose visibly spreading buttocks you'd find impossible to nudge.

  44. David Rickard Says:

    Pretty soon we'll be the Third-World country that fat cats in Brazil and India and China will be off-shoring their factories to…

  45. Sarah Says:

    @Sarah: "…there has been a meme among right-wing reactionaries to fight feminism on the grounds that modern women will excuse and promote child abuse for the sake of feminist ideology."

    The problem is that at any given moment we've all had to vote for someone that we find repugnant for no other reason than the fact guy on the other side would be far worse if given access to power.

    A solution for this would be to eliminate the "first past the post" system. Either a preferential system or mmpr(?) would go a long way to helping break the dead lock. At least one wouldn't fear completely throwing away their vote. It would allow people to send very clear signals to the majors that the populace is really not impressed with their actions. So if the Progressives took a chunk of votes out of the Dems, but still gained a seat they would get a clear understanding that the constituency expect them to lean progressive.
    Imagine how things could have gone if more people felt they could have voted for Nader, but the votes would flow to Gore if he failed?

    I would love to see an "instant runoff" ballot system get implemented–an idea I first saw proposed by the Sierra Club after the Bush/Gore/Nader clusterfuck, and I live in Florida (which actually has screwed up presidential elections on at least one occasion other than the 2000 debacle), so this is personal to me.

  46. Gator Says:

    Who's running a race to the bottom? Not the people with the money. They're running a race to the top, and they're winning. Just look at the increasing wealth inequality in this country.

    Free trade is supposed to benefit everyone because we get cheaper goods. Too bad they forgot we need money to buy those goods.

  47. ThirstyHowle Says:

    You could change very little about this article to make it a post about mass shootings. I'm convinced these things don't change under our current system that makes people tired of fighting. You'll know when people have had enough and really mean it when there is revolution.

  48. Matt Says:

    @Sarah: "there has been a meme among right-wing reactionaries to fight feminism on the grounds that modern women will excuse and promote child abuse for the sake of feminist ideology."

    For bonus fun, count how many of said reactionaries have no similar issues with defending the Catholic Church, despite a decades-long from-the-pontiff-down criminal conspiracy to protect child molesters – one that went so far as to *castrate* victims overseas for "sinning" but did nothing to the priests.

  49. JaktheYak Says:

    I overheard a political ad while waiting in line at the hospital (routine blood work thing, part of a physical, no big…but ps, yay for TVs fucking everywhere, esp. during the now endless campaign season) and it was along the lines of:

    "Soandso says he works for the little guy, but he voted for higher taxes FORTY TIMES!!!!!!!!"

    To which I said "Sounds like he's trying, then"

    TV Ad: "Blah blah blah. I pay too much in taxes already, Soandso."

    Me: (actually out loud, to the discomfort of probably everyone else in the waiting room) "THEN YOU AREN'T THE LITTLE GUY!"

  50. Graham Says:

    It has generally been considered that it might be a nice thing if world wealth inequality was not so disparate.

    The idea, I believe, was that wealth in the Third World might be raised to a level more like our own.

    Unfortunately it turns out that the idea to relieve world inequality actually consisted of lowering standards in the West to more like those in the Third World.

    Nice work, everyone.

  51. www.visastepchange.com Says:

    Sade Weinstein, Jag är hedrad och ödmjuk inför detta erkännande från president Sarkozy och det franska folket. Hela mitt liv, jag har älskat och blivit inspirerad av fransk film. Am fortfarande ung pojke som gick två miles till The Mayfair biograf i Flushing, NY för att se filmer från de stora Lelouch, Godard, Renoir och min personliga favorit Francois Truffaut. När jag var 13, en vän till mig värd en Camp Night i mitt i vintern. Det &#

  52. Download Proxy Checker Says:

    Quit paying for costly private proxy services or private proxies anymore, with NoHandsProxyTool users will locate hundreds of different proxies in any region of the world from just the press of a key or button. No alternative proxy checker is as simple to get up and running or quick to harvest Ks of usable proxy, satisfaction is guaranteed.

Leave a Reply