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Sears Canada Steals Pensions

2018 January 20
by Ian Welsh

So, Sears Canada went bankrupt. Their pension fund is underfunded. Pensioners will be screwed. As usual, before going bankrupt Sears paid large dividends and bonuses to its executives, but somehow didn’t have the money for its pensions.

This isn’t, but should be, illegal. Apologists may claim that if it’s legal, it’s not theft, but justice is not law, and fools who think it is should remember that everything the Nazis did was legal when they did it, as my friend Stirling Newberry often pointed out.

A society which regards its ordinary members as sheep to be culled for the benefit of its elites is an unjust society, and those who engage in such activities towards those ends are villains. Odds are, sadly, good that they will get away with it, but every once in a while, such offenses end in guillotines or bullets.


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79 Responses
  1. Dan Lynch permalink
    January 20, 2018

    Agree with everything Ian says, but will add:
    .
    Private pensions are asking for trouble. No one can predict how the company will perform in the future, what the stock market will do, etc..
    .
    Instead, roll all private and public pensions into the national Social Security system. Make the retirement benefit something you can actually live on regardless how much an individual paid it (so yes, it would be “welfare.” Welfare means “well being,” so learn to like it.) Pay for it with keystrokes.
    .
    If you want universal politcal support for a program then it needs to be a universal program. Everybody in, nobody out. Ditto for health care, education, etc..

  2. Rich permalink
    January 20, 2018

    Several decades of theft from the laborer’s deferred income by way of unrealized pensions, benefits that corporations, owners and employers probably wanted to avoid paying or ignore altogether. Of course, after first paying themselves, the owners and upper management, these same conservative businessmen turned to the U.S. Gov’t for “liberal” bailout via the PBGC, pension benefit guaranty corporation in 1984. Of course the PGBC managed the bailout primarily for benefit of those corporations and only marginally benefiting the individual pensioner no matter the fine print of the legislation. The communities of western Pennsylvania and the Rust Belt most affected by this rapacious behavior never recovered economically, but still managed to produced one noteworthy accomplishment, the current Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, again and befittingly no friend of organized labor or its pensions and other worker’s rights.

  3. January 21, 2018

    The only remedy for greed is fear. Greed will not wear out on its own. It will never be satiated. The cure for greed requires a change in perspective.

    Z

  4. realitychecker permalink
    January 21, 2018

    IIRC, there’s been a lot of this already in the U.S. The pension benefits are negotiated in lieu of wage increases, typically, and then later the pensions are underfunded and not available, and the bankruptcy courts facilitate the whole stinking process.

    Glad to see you edging closer to the obvious idea that maybe violent reaction should be expected in reaction to such heartless thievery.

    Or, maybe we can avoid the need for such ungentleness if we all don our Pussy Hats at once and hold our breaths until we turn blue.

    It’s worth a try, amirite?

  5. Willy permalink
    January 21, 2018

    Ed Lampert, objectivist enthusiast, financial shape shifter, would never have succeeded as a small business owner.

    I’d almost say that worker nerds are waiting for the Tri-Lam homeboys to show up in their battle against the Alphas. But I’m not sure they all even know that the Alphas are their enemy yet. Cult thinking is strange. That part needs to change.

  6. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    January 21, 2018

    Shouldn’t it be clear by now that remuneration for your services should be immediate? Never accept deferred benefits as remuneration. This is the reason why.

    Considering what lays ahead, considering that things are getting worse by the day, people are fools to accept deferred benefits as compensation. At least 50& of the corporations that currently exist will not exist in 20 years and many of them will go bankrupt and renege on their deferred compensation plans while paying out the liquidation of the defunct corporations to The Rich.

    What good is a DJIA above 25,000 if, upon cashing it in, the best thing you can purchase is the thrashing of a slave? The DJIA is an indicator of the success of the concentration of wealth. The higher it goes, the greater the wealth disparity.

  7. January 21, 2018

    @realitychecker
    As to the pensions that were “negotiated in lieu of wage increases,” in some cases we need to withhold our sympathy because in some cases the pensions were then ignored and the wage increases negotiated later despite them. The city employees of San Diego have such a pension, including the “DROP” deal where they can collect the pension and full salary for up to five years, and the deal where the pension is based in the highest year’s salary they ever received including overtime, and they now receive paid wages that are equal to average union wages in the county.

    They also complain about how unfair it is that they are excluded from Social Security, a complaint with which I am unsympathetic.

  8. Altandmain permalink
    January 21, 2018

    These days most companies don’t even offer a defined benefit pension. Pretty much nobody does save the government.

    Most companies only offer RRSP (that’s our equal to 401k for Americans) matching, and even then only a paltry percentage.

    There need to be laws in regards to pensions. That and the big problem is that the fundamental orientation of society is towards making rich people richer, and the rest of us mere peasants poorer. That’s the problem.

    As one commentator above notes, the only solution may be fear. Fear that there will be a revolution. At the very least, we need a political revolution like that which Bernie Sanders was proposing.

  9. realitychecker permalink
    January 21, 2018

    OT Breaking News

    FBI says it LOST all Peter Strzok text messages from mid-December 2016 to mid-May 2017, the day Mueller was appointed special counsel.

    Whatever should be done about this? Nothing painful, surely./s

  10. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    January 22, 2018

    “Mistrust those in whom the impulse to punish is strong.”
    –Nietzsche

    “The first guy who suggests violence is always the undercover cop.”
    –bitterly learned wisdom of the radicals of the Vietnam War period.

  11. jackiebass permalink
    January 22, 2018

    One way too prevent this is to require pension funds to be fully funded. You also have to frequently audit them to ensure that comply. If they aren’t then there should be severe penalties. This should include jail time for those responsible. if these people knew they could end up in jail they would change their behavior. Presently there is no penalty for the guilty people.

  12. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    January 22, 2018

    One way too prevent this is to require pension funds to be fully funded. You also have to frequently audit them to ensure that comply. If they aren’t then there should be severe penalties. This should include jail time for those responsible. if these people knew they could end up in jail they would change their behavior. Presently there is no penalty for the guilty people.

    I believe that if enough women in Pussy Hats and men with Dick Hats take to the streets in PROTEST, they can make this happen.

  13. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    January 22, 2018

    My namesake, a 32-year-old Troll of the Highest Order, has effectively shut the Government down with a “little” help from The Political Class.

    Trump is many things, and a vessel that empties and fills with duplicity & mendacity multiple times a day is one of those things.

  14. Tom permalink
    January 22, 2018

    Times like these, I’m reminded that an Olive Branch is the symbol for Victory, not peace.

  15. January 22, 2018

    “If it’s legal…”, “…but justice is not law…”

    It’s my opinion that law enforcement is little more than “the royal soldiers hauling away a peasant for making fun of the king and queen”.

    Essentially, 20% of written laws are of the practical kind: Being against murder, theft, vandalism, aggressive trespasses, rape, violent assault.
    The remaining 80% are essentially “anti-heresy”—retaliation against displays and attitudes of “sacrilege” toward one’s society.

  16. Webstir permalink
    January 22, 2018

    @Tal Hartsfeld:
    While I agree with your sentiments in regard to 20% of law being practical, I think your figures are off. I’d say with minor variations to them over the years 75% of the law has practical purpose. Paging through a shelf of State Statutes can change the way one looks at the world. Just black letter law includes: Criminal, Torts, Contracts, Real Property, UCC, Probate, Criminal, Family, Constitutional, and Business.

    The problem isn’t the Article III courts and laws as commonly understood by the public, per se. Although the Article III courts do have their issues. The problem is the Article I tribunals. Those set up by congress … not the constitution. 90% of those laws, rules, and regulations are written of, by, and for the bezzle class. Think arbitration. Think SEC dispute resolution. Think U.S. Forest Service Administrative appeals process. Think NAFTA & TPP.

  17. Webstir permalink
    January 23, 2018

    “A society which regards its ordinary members as sheep to be culled for the benefit of its elites is an un-just society.”

    I just want to pour a thought I had earlier today out my head here, and this quote provides the perfect vehicle. To begin, I’d say it like this, Ian:

    A society which regards its ordinary members as sheep to be “shorn” for the benefit of its elites is a “capitalist” society.

    Now, let me back up a few weeks ago. Subgenius posted the following link which I watched — and highly recommend to anyone else on here: https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-9270-dude_you_broke_the_future

    The speakers topic largely surrounds AI, but, he makes the observation that corporations are the original AI with one task — wealth accumulation. Now, these AI’s figured out a long time ago that to maximize shareholder return they needed to not only manufacture goods, but also manufacture consumer need because … humans don’t really need much.

    Thus, I submit that the feeling that world is spinning faster than it was 50 years ago is real. The feeling that the fly-wheel is loose and spinning out of control is real. I liken it to the relationship between a junkie and a pusher, really. We consumers are the junkies. We’re the sheep waiting to be shorn of our hard earned dollars. The AI’s are the pushers seeking to shave us with every imperceptible bezzle imaginable. Because that’s what AI’s do — they sit around and think about how to maximize shareholders return at your expense 24/7/365. We’re now closing in on a 100 year old experiment of mainlining manufactured need. Like the junkie, the hits that used to get us consumers off just don’t cut it anymore. So the pushers up the dose. And the consumers up the tolerance. And the pushers up the dose. And here we are today … so doped up and desensitized we don’t bat an eye at doses of reality that would have killed the same consumer 50 years ago.

    And the kicker is? You all feel this way whether you’ll admit it or not. We’re all looking for a way off the smack without even knowing what it is we’re really all addicted to.

  18. nihil obstet permalink
    January 23, 2018

    @Webstir

    Adam Curtis’ Century of the Self is about the creation of desire as a means of social manipulation. I recommend it every time I get the chance.

  19. Will permalink
    January 23, 2018

    Seen too much of this in my life. Check out the history of Patriot Coal and Peabody Coal…. it will make your skin crawl.

  20. realitychecker permalink
    January 23, 2018

    @ Ivory Bill Pecker

    You say, for the zillionth time, it seems:

    “The first guy who suggests violence is always the undercover cop.”
    –bitterly learned wisdom of the radicals of the Vietnam War period.

    Although I have learned to despise your general level of obtuseness, I really must congratulate you this time, because you have shared the very important discovery that our host must be working with feds to take us all down, when he says, quote:

    ” . . .but every once in a while, such offenses end in guillotines or bullets.”

    All hail The Pecker, once again saving us from thinking. With friends like you, Pecker, who needs enemas?

  21. Webstir permalink
    January 23, 2018

    @nihil obstet:
    Thank you for the recommendation. I wiki’d Adam Curtis because I’m sadly unfamiliar with his work. But, it looks like I’ve got some quality catching up to do!

    Coming from a psych background, I’ve been aware for some time of John Watson’s (the defrocked John’s-Hopkins behavioral psychologist of Baby Albert fame) influence on Madison Avenue. Unfortunately, the academic psych community treats his story as a snobby ethical lesson for it’s initiates: “Don’t screw your lab assistant or you’ll end up using your degree to write ads.” Instead of, let’s say, using your prestigious APA credentials to sign off on “humane” torture techniques for the Bush administration — I mean, helping people.

  22. January 23, 2018

    Ian:
    So, Empty Suit Trudeau and the Liberal Party will do nothing about this? How are his approval ratings? I hear the BC government might collapse already because the BC NDP is a bunch of cowardly idiots.

  23. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    January 24, 2018

    @The hilariously misnamed checker of reality:

    Welsh did not endorse violence; he merely stated the grim fact that it happens in some times and places.

    You, OTOH, often try to cajole the other regular and irregular visitors to this blog into discussing the appropriateness of violent resistance.

    If you are not an undercover cop, then you give the impression of being at least a borderline monomaniac.

  24. realitychecker permalink
    January 24, 2018

    @ IBP

    God, you are so dense.

    What I argue AGAINST is dogmatic passivity forever in the face of relentlessly unending and obvious abuse.

    Exactly what the best response is, I am not grandiose enough to prescribe for anyone. I don’t know the correct response myself, but I definitely think it is worth thinking and talking about it. If we are still free people at all.

    I do know that I was able to openly study and discuss the issues involved in a course called Protest and Revolution at New York University in 1973. So I am appalled to see the loss of freedom evidenced by the current terror at even discussing such matters in a hypothetical and scholarly way.

    You have made it clear that whatever they tell you to submit to, you will submit to. So, that’s your choice. I don’t have much respect for it. Sorry.

    You represent a level of timidity that I can only feel contempt for. But you are not alone. Ten years back, I was getting excoriated by many at Firedoglake for simply urging people, without more, to read the Declaration of Independence, our supposedly sacred document. And FDL was supposed to be the cutting edge blog at the time.

    The Masters just love guys like you, and depend on them.

  25. realitychecker permalink
    January 24, 2018

    I just have to add, that I find it utterly hilarious to witness the visceral reaction of so many against the very concept of “reality checking.”

    Un-fucking-believable that so many seem so threatened by it. I can remember when all on the left were urging that reality checks should be ubiquitous.

    How far we have fallen.

  26. realitychecker permalink
    January 24, 2018

    Final note, IBP: You need to calmly consider the linguistic significance of the words “sadly” and “but” when used consecutively in a sentence.

  27. Willy permalink
    January 24, 2018

    Sun Tzu say, it’s best to know that you can win the fight before you start the fight. He didn’t call it the ‘Art of Martyrdom’, you know.

    If the Declaration of Independence is on the side of the people getting screwed by the kleptocrat, and not on the side of the kleptocrat, then maybe it’s time to use that document to marshal the forces of good.

    Unfortunately kleptocrats have lawyers on their side too. And really good spin doctors.

  28. realitychecker permalink
    January 24, 2018

    Doesn’t your supply of piffle ever run low?

    Your wife might be impressed with you, but you seem incredibly foolish and shallow to me.

    How you gonna know you’ll win the fight, before you even have an intelligent discussion about it with your hoped-for comrades?

    Fucking hopeless.

  29. Willy permalink
    January 24, 2018

    Yet again, you have said absolutely nothing. My comment is meant for all, not just your neurotic stupid ass.

    What I argue AGAINST is dogmatic passivity forever in the face of relentlessly unending and obvious abuse.

    Everybody here does, except for your beloved Peter. I bet you wouldn’t even be able to expand on your “dogmatic passivity” without ad hominem.

  30. Willy permalink
    January 24, 2018

    I’ve said this before.

    One of the closest recent history analogs we have to a successful revolution against concentrated power, happened in Iran in the late 70’s. Most of the revolutionary energy came from the freedom movements (you know, democracy, rule of law, what most human beings anywhere are said to want…). But that part of the revolution was co-opted by the minority religious movements which gained then consolidated its power. I know people from the former who had to get the hell out of there after that happened.

    That’s just one example of what can go wrong in a fight for “democracy, rule of law, what most human beings anywhere are said to want…”

    Of course, in the magical world of realitychecker, American freedom fighters would never need to strategize against any possible machinations from minority allies seeking their own power, because “we’re different from them, idiot”.

    And then the conversation devolves into penises. Personally, I believe rc says little of anything because he has little of anything to say. Sixteen years of studying revolution down the drain.

  31. realitychecker permalink
    January 24, 2018

    Willy, all your drivel adds up to doing nothing. Every single time.

    Stick your useless, empty opinions where the Sun Tzu don’t shine.

  32. Willy permalink
    January 24, 2018

    My nature has never been to be “doing nothing”. That’s black and white thinking. I always carefully plan moves in advance for anything where there’s risk. And that goes double where concentrated power is involved.

    You’ve had sixteen years, on top of a JD and many psychology classes. So where’s the wisdom? Shouldn’t you be dazzling us by now?

  33. realitychecker permalink
    January 24, 2018

    Well, let’s see, Willy, if I urge folks to think of and discuss possible ways to undo the things they constantly complain about, and they decide they are afraid to talk about it, that’s on me, in your world? That’s ridiculous.

    We used to call it “raising consciousness. ” You can’t get anyone to do anything until you get them to clarify and focus their thinking. You can’t actually force the thinking, as nothing makes more evident than you. And your generation is a hell of a lot more unconscious than the generation before technology was unleashed to make everyone passive, cowardly, and extra-stupid.

    You have the laziest mind around, Willy, you won’t do anything for yourself, always demanding complete explanations and to know where the book ends, but you won’t even read the first chapter. Ever read that Public Enemies book by Jess Money that I told you about, so you could get some ideas about what might be possible. NO, you didn’t, not in two years.

    But what you never fail to do is grab your penis and type out some obnoxious remark aimed at me any time you see my name on a comment here. Fine, a man’s got to know his limitations, and I guess that is yours.

    You keep insisting you won’t leave your infantile safe space until you have a GUARANTEE of success. And you cite Sun Tzu. You are a foolish child. Nothing that is difficult and complex can ever be accomplished without taking some risk. And more adjustments might be needed down the road, because life is a dynamic, ever changing process.

    What rational adults do is make a realistic and informed appraisal of the risks and the possibilities, and then decide how important their human freedom and dignity are.

    And adults know that guys like you will just stay in their safe space and wail until someone changes their diaper.

  34. Willy permalink
    January 25, 2018

    Well, let’s see, Willy, if I urge folks to think of and discuss possible ways to undo the things they constantly complain about, and they decide they are afraid to talk about it, that’s on me, in your world? That’s ridiculous.

    I didn’t mean to imply that at all. I was hoping that somebody, anybody, would have the wisdom to facilitate such a discussion, to keep it moving forward regardless of who participated. With enough apparent interest in that direction, Ian might be inspired to post more about it.

    We used to call it “raising consciousness. ” You can’t get anyone to do anything until you get them to clarify and focus their thinking. You can’t actually force the thinking, as nothing makes more evident than you. And your generation is a hell of a lot more unconscious than the generation before technology was unleashed to make everyone passive, cowardly, and extra-stupid.

    You get that focus by getting people to be angry about their stolen futures, not by continuously accusing them of things they don’t think they’re doing.

    You have the laziest mind around, Willy, you won’t do anything for yourself, always demanding complete explanations and to know where the book ends, but you won’t even read the first chapter. Ever read that Public Enemies book by Jess Money that I told you about, so you could get some ideas about what might be possible. NO, you didn’t, not in two years.

    Six months, actually (I have the receipt). Are you sure you’re not confusing a “laziest mind” with No Time? I run a business, maintain my own vehicles, do my own plumbing, maintain myself physically… since I don’t trust the so-called specialists I used to pay to do those things, anymore. Sterling is right – capitalism is broken. But Ian is also right – one can still survive as a self-reliant but I find it takes a lot more personal time to do so.

    But what you never fail to do is grab your penis and type out some obnoxious remark aimed at me any time you see my name on a comment here. Fine, a man’s got to know his limitations, and I guess that is yours.

    There are many ways to influence a discussion outside of “reward and punishment”.

    You keep insisting you won’t leave your infantile safe space until you have a GUARANTEE of success. And you cite Sun Tzu. You are a foolish child. Nothing that is difficult and complex can ever be accomplished without taking some risk. And more adjustments might be needed down the road, because life is a dynamic, ever changing process.

    Please don’t assume so much. Nobody is all black or all white. I’ve never used that word, “GUARANTEE” (outside of the product vendors I used to trust). I’ve only ever looked to increase the odds of success whenever anything’s appeared risky. And revolting against powerful elites for the sole purpose of taking their power and elite-ness away, is probably the most risky venture of all. I sure hope the Jess Money book has ideas about that. If it yields insights into practical self-defense ideas for the stressed average Joe, so much the better.

  35. Willy permalink
    January 25, 2018

    I have mature, serious answers, but they’re currently in moderation.

  36. realitychecker permalink
    January 26, 2018

    Yeah, don’t bother.

  37. Willy permalink
    January 26, 2018

    Peter complained about the same thing. Around here one can swear up a storm, but certain phrases and words will get comments held by the system.

    If I was you I’d talk up the Jess Money book to others who have far more time and will. People around here will have more in common with your librarian aunt than they do navy seals.

  38. realitychecker permalink
    January 26, 2018

    “If I was you . . .”

    You are always a voice supporting continued lazy ignorance.

    You are the opposite of me.

  39. realitychecker permalink
    January 26, 2018

    @ Willy

    Great opportunity to demonstrate once again what a hopeless, mindless, worthless moron you insist on being.

    When I first told you about that Public Enemies book a couple of years ago, because you could not even IMAGINE how a revolution might be fought, the book was an unknown thing, available in electronic form for $3.99 at Amazon.

    Now I see it is also in hardcover for $16.00, free on Kindle, and has a shitload of 4 and 5 star reviews posted.

    All you’ve done in-between is mock the idea.

    Willy, you will always be bringing up the rear. That is your destiny. Stop trying to pose as someone with a working brain. It’s an insult to working brains.

  40. Willy permalink
    January 26, 2018

    Six months, not “couple of years”. I have the receipt. The book will eventually be for show, for friends to borrow.

    I have never mocked the idea, only wanted to expand on it.
    What I mock is you, because you cannot expand on ideas.

    You are right. You’ll need to find somebody else with more time. I suggest Peter. If you can turn him away from protecting the elites, you may well be able to turn practically anybody.

  41. realitychecker permalink
    January 26, 2018

    Obviously, I’m really good at ‘turning’ you into an asshole. 🙂

  42. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    January 26, 2018

    @rc, you never develop this hobby horse of yours beyond the generality that Americans should consider violence to remedy their out-of-control government. What do you have in mind, exactly? There has been no shortage of violence directed against USG in the past decades, and what has it accomplished? Those who seek out violence tend to discredit their own cause, unless they have the weight of law enforcement and propaganda behind them (ie, unless they are just a tool of the current ruling class).

    You are a boomer – maybe you have the typical boomer views about politics, living perpetually in 60s where (you imagine) the masses spontaneously erupted and forced the government to remedy injustice.

  43. Willy permalink
    January 26, 2018

    I worked with a hippy boomer once. Still had the pony tail and bell bottoms. He came over to me one day, obviously depressed, flopped his belly onto my desk, and said: “The girls don’t look at me anymore. No miniskirted babes giving me the eye anymore. It sucks.” I said: “I’m sure they do. They’re just a lot older now.” He went away with a thoughtful look on his face.

    The next day he was much happier, flopped his belly onto my desk, and said: “Willy! You were absolutely right. They’re still looking at me! They’re just a lot older now.”

    I don’t know why I just typed that, but maybe rc could start a military commune camp for bell bottom big belly boomers. Or something.

  44. BlizzardOfOzzz permalink
    January 27, 2018

    Rc doesn’t strike me as having stereotypical boomer traits, but how else do you explain his fixation? And look around – shitlibs are already uncomfortably comfortable with violence. Punch a Nazi, Steve Scalise, right wingers deserve to be shot because of the NRA, … But they are using violence to defend the existing order, are they not? Jeff Bezos and Nancy Pelosi all agree that wrong speech is violence, and punching a Nazi (defined as anyone to the right of Mao) is just self defense.

  45. realitychecker permalink
    January 27, 2018

    Both you guys just wrote comments that are so full of errors that I won’t waste my time taking them apart one by one. You couldn’t possibly get any of that stuff from anything I ever said. If you were actually reading carefully. I type pretty carefully–you don’t need to use your words to say ‘what I said,’ you can use my words, OK? Lousy paraphrasers seem to be all the left has left anymore. And that really sucks.

    I’ll only address this: Discussion of the radical option of revolution would require a lot of foundational work, like, what does freedom mean, do you need it, what is the status of the ideas in the Declaration of Independence, and a whole lot more. But nobody here even wants to talk about the foundation, despite countless invitations, so why do you and others keep asking me to talk about how people might actually do violence? Cart before the horse, much? Seems like it.

    And why do you think I should be a leader, rather than a participant, in any meaningful discussion? Any ideas that came out of such discussion would be worthless unless they reach a lot of people.

    There is little benefit to me from, e.g., trying to educate such a reluctant student as Willy has relentlessly proven himself to be. I mean, really. Gimme a break already.

  46. Willy permalink
    January 27, 2018

    Have you ever posted starter-posts for the purpose of encouraging the discussion “of foundational work, like, what does freedom mean, do you need it, what is the status of the ideas in the Declaration of Independence, and a whole lot more”?

    You have? With few takers? Should we then not be discussing how to improve our skills at inspiring such discussions?

  47. BlizzardOfOzzz permalink
    January 27, 2018

    Discussion of the radical option of revolution would require a lot of foundational work, like, what does freedom mean, do you need it, what is the status of the ideas in the Declaration of Independence, and a whole lot more. But nobody here even wants to talk about the foundation, despite countless invitations, so why do you and others keep asking me to talk about how people might actually do violence? Cart before the horse, much?

    Ok, this makes a lot of sense – this is a crucial discussion. (I guess I misread you before.) In the coming age of war and revolution, we won’t be able to fight until we know what we’re fighting for.

  48. realitychecker permalink
    January 28, 2018

    @ Blizzard

    First, I did not mean to include you in my prior comment as much as it looks like I did lol–I would not really characterize you as being of the left. 🙂

    Now, for a teaching/learning moment. Note how Willy, for the millionth time, acts like he thinks I am a professor at a university that he has paid big bucks to in order to purchase an education.

    But aside from asking deliberately obnoxious rhetorical questions, he doesn’t want to put any personal effort into anything. He thinks I OWE him his education.

    But his attitude is really no worse than the overall feedback I’ve gotten—I mean, seriously, how many times do I have to type “Read the Declaration of Independence,” over a decade plus, at FDL and here, with no response or results, before I am allowed to retreat into disgust and allow other life priorities to claim my energies?

    According to Willy and so many others, it’s not worth talking, reading, or thinking about.

    Self-actualization did not used to be such a hard sell. (sigh)

  49. Willy permalink
    January 28, 2018

    I never said that. I’d always thought that my attitude was that of the typical regular Joe who works all the time just to make ends meet, and could use some older, wiser feedback from Joes who aren’t in that situation anymore.

    If the DoC is but one guide, we’re fighting against a new form of despotism? Men endowed by their Creator with unalienable Rights such as Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are having those things snuffed out by a form of economic despotism (or catchier pithy descriptive phrase), and our government, (which once derived their just powers from the consent of the governed) has become ignorant of those ends and does not represent the governed anymore. It is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    I honestly don’t know the history of that document, specifically when the critical mass of angry colonists was reached to where most colonists reading it would simply agree with their guiding author/elders on all it’s points.

    I posted many times the Represent.Us organization, not as a specific answer to our current challenges, but as a starting point for discussion. In a nutshell, that organization simply wants to roll with the constitution but add laws which they believe would limit “economic despotism” “crony capitalism” “crapitalism” “oligarchic kleptocracy” (or catchier phrase).

  50. Willy permalink
    January 28, 2018

    revise ” DoC” to “Declaration of Independence”

  51. BlizzardOfOzzz permalink
    January 28, 2018

    rc, I appreciate the wisdom of framing the discussion in that way, although I would prefer the Constitution / federalist debate to the D of I, which I see as more of a propaganda piece – “the opinion of mankind” – than a philosophic or legal one.

    I do think that “freedom” or liberty is an important touchstone. It should be evident – though the left is utterly blind to this – that the old idea (freedom from tyranny) is incompatible and in fact opposed to the new idea (freedom from want). James Burnham’s insight about the managerial revolution is central to this question, but again, I see few on the left who have engaged with it, or grasped its implications.

  52. realitychecker permalink
    January 28, 2018

    @ BOO

    Well, it certainly wasn’t a legal document, there could be none that went against the King.

  53. realitychecker permalink
    January 28, 2018

    The Declaration and the Constitution are they key documents but they were meant to serve two very different purposes. The former, to show how to justify an ‘illegal’ revolution. The latter, to show that you aren’t allowed to have a revolution.

    Unless people can get un-confused about all that is implied there, consensus on any of the big questions will remain unreachable. Seems to me.

  54. Peter permalink
    January 28, 2018

    @Ozzz

    You asked some good questions about the meaning of violent resistance, freedom amd liberty but so far RC hasn’t addressed them. Violent resistance would probably be viewed by most people as offensive terror from some kind of Pinko vanguard bent on taking power and installing who knows who as replacement rulers.

    James Burnham seemed to have the same questions, as I do, about how to deal fairly with people who are willing to trade our liberty for their tyranny to advance their liberalism.

  55. realitychecker permalink
    January 28, 2018

    @ Peter

    Right, I haven’t yet addressed many relevant questions, because I’ve exhausted myself by years of suggesting maybe there is a discussion to be had, that is worth having.

    And having to repel endless attacks from every direction.

    If we now have some genuine interest in beginning that conversation, a very big if, someone else can be in charge for awhile. I’d like to see 50 or 100 voices, frankly.

    Give Willy a chance to carry the ball./s

    You embrace the status quo in ways I would not, so I understand your position, but no need to worry about rushing into talking about violence. Let’s talk about what freedom means instead, or where moral authority to change rulers comes from. Long way to go before we even have a reason to talk about violence. Long way. I think I’ve done my part in getting the ball rolling, if rolling it is.

    This really shouldn’t be about me.

  56. Hvd permalink
    January 28, 2018

    RC- I disagree about the constitution. It’s not about how youre not allowed to have a revolution but rather about an attempt (and I believe it was understood as only an attempt to create a more perfect union not the perfect union) to create a mechanism under which revolutions might not be necessary particularly if the aspirational Bill of Rights is respected.

  57. realitychecker permalink
    January 28, 2018

    @ hvd

    That’s what I meant, but I chose to use looser language to say the same thing.

    The Declaration tells us when revolution is reasonable, the Constitution doe not recommend it in any way.

    That tension is where the action is in considering what we believe about us and our freedom.

    That is why I think any discussion needs to start there, and let’s see if we can even have any consensus about that.

    Maybe we never even get to talk about violent action at all?

    I bet most here are willing to forget all about that ‘consent of the governed’ madness./s

  58. Peter permalink
    January 28, 2018

    @RC

    I’m enjoying watching the liberal/leftist/snowflake status quo being disrupted almost every week by the Trump administration and celebrate anytime anyone is prosecuted for real crimes no matter their politics or position. If you could outline some non marxist/NWO ideas for a new system I might listen. All I see today is America hating marxists with death wishes for anyone who disagrees with them along with much of the world population.

    You’ve been pushing this violence theme for years so you can’t slip to the back now and lead from behind when we need to know who gets the first bullet to the brain-pan.

  59. realitychecker permalink
    January 28, 2018

    You’re not paying attention, Peter.

  60. BlizzardOfOzzz permalink
    January 29, 2018

    @rc

    The Declaration tells us when revolution is reasonable, the Constitution doe not recommend it in any way.

    There’s a passage in Hume where he writes about how revolution, though sometimes justified and necessary, should not be made explicit as an option, as doing so would only seem to encourage or normalize it. The circumstances should be truly exceptional to justify such an extreme remedy.

    So I assume that today, instead of “independence”, we would be talking about secession. I wonder what the list of grievances would be, and how they would stack up to those in the Declaration.

  61. BlizzardOfOzzz permalink
    January 29, 2018

    @peter, I’m sure I hardly need to point out that the old idea of liberty is losing in a rout. Are you content to just hold on and hope for a miracle, or maybe martyrdom?

  62. realitychecker permalink
    January 29, 2018

    @ BOO

    Peter is dedicated to supporting the corporate status quo no matter what, their shit don’t stink, and so he must be relegated to the Undecided camp, at best lol.

    Willy is not worth engaging because he is not honest–after repeatedly declaring here his dedication to disrupting the conversation and being only about “feces-throwing” when responding to me, he now pretends he was just a humble and earnest seeker of wisdom from an older and wiser mentor9 (i.e., me). Doesn’t pass the smell test. 🙂

    The Declaration was an attempt to find a justification for revolution outside the legal system. It appealed for its authority to God and to natural law. Because you could not legally go against the King in a monarchy. So they appealed to the Creator and nature, in lieu of a legal argument, and posed those as higher authority than the King. That rhetorical rationalization carried the day back then, but would it still?

    Will we still accept the supposed intent of the Creator, or the perceived laws and norms of Nature, as sufficient authority to break the laws that preserve our status quo?

    Studies have shown pretty clearly that our ‘representatives’ do not vote as we want them to (there was a major one at Northwestern a few years back; it showed zero correlation, iirc).

    Would we still accept the Declaration’s position that when consent of the governed is shown to not apply or be honored anymore, then armed resistance is justified and required? If so, where should the red line be? Have we reached/passed it yet?

    This is a very basic question that deserves much consideration and discussion. I’d like to see a whole bunch of other folks weigh in on this before moving on to other aspects of the discussion. I don’t see the point of having this discussion just between us, Blizz; it a useless exercise unless many show interest in participating in it. IN GOOD FAITH.

    Frankly, I thought more of the population’s SQ (Spunk Quotient lol) when I started agitating for having this conversation as soon as I saw that Obama was going to be just another betrayer, ten years ago. I’ve seen enough now to understand how unlikely it is that there still exists enough spine on the left to ever have the bulk of lefties support any kind of a fight. Safe spaces are probably viewed as preferable./s

    But, let’s see who bothers to weigh in on this basic issue first, before we move on to more complex, but less basic, issues. We may not/likely won’t ever get to where violent action needs to even be considered. Let’s see how many consider wearing a Pussy Hat to be the absolute limit of as far as they will ever go to ‘resist.’

  63. Hvd permalink
    January 29, 2018

    I am inclined to believe that part of our current problem is the fact that both the “left” and the “right” have accepted the argument that the constitution was intended not to be a radical transformation of concepts regarding individual and property rights but was intended to be a conservative preservation of the rights of a few white men. This explains the current disregard in our institutions of the obvious, limitations on the power of government and corporations, which derive all of their power from government, both explicit and implicit in the Bill of Rights. It is why when the Supreme Court argues for the personhood of corporations the dissent raises no serious principled argument in reply. The same applies with the sundry attacks on the fourth amendment.

    I personally believe that the intention of the framers was radical ongoing transformation and that the machinery elsewhere in the constitution was intended to keep that transformative power alive preserving the spirit of revolution without bloodshed. Of course, as we see, it didn’t exactly work out that way. If I understand RC correctly he is asking in a sense what is necessary to restore that vision. How can we convince the “left” that their conservative view of the constitution to which the tories respond, amen, is fundamentally incorrect. If we can’t do that then of course it will be necessary to pen a new d of I although the words could remain virtually the same as well as a new constitution.

    I’m not quite saying what I intend to say but feel that I am getting close. If not feel free to disregard my ramblings

  64. realitychecker permalink
    January 29, 2018

    @ hvd

    It’s always tricky to try and read too much into a group exercise, but I think the general thrust of the essential concepts goes something like this:

    The Declaration shows how to make an argument for disregarding the law of the status quo.

    The Constitution was written from the viewpoint of a newly-empowered status quo, whose primary concern was not to have another revolution.

    But nobody ever said “forget about the Declaration, that was just some opportunistic bullshit we put out there to rally support.” So, can we still assume the validity of those arguments contained in it?

    We have preserved and revered both documents as seminal to the American whatever-we-are, so I think we must acknowledge and deal with the obvious conflict between the two visions. In the process, we need to identify and justify our own preferences, and try to find what our current balance should be on those two conflicting visions.

    It all depends on our view of the ongoing consent of the governed, IMO. Does breach of that implied contract still justify armed resistance? If so, at what point?

  65. Peter permalink
    January 29, 2018

    @Oz

    I agree that the true meaning of liberty and freedom were being undermined by liberalism/leftism for the last 50 years. I don’t believe in miracles but more than 60 milion people showed their support for the old meanings of those ideas in the last election.

    RC is still backpedaling away from the loaded gun he left behind while projecting some marxist litmus test at me because I refuse to join the collective and condemn all business and capital as corrupt.

    I don’t know what you mean about martyrdom which is something I faced in my radical youth but getting shot cured me of seeking it.

  66. realitychecker permalink
    January 29, 2018

    @ Peter

    I don’t know why you are trying so hard, when our disagreement is simple–I believe in punishing cheaters within capitalism, and you don’t.

  67. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    January 29, 2018

    @Peter, true, 60 million armed defending their sacred patrimony are more than formidable – but despite that, chunks of it are already lost or in grave peril. Maybe I’m just betraying my depressive streak.

  68. Peter permalink
    January 29, 2018

    @Oz

    Depression is the goal of the postmodern/post-truth agenda and that’s why any good news causes the snowflakes to foam at the mouth, hiss and spit.

    The globalists are still powerful and determined to drive people with fear and confusion into their Modor like world government but real resistance is growing and it’s being led by POTUS gives it the power to continue.

  69. Willy permalink
    January 29, 2018

    that the old idea (freedom from tyranny) is incompatible and in fact opposed to the new idea (freedom from want)

    What about freedom from corruption? Is that too much to ask from a representative democracy?

    Maybe Peter can’t grasp that Rule of Law will reside somewhere on a continuum between anarchy and totalitarianism. We all have our blind spots.

  70. Peter permalink
    January 29, 2018

    @RC

    I think you are overdoing the diversionary BS about what I think and now you have Willy aiding you.

    Try as you may you can’t escape the questions that were asked, you either try to answer them or retreat to some mute denial position.

  71. realitychecker permalink
    January 30, 2018

    @ Peter

    I’m pretty sure there is some miscommunication occurring here–could you please say/show EXACTLY what you are attacking me about? I’m very used to be badly paraphrased around here, but not usually by you.

    As to Willy, he did the broken-clock thingy re CORRUPTION, but it’s ridiculous to ever think he is working with me.

    You seem to have an impression of me that does not accord with what I have actually typed here. If I am wrong about that, please show me where that happened, and I’ll be happy to respond.

  72. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    January 30, 2018

    Willy, what do you mean by corruption specifically? Please don’t tell me it’s something retarded like ambassadors staying in DRUMPF’s hotels?

  73. Willy permalink
    January 30, 2018

    It’s that kind of blog, Peter. I don’t need to be part of any freedom -vs- Rule of Law discussion.
    But at least such a discussion can be had here, even a small one, without too many flying monkeys suddenly appearing to mindlessly defend wicked witches.

  74. Willy permalink
    January 30, 2018

    BOO, I don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m talking about most of our citizen-elected government representatives ignoring their concerns to work on behalf of the donor class. The Joe Manchin – Heather Bresch connection is a good example. There was a post here about how highest paid CEOs are the worst performers. Stirling Newberry once proclaimed in this place that capitalism doesn’t even function anymore. In my personal meatspace this isn’t theoretical gibberish, but stuff I have to deal with every day. I see a once thriving mostly honest competitive capitalistic system falling apart.

  75. realitychecker permalink
    January 30, 2018

    I see very little interest in a conversation that needs to deal with what we think freedom is, and when or whether it is ever worth fighting for.

    I guess it’s exciting to think about violent action, but not to think about why you might decide you need to get violent.

    Is it just that the left can’t agree with self-defense in ANY form?

    Given the lack of interest, again, I am done this this effort.

  76. realitychecker permalink
    January 30, 2018

    Edit: done with this effort

  77. BlizzardOfOzzz permalink
    January 31, 2018

    rc, you might be overlooking this part of the Declaration … I think most people are still here.

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

  78. Willy permalink
    January 31, 2018

    I’m on record right here saying that any system, regardless of intended prudence, if it’s not being prudently maintained, will eventually come to serve only a few, because that’s all those noted few are any good at – undermining any system for their own personal gain. That’s why most empires fall. But apparently this thinking is far too radical for this place.

  79. realitychecker permalink
    January 31, 2018

    @ BOO

    No, the question is when and why do we decide we have reached the insufferable point.

    Nobody cares, so I’m done.

Comments are closed.