The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Yes, the American people are responsible

Let me respond to the idea that Americans are not responsible for what is happening to America, especially poorer Americans.

No.  Sorry, but no.  Sure, their guilt isn’t as great as that of the liberal class, or the financiers, or various other folks, but they are still responsible.  It was a democracy.  There were ways to stop it from getting to this.  In a democracy, the PEOPLE are held responsible.  Yes, there were forces working to stop it from being a democracy, but they voted for people like Reagan and the members of Congress, and so on.  Whether you think the 2000 or 2004 elections were stolen (yes on the first, maybe on the second) they let it get to the point where it could be stolen.  They didn’t riot in 2000.  They reelected George Bush after everyone knew he was torturing scum.

I’m not letting them off the hook.  Sorry.

The pathetic attempts of Americans to pretend they’re good people and don’t deserve what’s happening to them are just that, pathetic.  Yeah, some of them are good, but not enough.  It’s just that simple.

Take some goddamn responsibility.

Until Americans get that they are responsible, they will not also get that they can change things.  If Americans are powerless, if it’s “not their fault” that also means they can’t fix it.

This is basic, like everything else I have to explain these days, it seems.

Sadly America is no longer the issue.  While it is theoretically possible it could be saved, the odds are so low the fight is pointless for anyone not an American (and even there, if you can leave, you should).  We are now in triage, trying to save other nations.  The center did not hold.  So be it, the provinces are on their own, and must do what they can, for themselves.

And the people who continue to apologize for the American public, pretending that Americans as a group are not complicit… yeah, well, whatever.  Doesn’t matter now.  But that sort of “it’s not your responsibility” BULLSHIT is part of why America is going down.

“It’s not your responsibility” means “don’t pay attention, don’t try and change it.”


Do not judge public figures on how “nice” they are


You don’t get the payroll tax “cut”


  1. par4

    Do you think the UK and the Commonwealth are in the same fix?

  2. Morocco Bama

    Yet another Grand Slam. I couldn’t agree more. Every step of the way, the “Little People,” because of their prejudices, traded away what little liberty and freedom they had for short-term conveniences, thus deferring responsibility and accountability until their progeny were rendered permanent infants, or at best, adolescents.

    The ingredients aren’t there to bake the cake of true change. The People have been neutered and spayed. Nearly everyone these days is an ethical Eunuch without an ounce of real fight in them.

  3. Jack Crow

    I don’t think the 1/3 of all American residents, and the 60% of registered voters who showed up at the polls (2004) is a good enough bellwether to allow the assessment that all Americans chose Bush, or that that all Americans endorse the current leadership, or that the people who are largely victims are responsible for their conditions. Nor is our country an actual democracy, really. When your choice for office holders is from among a rather limited slate of oligarchs and daddy’s little princes, with a corporate media that enlists itself to winnow that field down even further, the word “democracy” doesn’t come to mind.

  4. Celsius 233

    Yup; spot on Ian & MB.
    Exactly why I left 6 weeks after the asshole starting bombing/invading Iraq.
    We’re done, over done actually…

  5. Ian Welsh

    If they couldn’t be bothered to vote…

  6. Ian Welsh

    America /was/ a democracy. I don’t think it is anymore. But voting for Reagan was just as big a mistake at the time.

  7. Jack Crow

    “If they couldn’t be bothered to vote” is an argument that ignores its own environment, the actuality of our “democracy,” the relative homogeneity of the supposedly different political parties, and the fact that there are about 80 million Americans who don’t have a “right to vote” but who are being held responsible for the decisions made by oligarchs.

  8. Morocco Bama

    But voting for Reagan was just as big a mistake at the time.

    ….and Clinton, if you think about it. The Washington Consensus, a term elaborated upon by Zinn, sprouted under Carter, although the seeds had already been planted, and took off from there. Now we have a planetary forest of prodigious proportions and nobody knows how to, or cares to log.

  9. Pepe

    Even my conditioning is conditioned.

    How’d the Franklin line go? “It’s a republic, if you can keep it.”

    I want to blame the proles; I really do. But, as Jonathon Schwarz wrote this weekend “How much history in our heads is fabricated?” A putative democrazy (an unintentional typo which I’ve decided is closer to reality so left uncorrected) where they choose between two pre-vetted by the powers-that-be candidates while they get all of their info from corporatized propaganda outlets …

    At this point, everything’s very likely beyond saving, so blaming everyone – dunno dude. I’d rather just get ready to eat the rich.

  10. tom allen

    I guess I’m the contrarian’s contrarian, then. I think the nation’s redeemable. Not by the adults, perhaps, but by the children. I mean, it’s touch and go in Egypt right now, and Russia, and Iraq … but if they can stay and resist their military dictatorships peacefully and democratically, then we sure as hell can give it one more try. 😛

  11. soullite

    Eh, once you start going back to elections held over 30 years ago, you’re no longer blaming the American people. You’re mostly blaming dead folks who used to be the American people.

  12. Most of the Reagan voters are still alive. 1980 is the year we went off the rails.

    Sadly I agree with Ian. We are no longer America and will not be again in my life time. People with an opportunity to leave should do so.

    Unfortunately we can take many nations down with us, we don’t even have to invade or drop freedom bombs to do so.

    Occupy is the most hopeful thing going on right now.

  13. Ian Welsh

    Oh, FFS. Are you people arguing America was never a democracy? And forget 30 years ago, try 10 or 20. Nobody is saying, certainly not I, that some Americans aren’t more responsible than others. But things are much worse now, and Americans must take responsibility. If they won’t, they can’t fix it.

    The point is that Americans have been voting for this for a long time. Lower taxes, lower taxes, lower taxes. Suburbia, suburbia, suburbia.

    America can be redeemed, sure. I just don’t think it’s going to happen before it crashes out. 20 years is pretty optimistic, I think, alas.

  14. viajera

    This just doesn’t sit right with me, probably because my defensive hackles are going up as a USian. Yes, the American people as a whole have done some really stupid, idiotic things that have led us to this point, and facilitated war criminals. But I don’t think you can hold your average individual responsible for this.

    As someone who’s lived in the US most of my life, who has traveled and lived all over the country, in my experience the average American is absolutely clueless when it comes to politics. Frankly, most of them don’t give a damn. Why don’t they give a damn? Because they’ve (we’ve) been encouraged not to give a damn from the moment we first start consuming media. The media morass we float in tells us constantly: don’t look over there, that’s boring, here, look at Snooki and The Situation play on the Jersey Shore, check out Brangelina’s latest adventures, watch Ahnold blow up some terrorists, watch “Real” Housewives take each other down. Most importantly, if you want to be happy (and isn’t that the most important thing EVER?!?), be sure to buy Buy BUY!!!!! Don’t think too hard, thinking is for geeks, and you don’t want to be a geek now, do you? Politics, that’s just sooooo boring, they’re all the same doncha know? All that matters is that you have a big, strong daddy figure to protect you – because those scary Mooslims are after you, doncha know?

    Our educational system is crap, and has been crap for decades, and I tend to think that’s intentional. Keep the people dumb so they don’t question or think too much, then distract them with shiny baubles. But also keep them fearful, with constant war in the background and torture on the TV, so they’ll vote in big, strong authoritarians and permit them to do anything “necessary” to “protect” the country.

    Then those of us who’ve taken the red pill and see what’s going on, we’re either ignored or ridiculed. Those dirty f*(*ing hippies, they’re just a bunch of loony extremists, don’t listen to them. So we’re not listened to. I’ve been talking about this for years, but nobody wants to hear it, they just want to write me off as crazy so they can go back to their TV and their toys. We’ve protested, but the media ignores us, or turns their light on us only long enough to ridicule us. We’ve campaigned for candidates who promise to be progressive, then turn around and enact policies more conservative than Republicans of yore. We’ve talked and blogged and raised money, but we have no power in this country, and no one wants to hear what we have to say, because it isn’t pretty and comfortable and happy.

    The American people as a whole are brainwashed. And who is responsible for this? Can you really blame brainwashed people for their own brainwashing, which started in their infancy? Sure, I can see that they allowed this to happen to a certain degree, but once you start down this path you’re victim-blaming the same way you blame a rape victim for wearing a short skirt. They were complicit, but the brainwashing would never have happened if people didn’t actively work to do the brainwashing. These are the people I hold responsible: the media and politicians who have worked to brainwash Americans for the last several decades.

  15. ks

    Heh. Ian you are touching on one of the cornerstones of modern American existence – eternal American innocence. In this mindset, “you” or “we” are never to blame. “They” are.

    I call it the “it just happened..” syndrome. It goes something like this: “You know, I was a Reagan Democrat living in a nice cul de sac driving a SUV minding my business and just happened….”

  16. I’m not as judgmental about it as Ian (and I’m pretty judgmental), but most Americans are just too ignorant, too willfully stupid, too selfish (synonym for conservative) – this country is heading for its day of reckoning. Rioting was not ever the answer, because even peaceful demonstrations against Bush’s coup d’etat were vilified. Even most so called liberals are too ignorant, unprincipled and stupid (witness the election of Barrack Hoover Obama ben Lieberman) America could in theory save itself, regain its moral authority and its prosperity. But we won’t. And for the world, it is probably better not to have the biggest bully on the block being so shortsighted and just plain stupid. The only thing that will knock the blind faith in bastardized free-markets and in American exceptionalism ideology out of its pre-eminence in the American way of thinking is a nasty dose of reality. We are 4 years into that reality check and the Occupy movement represents the first few cracks in the wall. If this is where we are after four years of depression, I think it will be decades before the general population ever reexamines its values and choices.
    And frankly, I think Ian’s advice to get out is still pretty worthless. Europe is going down the crapper faster than us. Russia and China are scary as shit. Japan is fucked (you couldn’t pay me to set foot in that place, or Korea for that matter). Latin America is our future, and not in a good way. Australia and Canada could also turn on a dime. They are cursed with natural resources that will make them sitting ducks for aggression (but more likely they will suffer internal corruption). That leaves the middle east and Africa, and maybe a few little island nations here and there. So you go to all that trouble to emigrate and it’s still just a crap shoot how things will go in a new country, and how well or shitty they will treat foreigners if things go bad. Pass.

  17. “They”?

    Does that mean you?

    And guilty of what?

    War crimes?

    So, what are you saying, Ian?

    Nuke ’em all?

    Hang every 10th as an example?

  18. alyosha

    I agree with this. It’s immaterial how ignorant the average American is or was, who drank the Kool-Aid and went along with all of it. Doesn’t matter – they’re responsible, perhaps not as much as those who cooked up and served the Kool-Aid, but they certainly aren’t innocent.

    Life has a way of finding our weaknesses, in order to teach us about them, and this is going to be a huge lesson for the masses in this country, if they choose to get it.

  19. SilentHill

    @Gaius First of all, you need to back the fuck up and stop putting words in Ian’s mouth. You’re an utter tool to think that Ian wants to nuke anyone or hang every 10th as an example, you little cretin.

    And yes, douchebags like you, Gaius, Mr. Lesser of Two Evils, are responsible, and I hold you as such. I’ve seen how idiotic people like you are. You engage in silly emotional arguments with no critical thinking skills to back it up. Take for example your post right here. It’s nothing more than a silly emotional argument filled with logical fallacies. Well guess what motherfucker? The freight train is gonna smash through putzes like you, and then you can make your pathetic little emotional arguments and your illogical lesser of two evils bullshit when you’re being marched into indefinite detention and all your livelihood is taken from you forever.

  20. I should clarify my “rioting was never the answer” statement. The peaceful demonstrators were portrayed in the media (and readily accepted as such by he masses) as undemocratic troublemakers. Rioting would have gained even less sympathy or support. When Americans are doing well, or doing well enough, they are absolutely hostile to anyone who wants to change the system (of course the pluto/kleptocrats changed things radically, but they portrayed their campaign of radical deregulation as more of what made America great in the first place, which was the opposite of the truth). Not all Americans deserve what’s coming. But the vast majority do. The fact that they were misinformed by propaganda notwithstanding. If a people can be so easily manipulated, such a people should not be “the policeman for the world”. Such a nation should not be entrusted with the wealth of the world via its status as the reserve currency, and preeminent financial centers. The harm done in the name of such dupes is just as harmful as if it was consciously done with evil intent. Nobody is talking about enslaving or otherwise punishing Americans for such sins. The horror that awaits Americans is simply living in the same world and under the same rules it has created for its global neighbors.

  21. Formerly T-Bear

    The book, Fahrenheit 451, read it, shows an example of what to do to prepare. Bad education; read extensively, get interested. Bad historical recall; read biographies, read historic writers, even read historical novels to introduce yourselves to people, their times, their problems and how they coped. Bad reading skills, practice, practice, practice – turn off the TV/radio/game box. Comprehension and analysis skills dull; select challenging books, understand what the author is about, look for things the author missed or failed to address or overlooked as an answer – the oriental calligraphic rendition of a tree requires seven branches to be considered representative in a drawing, avoid those who present only dichotomies, their either/or does not usually represent the full range of choice actually available, learn to anticipate alternative choices not given, many times the best choices are those not given. Not enough time; make time, learn to control your life, become master of yourself, it is what becoming adult is all about. When you do become adult, then you can make choices; until then, you remain nothing greater than adolescent at best. This choice is yours, yours alone. Don’t be blaming others for your failure of responsibilities, you only cheat yourself.

  22. Jack Crow

    Fascinating comments.

    I guess it is uniformly professorial and middle class managerial to blame the victims of the wealthy for the actions of the wealthy. I mean, because many people are rational enough to realize that voting between pre-selected oligarchs is a lose-lose, or have the pressures of ordinary every day struggles to distract them from the coded language and insider trading of electoralism, its “American’s” fault that those oligarchs have had a gamed system since Madison wrote it out that way.

    Every single damned “advance” or improvement in actual material conditions came at the business end of the threat of violence, revolution, strike and resistance. The legislative “victories” which followed, accompanied as they were by ruling class use of the state to re-capture lost ground, might mystify and entertain the middlings raised to coo at electoral baubles, but they aren’t what provoked or forced actual damned change.

    But, it is sort of comforting to know that the same old same olds produced by the academic universe, and their ilk, still believe that you fault the losers for the depredations of the winners.

    You deserve your future. You really do. Welcome to the proletariat, ass hats. Now, get in queue.

  23. Phoenician in a time of Romans

    Do you think the UK and the Commonwealth are in the same fix?

    The Commonwealth is not a nation. It is merely a “club” of nations that share a common heritage and has no sovereignty. You may be assuming that the de jure fiction of a German housewife as a common head of state actually means anything; if Elizabeth Windsor actually tried exercising that power over a Commonwealth nation, they’d be a de jure republic in hours.

    The American people are responsible for the American republic, just as the Brits are responsible for the UK, and the Aussies for Australia. To talk about “apathy” or “brainwashing” is to offer an excuse, not a reason – I can state that some of my excess weight is due to genetics, but I also know for a fact that much of it is due to “apathy” or “lack of willpower” – which is to say, my responsibility.

  24. Morocco Bama

    Well, I think it’s past the point of voting our way out of this, so voting at this point is irrelevant. An effective Democracy requires a critically thoughtful and informed populace, otherwise, the manipulative ones can easily pull the wool over the eyes of the unwitting in order to get them to agree to measures that are against their interests. That’s been happening across the board for some time now. I’m not sure if the U.S. has ever had a critically thoughtful and informed populace, on the whole, and if you think about it, the Fabled Founders, despite their rhetoric, created an adroit mechanism that guarded against popular will and rule. Yes, they built in some semblance of representation with the House of Representatives, but when you view the power of the Senate to turn down House votes, and the veto power of the executive, combined with the fact that you had to be a land-owner once upon a time to vote, it’s pretty clear they set it up as an Oligarchy with a democratic facade.

  25. ks

    Well, the bottom line is that it’s not going to matter who is more to blame. The bill for our actions and lifestyle is coming due. Saying that you were clever enough to avoid being part of the system or that you were too distracted by the pressures of day to day living is not going to matter. Btw, that latter point is going to go over really well in a country where, even now, millions of people still line up around the block to buy the latest igadget.

    When the bill comes due, where you are 1% responsible or 99% responsible is not going to matter a whit. The bill will be paid.

  26. Silent Hill.

    Get back on your meds, man, before they come for you.

  27. I admit I share Ian’s dyspeptic views. At the same time, I see where Jack is coming from and agree with some of what he’s saying.

    So if I may enter the fray: I don’t fault people who are too consumed with just trying to scrape by, people who are victimized by a system intent on screwing them, people who, through no fault of their own, don’t have the means to pull themselves out of whatever swamp they were born into.

    I do, however, blame the privileged, the so-called educated (hyper-educated, frankly), the gifted, the blessed, the ones who’ve had every break in the book and then some, the apathetic, the willfully ignorant. Yes, I do blame them.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to talk seriously about serious subjects with people who just can’t be bothered. Who are okay with any injustice that comes down the pike as long as it doesn’t happen to them.

    There are, for example, god-knows-how-many ostensibly liberal people and liberal blogs where the letters NDAA have never been uttered. This country isn’t crawling, it’s sprinting, towards fascism, and these supposedly educated, supposedly aware citizens, don’t want to talk about it. These people come from all professions of the chattering classes — they can’t be bothered.

    The first step towards trying to right an injustice is acknowledging it. Acknowledging that it even exists. If you’re not willing to do that, well, then, sorry, but my reserves of sympathy are running low. It’s one thing to be genuinely ignorant; another to be willfully so.

    It has nothing to do with level of education, brainwashing, etc. I’m sure I’ve mentioned him before but will do so again: my grew-up-in-poverty-sometimes-starving-often-bombed-in-WWII immigrant father had the equivalent of an 8th grade education. If he were still around, he’d be screaming bloody murder at what’s happening in this country. Yet millions of people, far more educated and privileged than he ever was, refuse to acknowledge what’s going on.

  28. edwin

    Are you people arguing America was never a democracy?

    I think I might. I think that the soviet union had voting. Voting is not the same as democracy – it is neither necessary nor sufficient. Choice is also not sufficient. There is something fundamentally wrong when your choices are Tweedledum and Tweedledee. For those who think that the US was once a democracy – what has changed and when did this change occur?

    I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about what makes a democracy, and I think that being able to “vote” no in some way or another is what makes a democracy – the ability to vote for change – something different. A system where there is proportional representation allows the formation of new political parties with some reasonable expectation that new ideas are allowed to enter into the halls of power and challenge existing ideas. To form a new political party is to vote no in a round-about sense. In the US, with the 2 party system it is possible (and it has occurred) for a new political party to emerge, and make reasonable inroads into the halls of power, but it seems to me to be rather extraordinary circumstances that allow this to happen. In general the status quo is represented between two points (two political parties) and no other views are allowed into the halls of power. The voter is not allowed to say – a pox on both your houses – unless they withdraw from the system.

    In this sense, the US is not a democracy, and I suspect has never been one though it has some very strong democratic elements within its political system – in particular its (former) commitment to freedom of speech.

    The apathy of the voters is quite understandable and I would be much more hesitant to blame people for their failure to vote for the “correct” thug.

    When I start hearing things like human rights were better under Bush because there was an opposition to human rights violations unlike now, or that the best choice is to vote Republican because that way the US will crash and burn sooner and cause less pain to other people in the world I understand the futility of blaming the people of the US for not making the correct choices when the two choices are pre-defined and both wrong.

    Look at the amazing hostility that third party candidates experience. Intuitively, it is understood that their party candidates help the opposite side. A left wing third party helps the Republican party. The system is gamed against new ides – to the extent that new ideas are actually punished.

    I don’t think that this is new to the US, but is a central feature of first past the post, and in particular US style first past the post – from the beginning. Being from the colonies, I am not up on everything to do with the history of the US system so I am open to correction.

  29. astra600

    A 20 year veteran of world-wide service in the US Armed Forces Intelligence field, I believe my father knew exactly who the poisoners of society were, and the nature of our country’s crimes. The burden kept him retired and quiet, because he knew a rebellious split from dreamy Reagan America would pass hardship immediately upon my generation. Like many middle-classers, there was no fortune in our family, and what we had would only support a rural homestead. Yet, a slide show of Vietnam was all it took to show me the travesty of war. Exposure to literature and travel freshened my awareness. Lessons to avoid pitfalls like gambling were demonstrated. Regrettably, I don’t think such epistemic talks were a common thing in those carefree years. Why else would there be pro-war rallies? People preferred that the American quilt could be folded so just the nice stitching would show. Knowing that only a few regents control the pattern makes me want to reach for the scissors. I’m the one spreading the tough talk now, my father passing on just a few years after my college graduation. Maybe sewing things up will be all my time was good for.

  30. groo

    Dear Ian, I basically underscribe all what you write.

    But here are some caveats:
    a) cognitive dissonance.
    A recent article on that can be found at …

    Watch out for that citation of Festinger:

    …Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart…suppose that he is then presented with unequivocal and undeniable evidence that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervour about convincing and converting people. (Festinger et al., 1956, p. 3)

    It seems useful to me to take a close look at human follys like that AND HOW THEY CAN BE EXPLOITED, whenever thay are recognized by some rascals.

    This is an extremely sensible question to me:
    What about thoses rascals who seem to spoil the party all the time. Not that I am a partying person. I avoid them, because I expect thoses rascals there.

    b) A -ahem- natural tendency of a large proportion of society seems to be:
    to align with authority in hierarchical societies.
    Well. Ahem. Noticed. Not invented here.

    c) these human follys, so to say, –and lots of others– can be exploited by a minority which recognizes that and exploits those to their advantage.

    Call it exploitation of information asymmetry or outright fraud.

    So who is responsible?
    The fools or the foolers?
    This is a constant topic of recent debate, e.g. in the housing bubble/scam.

    …Take some goddamn responsibility. …

    Well. Ahem. who exactly?
    We are ALL guilty?


    US-Americans -sorry to generalize – are definitely the premier scammers&scammed in this world, closely followed by the London-City scammers and quite some others.

    For the rest of us:
    You did not pay attention. You have been defrauded and rightly deserve so.
    So the saying goes.

    But I would not go so far as to condemn ALL Americans to be guilty.
    Those poor chaps who rush into supermarkets on Black Friday.

    I pity them. What a poor bunch of demented and demoralized people.
    On into the Guiness book of records, or whatever.

    But are they ‘responsible’?

    I stop the unending story here, and say my agnostic ‘Amen’.

    It is the profit-motive, sanctioned greed, desperation, whealth illusion, relative status and whathaveyou.

    Those are very primitive emotions.
    Perfectly managed by the PTB, who elegantly defer the ‘responsibility’ to the animal spirits.
    Which they sublimate by going into the Opera to watch the very human folly they created in the first place.
    Tautology complete.

    Come on.
    Give me a break.

    To make the story short:
    Who is actually responsible for the devolvement of a theoretically/possibly decent society in to a demented one?
    WE all?

    I would not say so.

  31. Ghostwheel

    Pretty harsh, Ian.

    What do you think of the uncountable billions of dollars that have gone into play solely for the purposes of influencing public opinion, to making and keeping us ignorant?

    It goes all the way back to Edwards Bernays and his demonic masterpiece Propaganda … or maybe even further back … Creel Commission and WWI …. Further?

    Most people take in their beliefs and attitudes from the surrounding environment … which is managed by elite gatekeepers. Only a very few have the logical and critical thinking skills to keep hitting at issues until the truth is revealed. And this process occurs in the face of great winds blowing in the opposite direction.

    I guess the point is that it seems too simple to me to say that the masses are willfully ignorant. A tremendous amount of energy goes into misinforming them and creating memes that perpetuate false consciousness. There’s a reason the Murdochs and Kochs and Rockefellers spend all that money influencing public opinion.

    I want to get angry at all the couch potatoes out there, I really do, but they seem to be yet more victims. As far back as Plato you’ve got the idea that most people “imbibe” their morality from their surrounding culture and only a few “Guardians” have the mental power to know good in itself.

    My essay writing skills tell me to wrap it up with a big conclusion … except I really don’t have one on this point. There’s something unfinished in human mental evolution, as though we’re still at the point where we want to take in the sacred stories of a tribal culture, but instead get the noxious substitute of institutionalized religion and Fox News.

    No answers, sorry…. 🙁

  32. Celsius 233

    Responsibility; the ability to respond. Or; the opportunity or ability to act independently and take decisions without authorization:
    IMO responsibility is a little understood word especially as applied to that which is outside of our day to day activities (laundry, pay the bills, etc.).
    I liked Formerly T-Bears comment because it addresses the much bigger picture.
    And he/she is also speaking to the dynamic of critical thinking (self education); without which there can be no understanding of responsibility; ours or anybody’s.
    One can rail and blame, but in the end it is up to each and every one of us to self educate for our own protection and that of our families.
    Not to act is a failure of us all and not to do so leaves us vulnerable to the galoots.
    Stop blaming and get yourself to the nearest mirror…

  33. Celsius 233

    There are many kinds of victims; which one are you?

  34. Compound F

    I do hope you put together an essay on how it is remotely possible that this country or indeed europe does not come crashing down in the flames of 700 t in credit default swaps.

    It’s not that I reject optimism outright, but I’d really like to see the argument that this need not be the end of the age of growth, that the bad paper in the banks is really not all that bad, and how anyone could know that in the absence of mark-to-market accountancy.

  35. Scott479

    You end up here when the better part of a people live their entire lives by the mantra of “More than enough is a good place to start”.

  36. Bruce Wilder

    People act collectively thru and by institutions; people collectively “think” thru institutions. Some of the previous comments made references to the role of institutions — the media, schools, business corporations, elections, political parties — but I don’t get a sense that people understand what a profound failure of institutions, the present dire state of the U.S. and the world, really is. And, a profound failure to understand the importance of institutions, the architecture of institutions.

    I like Chris Hedges’ dark vision — he makes Ian look like a bloody optimist — partly because he has traced the failures of liberalism, in this thirty year slide toward oblivion, to the corruption and failure of liberal institutions. His Death of the Liberal Class identifies the corruption and failure of journalism, establishment religious institutions, labor unions, universities and the Democratic Party, as a mechanism.

    The synthetic libertarian v neoliberal ideology we’ve been fed to frame political discussions for 30 years is profoundly anti-institutional. Both sides deny that institutions matter, as they de-regulate and debate non-issues, like the size of government.

    That anarchists are leading OWS is telling, as well. These are people, who want to start with a clean slate, rationalizing the state all over again.

    I could generate a scintilla of optimism, if I thought anyone in this society could imagine progress.

  37. Jack Crow

    Anarchists rationalize the state, Bruce?

  38. I agree with Ian entirely. Too indifferent to vote, and when they do vote they vote only for tax cuts. The average voter believes that the purpose of a federal legislator is to provide federal pork barrel spending for the home state, turning us into a nation divided against itself. Governance has become 535 pigs rooting in the Washington trough.

    “Occupy Wall Street”? Pffft. Give me a break. A bunch of spoiled brats whining because they believe they have not received their fair share of the money.

  39. Bruce Wilder

    Yes, Jack Crow. You hadn’t noticed?

  40. cripes

    Who’s Responsible? And for what?
    I say Tony Blair takes the fall before I do.

    Ian’s shotgun targeting of the American people as responsible or “not responsible” (which is it?) for a catalog of international horrors already enumerated has emotional appeal, but doesn’t hold up so great under examination. It reminds me a lot, actually, of the Robert Rubin rational that since “everyone” is equally responsible for the ongoing economic plunder, then no one is responsible.

    No, no, some are way more responsible, and others have no power at all. How can there be responsibility without authority? Without resources, without power, without voice, without recourse? There are Little Eichmanns and big Eichmanns and serfs and the blind and the brutalized, but they’re not EQUALLY responsible. Some of them (Americans! ) in fact are the TARGETS of the rapacious supranational killer oligarchy.

    As far as exercising the vote franchise, or not, being somehow proof of the failure of Americans (read “Germans”) to be responsible, I think anyone who nurtured fond implanted memories of our “democracy” should now–after Reagan/Clinton/Bush/Obama–know what a fracking fairy tale their vote really is. Give em credit, they know it’s a wasted vote, because it is. It has all the impact of a fart in a storm.

    As distraught as I am over the incapacity of those who understand justice to resist the onslaught of the oligarchy, we must remember it is an onslaught waged on multiple levels:
    overwhelming military and police force, a captive and increasingly impoverished, propagandized populace, an internal gulag that reminds any who dare oppose the fate that awaits them, and that’s if mere homelessness, bankruptcy, unemployment and untreated medical needs aren’t persuasive enough. Some brave souls have tried, and many ordinary people have stepped forward, if only to stand against the invasion of Iraq or vote the First Negro into office. We know what they got for their efforts: kettling, spying, lying, stealing and now, basically, the slow unveiling of MAD MAX circa 2012.

    This traumatizing shock applies, in varying measures, to the populations of Europe, North America, much of Asia. South America and parts of Asia/Mideast/Africa are showing real signs of independence from the international cartel. So, Americans of whatever class are hardly the only ones to blame. John Doe’s all over the world have stood around passively while atrocities have been committed in their name and tax dollars.

    Am I mad as hell? Sure.
    As satisfying as it is (esp. for an outlander) to blame ugly, stupid “murricans” for everything it’s too simple and too easy.
    In fact, I could make a pretty good case blaming the f*cking Europeans for the whole deal, you know, creating the USA in the first place.

    Try again.

  41. Pat In Massachusetts

    This is so true. If Americans could just turn off their radios and TV’s for just one week, we might have a fighting chance.

    We me, I’ll be 60 next year and the last decade in America has left me numb.

    There is not much fight and argument left in a person when numbness sets in.

  42. Lex

    Look, you can’t trumpet your freedom and democracy and then claim that you’re not responsible for what it produces. Of course the game is rigged, and it really doesn’t matter who you vote for or even if you vote at this point. The fact remains that the theoretical and structural framework does exist for popular control; moreover, both our leaders and the average American do talk about democracy, yada, yada and yada.

    I never voted for Bush or any of the asshats who populated Congress when we decided to invade Iraq, and yet i am responsible for that travesty and indirectly responsible for all the senseless brutality and death that came of it. I’m responsible because it was done in my name, by the leaders of a supposedly free country that willingly elected those leaders and stood behind them.

    We the venal, the violent, the selfish beyond redemption and immature such that we refuse to take responsibility for our actions. That’s us, and we rightly deserve everything we’re getting and about to get.

  43. madisolation

    “All you stupid Americans are responsible. Now admit you’re wrong, take responsibility, and go out and fix it!”
    Suppose they do. Suppose they riot and fight. What then?
    Know who I’m blaming? I’m blaming those jackasses who are willing to put on riot gear and fight their fellow citizens. Those are the ones I can’t stand to look at. If they refused to stand between the people and the cowards in power, if they refused to fight innocents on foreign soil and push buttons to drop drones for the sake of their corporate and political masters, we would not be in the situation we are today.
    In my opinion, there is noew no difference between them and Hitler’s army and Hitler’s SS. They are more responsible than all of us regular citizens combined, because they are willing to snuff out any dissent.

  44. Formerly T-Bear

    Seumas Milne at The Guardian has collected some “historical” reporting and presented a compelling summary (from one of the worlds premier news agencies). See if you are able to find the historical inaccuracies, the propaganda, the disinformation from this presentation.

    Ask yourselves how much of this did you know beforehand, are aware of it on a day to day basis, or able to use information to judge whatever story you are being sold.

    This is only a fragment of a mirror most people have to see their world.

  45. Morocco Bama

    Some here, not all by any means, are engaging in Strawman tactics, wittingly, or unwittingly. Ian said that the “Americans” who are considered poor are not granted victim status in perpetuity and therefore get a pass for their part in this. He also emphasized that their degree of culpability is surely less than that of the Oligarchs and their Technical minions, but it doesn’t absolve them of all culpability. So, it’s not correct to replace what Ian has asserted with your own version of what you wanted him to say and then proceed to criticize that fabricated assertion, i.e. the Strawman you have erected.

    Some above said:

    As satisfying as it is (esp. for an outlander) to blame ugly, stupid “murricans” for everything it’s too simple and too easy.

    That’s a Strawman and not what Ian said, and therefore, everything that is said in that post that hinges on it, is invalid. I only say this, because it has happened to me on another thread, and it happens all too often and is allowed to slip by without calling it to account.

  46. Morocco Bama

    When you don’t cleanse and fortify the soil of its previous toxicity, you are bound to repeat the same patterns of behavior in perpetuity. Behold the seeds of that fix….they have fallen from the very same foliage that is apparently the source of the consternation.

  47. someofparts

    Not to any particular purpose, just out of affinity really, this conversation is making me remember Human Stain, a later Philip Roth novel. A black man passes as white and lives with his wife and children at a small college where he teaches. One day a student accuses him of making racist remarks and his life falls apart. I take the book as a sobering kind of meditation on identity and responsibility.

    When the right wing radio spends decades training my fellow citizens to think feminists are nazis and liberals are fascist, how do you think their listeners talk to progressives when they meet us? Being blamed for everything wrong whether it was our fault or not is the very air we breathe. Why, if it weren’t for cognitive dissonance, I’d hardly have a social life at all!

    So blame on. I’m going to keep trying to keep myself alive and have joy and do good when possible. Everybody holds people like me and my friends responsible for everything anyway, so what the fuck. I know folks are out there blaming and hating on me and my ilk. I’m gonna be in here, in my own strange little world, doing my best to stay human and humane and probably fucking up a lot as always but soldiering on. shhhhhh ….

    Also from another celebrated novelist on questions of responsibility – Bluest Eye, Tony Morrison. I’m glad somebody finally told that story, just seems funny I know of no others.

  48. ks


    +1 Well said.

    I mean, we are currently celebrating the supposed end of a monstrous war crime in Iraq. Patting ourselves on the back for a job well done and whatnot. Do you think the relatives of the hundreds of thousands dead and injured Iraqis really care who’s more to blame for their relatives deaths and injuries? After all, we didn’t sift blame like fine flour when it came to killing them. Not at all.

  49. alyosha

    A good analog would be Nazi Germany. Certainly Hitler and the architects and implementors of the Reich bear the bulk of the blame for what happened, but it wouldn’t have been possible if the average German had not given away their power and consent to these people, even though this often came about through coercion. And to varying degrees, all Germany suffered the consequences of this misplaced trust.

  50. ks

    I agree with your analogy to a point. I think you could make a reasonable claim the once the Nazis rose to power Germany became a captive society and it would be hard to leave out the end of WWI, particularly the punitive Treaty of Versailles, because it certainly had an effect on later events. But, to your point, when Russian tanks rolled into Berlin it didn’t matter which German was more culpable than the other.

    In our case, we seem to be willfully heading toward the abyss all on our own.

  51. groo

    alyosa, ks,
    as the ‘Teuton’ here, who sometimes throws his bits into this round, a comment:
    Marx- French-German war – Bismarck -Kaiser-Wilhelm -WWI -Versailles- Bavarian revolution – Weimar Republic- Hyperinflation – Dolchstosslegende-rise of Hitler- racial purification- WWII -Nurenberg Tribunal- Marshall-Plan -Montan-Union -Concept of Social Democracy- 1968- RAF -Wirtschaftswunder- Neoliberal takeover …

    What I want to say, is that in history everything is connected, and every sensible person hopefully knows that.
    Makes your head spin.
    On the outside are those stupid stereotypes: like the British ‘cultivate’ the germans mainly being all Nazis.
    See Fawlty Towers in the more humorous variant, or prince Who?, who impressed his upper-class fellows on a party with a Nazi-uniform.
    This is a simple mechanism of selfdefence, the British used for a long time, dating back to at least the East India company.
    Every Empire has its semantics of lies.
    Nothing new to see here.

    It is difficult to generalize.
    Somehow hopefully we are Bayesians here.
    At least valuing probability.

    Sofar so good.
    But valuation of probability, if it is of any use, should bring us to the HOT SPOTS in history.

    I do not claim to know them, but I try.

    1) a broad brush a’la “we all are -evenly- responsible”, even the couch-potatoes IS NOT HELPFUL.
    Sure. The American couch potatoes are a laughing matter for the rest of the world.
    But to include them into the causality of affairs seems to be a bit overstretched to me.
    Re Assigning responsibility, I would assign 99% responsibility to certain groups, who are quite small.

    Everything else is misappropriation of Bayesian Rule, and sort of misinterpretation of social dynamics.

  52. ks


    Thanks and I see your point but as MB said, who said “we all are -evenly- responsible”? I haven’t and Ian hasn’t either. I think Ian has parsed things quite fairly and my further point is that in the end it’s not going to matter who is more or less responsible.

    Sure, if we don’t manage to take down the whole ball of wax with us, for future historians writing about the fall of the American Empire it’s going to be an interesting academic question but, for the folks living when it happens? Not so much.

  53. groo

    Another question, which maybe somebody here can answer:
    How is it, that the British are 70% atheistic, their US-brethren 80% religious?

    Where is the protestant Ethic of good old Max Weber in that?

    On the other hand there seems to be a subtribe of wallstreeters and London-innercitiers, who are -well, sorry- the scum of this universe, and solely believe in ‘money’.
    I.e. the ultimate abstraction, which for materialist Anglosaxian belief is quite a feat, I would suppose.

    How does that fit together?

    I very much would know what goes on here?

    Is it, that they do not care, whatever belief is there in the lower social strata, upon which they thrive?
    Because they are the 0.x% anyhow?

    So why care about the scum, because there is the buffer of the 10%, which shields them from any harm from the lower classes.
    This buffer is all to be cared for.
    If it reduces to 5%: Who cares? All the better. Lower costs.

    Or what?

  54. groo

    what I have been pondering for maybe 30 years -of MY life- now:

    Historical reponsibility.

    Who exactly is responsible?
    For what reason?

    Is there intergenerational responsibility?
    What about ME?

    Teutons are very sensible on that one, because they are accused on that for three generations at least.

    So my humble question is:

    What do you guess?
    1-2 generations -european reorganization of borders and populations?
    3 generations?
    8 g.? — American-Indian holocaust
    100 g.? Jewish expulsion?

    How far back in to the past shall responsibility go?
    Extremely difficult!

    How far into the future?
    This is e.g. a central German concern.
    We have places of rememberance, who point into the far future, and into the quite far past,
    probably more than the rest of the world combined. (the question of eternal guilt; a difficult one, you know. So do’nt bother us with trivialities.)

    Thank You for answering this one, and hopefully acknowledging, that this is on topic.

    One never knows.

  55. Formerly T-Bear

    @ groo

    Once someone said they were not alive when the war went down, how could they be responsible for what others did. They had a valid point.

    There is no one younger than 90 years young that could conceivably been responsible for what happened in the Spanish Civil War as well.

    How old would you have to be to have had a position of responsibility in the Irish Civil War.

    That is not to say living memories of these times is unknown to those that follow. It is for those to put those memories to rest with the bones of those who were responsible and bury for all time those ghosts so that those spirits never return.

  56. groo

    Interestingly enough it was CG Jung, who raised the question of the longterm effects/backlash of the holocaust on Indians onto the American soul.
    His thesis:
    In the long term the indian soul, which is the soul of the land, will finally take over.
    I -agnostically- pray that it is so.

    It is probably more compliated.
    It is a longterm-battle about the land and its spirit.
    The result, as Jung anticipated, is open to an epic battle, which could last 1000s of years, just like the Jewish battle about their land.

    So beware.
    But who am I to educate You On Your history?

  57. cripes

    My point put more simply is only this:

    There is more holding the ruling classes of Europe, Japan, Canada and the USA together than there is holding the deluded–or conscious–masses of the USA to their rulers. We continue to give national “interests” more weight than they actually have in a globalized world. The rulers know better.

    I repeat: Tony Blair is way more responsible for the horror in Iraq than I will ever be. And voting won’t cut it.

  58. Pepe

    you can’t trumpet your freedom and democracy

    Whoever trumpets America’s freedom and democracy has either been fully propagandized, or is lying out their ass. Just because you vote, doesn’t mean you live in a democracy, and just because people tell you that you’re free, doesn’t mean that you are.

  59. Vinquest

    There is more holding the ruling classes of Europe, Japan, Canada and the USA together than there is holding the deluded–or conscious–masses of the USA to their rulers.

    I’d say the unity of action by those ruling classes is more the result of the U.S. having waged a one-sided social war against its industrial allies for the last decade, than of some preexisting natural cohesion among their ruling elites.

  60. A general comment aimed at this thread from an American.

    Stop blaming the education system, stop talking about how abstractions are just too ignorant, lazy, corrupt or indifferent to do what you think they should be doing to set things right. Quit whining that seeing through the hologram makes you the object of scorn. That is horse shit.

    Get fit, get tough, get capable and get ready to endure.

  61. groo

    just saying.

    My inner warrior for a peacable kingdom is deeply embarrseed.

    Could there be something like a peacable warrior?

    Sometimes I am confused.

    Sometimes I only find something sensible in that:
    Only you can do something about it.
    There’s no-one there, my friend, any better.
    I might know what you mean when you say you fall apart.
    Aren’t we all the same? In and out of doubt.
    I can see angels standing around you.
    They shimmer like mirrors in Summer.
    But you don’t know it.
    And they will carry you o’er the walls.
    If you need us, just call.
    Rest your weary world in their hands.
    Lay your broken laugh at their feet.
    I can see angels around you.
    They shimmer like mirrors in Summer.
    There’s someone who’s loved you forever but you don’t know it.
    You might feel it and just not show it.
    (Kate Bush)

    Then I have to lay down my imaginary weapons on her beautiful feet, just to adore her visions.

    But at times they get bloody real.

  62. Celsius 233

    December 20, 2011

    I never voted for Bush or any of the asshats who populated Congress when we decided to invade Iraq, and yet i am responsible for that travesty and indirectly responsible for all the senseless brutality and death that came of it. I’m responsible because it was done in my name, by the leaders of a supposedly free country that willingly elected those leaders and stood behind them.
    We the venal, the violent, the selfish beyond redemption and immature such that we refuse to take responsibility for our actions. That’s us, and we rightly deserve everything we’re getting and about to get.


    Spot on; you articulate what I’ve been trying to say, only much better.

  63. Bernard

    this is what Southern White Americans wanted. plain and simple. living in the South, Government was always an enemy of the Whites, starting with the Civil War. and later, LBJ, & Democrats using Government to give Blacks “OUR” tax money.

    the successful fear of the Blacks worked/and still works so well in the South. Reagan and the Southern Strategy/ in Philadelphia MS is proof of the Lee Atwater propaganda White Southerners bought lock, stock and barrel.

    that’s just a Southern view. i saw how well it worked with poor whites told blacks were stealing their tax money. Don’t know how life was in other parts of America. White Male power vs the “others.” keeping us all in our place. works incredibly well.

    Blame belongs where it originates, with the willful ignorance chosen by the Whites who agreed to what they were being “sold.” Propaganda needs willing participants to really be effective.

    ownership of responsibility can’t be denied, but it will be derided. No one forced these Americans to drink the Kool Aid.
    we are just more “Good Germans” who speak English.

    excuses for not wanting to see what is going on around is something i gather Good Germans lived by until they were forced to see the results of Hitler’s “leadership.’ We are starting to see ours sooner rather than later.

    St. Reagan began the cornerstone destruction of the American dream. a Dream only for the Rich White Males. Saving White America became the Goal of the Republican party. the whole environment of the history of and beliefs of the poor white Southerners rests on the distrust of Government and the Fear of the Blacks who would dilute the purity of their race.

    Gosh, and now we have reaped the destruction of the appearances of Democracy. Society has been officially dismissed as non essential in America, not Profitable. The Few openly own the Many/Congress is the easiest example of that.

    as one cartoon said, The poor may inherit the Earth, But we, the Rich White Males/Corporate Businessmen/ will still own Congress.

    and it’s always the other Congressman who is “so” crooked. notice the re-election rates.

    the White Middle Class authorized this with their Republican Control of Government, starting with Reagan. They got what they voted for.

    Damn Hippies/OWS, causing trouble again, Call the police and put them away. we’ll show them Hippies what it means to be “American.”

  64. Bruce Wilder

    When I try to think of the moral responsibility borne by the mass of people, as opposed to elites, I tend to think of it as the responsibility of an audience not to make a popular success out of a bad play. The elite — the playwright, the director, the actors, the musicians in the orchestra, the stage manager, wardrobe, lighting, costumes, even the stagehands and professional critics — have to know their jobs and do it. The “success” or acceptance of a bad play, however, is not a mark of technical deficiency, so much as it is a mark of bad taste — and it is the audience’s bad taste, which is the judge and arbiter of whether the play goes on. The audience does not have to know how to write a good play, or how to act in one, to have a genuine and valuable response.

    There have been a lot of choice points along the downward path of the last 40 years or so, where it seems to me the American People could have acted on little more than good taste, or the simplest sort of moral intuitions, and taken the country on a different, better path. The choice of Reagan, or cheap gas over prudence, the abandonment of labor unions, the non-reaction to Bush v. Gore, the decision to invade Iraq on false pretexts.

    I’m not discounting that the audience sometimes needs some help from perceptive, professional critics, to find and appreciate the good stuff. And, in that, the evolution of American media has been particularly unfortunate.

    The perennial laziness and weakness of liberalism or progressivism or whatever you care to call “the left” in America, which provokes so much deserved contempt from Ian is one part, the complacency of the 75-99% and two parts the decline of social affiliation across the board. People do not join anything, anymore; they are not eager to belong to any organization. The evangelical churches are the exception that proves the trend; the loyalty and committment of evangelicals, for all the noise they make, is remarkably shallow in many ways — they fall away easily and often; it is only the churn that keeps their numbers up.

    Among the 1% — especially among the 1/2 of 1% — identification with the nation-state has faded away completely, I think. They increasingly feel part of a global elite. It is a dangerous illusion for us and them.

    But, the 99% simply do not feel they belong at all. For people, for whom economic and social stress, is pressing them in the direction of authoritarian attitudes and hostility, not just to the elite, but to the downtrodden, and to the community and the state — this is a remarkable condition. This shallowness of affiliation is a mirror of the shallowness of thought and understanding.

  65. caplin

    bruce wilder wrote:

    “When I try to think of the moral responsibility borne by the mass of people, as opposed to elites, I tend to think of it as the responsibility of an audience not to make a popular success out of a bad play.”

    yes, but,

    “no one ever went broke overestimating the bad taste of the american public”.

  66. Celsius 233

    Bruce Wilder PERMALINK
    December 20, 2011
    When I try to think of the moral responsibility borne by the mass of people, as opposed to elites, I tend to think of it as the responsibility of an audience not to make a popular success out of a bad play.


    I prefer calling a spade a spade; enough of similes, euphemisms, and obfuscation.
    I thought Lex’s comment cut right to the point/facts.
    The people of the U.S. have lost their minds/reason; lock, stock, and barrel.

  67. Celsius 233

    ^ Of course; this all follows Ian’s OP. Nobody likes being served shit; but if that’s what’s being served; refuse it, but don’t call it fertilizer; call it the shit it is…

  68. cripes

    There is plenty of blame to go around if we want to hold entire countries culpable for the aggressions of their rulers. Sarkozy and Cameron’s attack on Libya, the Brazilian’s rape of Haiti through MINUSTA and their genocidal cleansing of their own people in the favelas, the German economic stranglehold on Eastern and southern Europe. The collusion of them all in the assaults on Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. It goes on and on.

    And I don’t see their populations being much more successful at reining in the crimes of their respective 1%. England’s students set off some good fires last summer, but the working masses don’t exactly have Whitehall quaking in their boots, either.
    Hell, they elected another Tory. Why? Because Blair’s New Labor is shit just like Obama.

    If anything, the USA serves as grunts for the transnational exploiters, supplying the military muscle and doling out trillions to US and European banks at their behest on the backs of the US worker. Man, what a rape this is.

    The significance of this era is that the privilege of the US worker by foreign exploitation is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as they are pushed downward into the impoverished class. They are more exploited and disenfranchised than ever, even as a segment of them cling to illusions of racial/national superiority that, unfortunately, deludes some to identify their interests with their oppressive rulers.

    I sure hope the mass of people in Greece, England, Brazil the USA etc., develop a common perspective and practical capacity to wield their power internationally, as their rulers have been perfecting for decades.

    I just don’t see how claiming even the “poorest” americans are “responsible” accomplishes anything.

    But if it makes you fell better…

  69. Kurt

    It’s interesting to read the protests from some commenters, citing reasons why the American people (or some portion of them) aren’t responsible for the country’s situation. I disagree with them.

    Certainly most of us are taken advantage of by an oligarchy. Certainly most of us don’t have access to crucial decisionmaking forums, and many of the ones who do have access are corrupt. And most certainly, many among our population are poorly informed about the state of affairs. But it’s our responsibility to take charge of those things. We have to educate our neighbors. We have to monitor elections and recall bad politicians. When there is abuse of the financial and legal systems, we have to interrupt the processes that allow the oligarchy to continue benefiting from that abuse. If it means sacrificing our convenience, our well being, or even our lives to move our nation away from empire and fascism… it’s our responsibility to do so, because it is our nation.

  70. Congress at 9% popularity. Bullfeathers. We not only elected those criminals, the vast majority have been reelected by us many times, and most will be reelected in 2012. We know they are criminals, and we don’t care, because they make promises, principally of lower taxes, which cater to our greed.

  71. Everythings Jake

    If only you’d read Richard Bonin’s latest, you’d understand that it’s not our fault. The dirty brown man named Chalabi, a the nefarious criminal, masterminded an Iranian backed plot to deceiv our good moral, and upstanding innocent American selves. I know it’s a shock, divulged as it is from a member of the 60 Minutes stable, totally in contravention to their mission to deride the non-white, non-American bad people (courtesy of those later taped intercut shots of Mike Wallace scowling). Here’s Ian Masters (channeling Charlie Rose best “oh Tom Friedman, your mustache is so hot, please feed me your jizm”) with the “amazing story” – an absolution of the American soul (you weren’t responsible, you were duped by that dirty Satan-like Persian).

  72. Phoenician in a time of Romans

    I point out that there is one simple point which may start the ball rolling – insist that those who broke American law by torturing people be prosecuted, that those who ordered said torture be prosecuted, and elect people who state that they will so prosecute or press for that prosecution.

    It’s not “democracy” vs “dictatorship” – it’s accountability – any politician, whether President or tyrant, who knows they won’t be held accountable will be corrupted.

    But, of course, neither wing of the US political establishment will do that. It’s impolite. We’re at war. It’s not really torture. Let’s move on…

  73. Ghostwheel

    I should add, too, that I have college educated family members who get their news from the television. I’ve tried to get them to read alternative news, I’ve pointed out that the TV news is full of lies and misrepresentation and skewed facts….

    And yet, they sit there utterly mesmerized. As the character of Howard Beale says in the movie Network (1976), “This tube is the most awesome force in the whole godless world.”

    There is more than uninformativeness going on. More than willful ignorance. There seems to be a kind of mass hypnosis that’s just dang near impossible to deprogram people from.

    That movie was unbelievably prophetic on so many fronts….

  74. jcapan

    Way late to the dance. From the last thread:

    “Yes yes. Believe what you need to believe to sleep at night.”

    The same could be said of you, Ian.

    “The pathetic attempts of Americans to pretend they’re good people”

    It seems a great comfort to you, the thought that 300 million people are beneath your concern, despite the years you worked on their behalf. Was that your conviction then, that we were all a bunch of selfish bastards, complicit in the state’s worst excesses, or only after you left? You know, frustrated that we didn’t take to your north-of-the-boundary gospel? After all, we all know your favorite refrain–nobody ever listens to poor Ian, who has to constantly remind his readers of how often he’s been right about everything? You know, the condescending, humorless, douche shtick you do so well (it must be all those years spent in the US).

    And I said I wasn’t going to go out like Mo-Obama either. Cheers all.

  75. someofparts

    jcapan, looks like you and Ian are in opposite situations. He should be listened to and isn’t, whereas no one should waste time listening to you, and yet here you are spouting away.

  76. Jay

    Ian I rarely strongly disagree with you but you are way off here. Riot in 2000? On Al Gore’s behalf? Why? So he could’ve done 93% of the same crap? Yeah, Gore would have been a huge improvement, just like Obama has been right? Next you’re going to tell me John Kerry would have saved us.

    We have a democracy in name only. The last president who tried to avoid war got a CIA bullet in the head. Democracy…… pfffffffffffffffffft.

  77. Oh, no, not the “CIA killed Kennedy” argument again. Spare me.

    Too long a thread, too many good as well as missing-the-point comments to respond to. A few thoughts:

    Thank you, Lex; hammer to many nail heads.

    Thank you, MB, for pointing out straw men, in abundance here.

    As for Bill H:

    “Occupy Wall Street”? Pffft. Give me a break. A bunch of spoiled brats whining because they believe they have not received their fair share of the money.

    What a crock of shit. The Occupy movement is the most — is the only — optimistic thing out there.

    I’m 54, I have more than my fair share of money, not because I was born into it — far from it — but because in addition to my own work and frugality I was also lucky enough to be a part of an abnormally prosperous time in history in a particular country in particular surroundings that offered me particular opportunities. I’m not whining. I’m putting my ass on the line. I’m fighting for a future without indefinite detention, permanent state of war, foreclosure, unemployment, environmental disaster, lack of health care. I lost a fucking job over my involvement in the Occupy movement — I believe that’s called putting your money where your mouth is.

    When the economy collapses, at least I’ll have a roof over my head, since I paid off this mortgage long ago — as long as our overlords don’t also throw Manifest House Destiny into the indefinite detention mix. When friends and colleagues — hyper-educated, privileged, heads-willfully-stuck-in-the-sand, “liberal” friends — end up living under a bridge because the entire social safety net is shredded and all their money in banks and retirement accounts isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, will I have to invite them to live with me? Or maybe you can, since they haven’t been involved in the Occupy movement and therefore aren’t the “whining spoiled brats” you decry.

    Re a much earlier comment of groo’s: yes, unfortunately, as research, not only this article, has shown, Facts Don’t Matter:

    Good luck getting people to acknowledge the ugly truths right in front of their faces. If any of you succeed, you are, as the saying goes, a better man than I.

  78. dk

    I’m holding Ian responsible.
    Jesus, what an incredibly egotistical, holier-than-thou piece of writing/shit this is.

  79. cripes


    You’re right. This reeks of smug, pompous self-regard.

    And delusional in his insistence that elections will fix anything. This is a republic (not democracy) in name only.

  80. Ian didn’t say that elections will fix everything, or, indeed, anything. Where are people getting this??

    If you’re talking about Bush/Gore, I thought he meant simply that we had not a democratic transfer of power in this country but a judicial coup. And millions of people were just fine with it.

  81. ks


    Exactly right. Ian’s meaning was plainly obvious. I mean damn, he wrote in “See Jane Run” fashion. I don’t know how he could have been more straightforward. Some people are just pretending not to get it or are taking offense to avoid dealing with it directly.

  82. Jack Crow

    Mr. Welsh argues that “Americans” elected Bush, as a sign of their culpability in the conduct of the people who own the majority of the wealth, control the state, run the schools and produce the culture. He continues to argue, in comments, implying that America used to be a democracy.

    The emphasis is clearly on electoralism, and there is a very clear indication that he not only believes in the myths of a golden age of “Democracy,” but that this is the basis of his assertion of collective guilt and generational sin:

    “It was a democracy. There were ways to stop it from getting to this. In a democracy, the PEOPLE are held responsible.”

    [FWIW, these are the similar to words written by Bin Laden, in his “Letter to America,” when he also argues that Americans get what they deserve because they are a “democracy.”]

    But Mr. Welsh’s assertion of collective guilt and generational sin elides a simpler truth: “America” was never a democracy. Madison never wanted one. Madison made sure that the Constitution forestalled its emergence. Even the closest thing to a democrat among the “Founders” and “Framers,” the serial rapist Tom Jefferson, only wanted his overlapping spheres of democratic federalism for good white folks of Teutonic stock.

    As for the only other actual democrat of note, among the original rebels – well, he was a persona non grata from before even the insurrection was ended: good ole Thomas Paine, who pre-Georged Henry George and who was so despised by the majority of the clearly oligarchical and elitist framers of the mercantile young Republic, that they were willing to let him die in England, and later in France…

  83. Morocco Bama

    I never realized so many people were so proud to be an American….especially people reading and responding to this blog. I mean, there are quite a few who are taking this way too personally, so therefore they must identify themselves as Americans, and thus take Ian’s criticism to mean them, even though they don’t fit the profile that is the recipient of Ian’s criticism.

    It harkens back to what I mentioned on the other thread about what one considers oneself. If you’re an ethical person of principle first, then you are not an American…in the sense of what that term has come to mean. That’s why I said I am not an American on the other thread when I swapped out American for Atheist. I’m happy Ian took that and ran with it and I met the challenge of my words. I’m not the “American” Ian describes, so therefore I don’t take it personally.

  84. Jack Crow

    A swing and a miss, MB. But the passive aggressiveness is cute.

  85. cripes

    Sure he did:

    “In a democracy, the PEOPLE are held responsible. Yes, there were forces working to stop it from being a democracy, but they voted for people like Reagan and the members of Congress, and so on. Whether you think the 2000 or 2004 elections were stolen (yes on the first, maybe on the second) they let it get to the point where it could be stolen. They didn’t riot in 2000. They reelected George Bush after everyone knew he was torturing scum.”

    As far as “they” electing Reagan or Bush, or Obama for that matter, we’re talking 20% of the population. The rest have figured out their votes are worse than useless, and the remainder will be methodically vote-caged, barred from voter rolls and Diebolded if they don’t follow the duopoly

    And exactly what has Ian done to stop the fascist Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper?

    He typed. Glass house, maybe?
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor-General David Johnston paid warm tribute to the military today for its work in the Libyan campaign.

    Mr. Johnston thanked the troops for their efforts.

    “On behalf of all Canadians, I thank you for your service in this mission,” he said. “Together, you embody our commitment to international law, to the rights and freedoms we cherish in a democratic society, and to the personal values of duty, honour, and service.”

  86. alyosha

    …there are quite a few who are taking this way too personally, so therefore they must identify themselves as Americans, and thus take Ian’s criticism to mean them, even though they don’t fit the profile that is the recipient of Ian’s criticism.

    I like to think that I’m not quite as ignorant as many of my countrymen, but I defnitely am an American, regardless of the mental gymnastics/semantic games you’re showing us.

    I knew, before the Iraq war started, that it was based on lies, unlike the overwhelming majority of my neighbors. Sure, I voted against Bush/Cheney – something most of the world had no choice about, and it certainly taught me the rare privilege of the franchise in this country- you get to have some miniscule say in what goes on in the world, versus no say at all for the rest of its inhabitants.

    But that’s where it stopped. I thought quite a bit about war resistance – about not paying taxes. Voting is all well and nice, but it gets serious in a hurry when you decide not to fund America, Inc. Didn’t do it. Just played along. Didn’t want to be inconvenienced – have a life to run, after all.

    And so, despite my ability to see a bit further than most of my countrymen, and maybe I used this ability to sound a few alarms (and get ridiculed or worse), in the end the machine kept on rolling over this country, and I helped pay for it. I may not be as responsible as those who waved the flag and lusted after Islamic blood, but I helped write the checks.

  87. cripes

    Oh, honestly, and Ian writes checks to Stephan Harper to bomb Libya. I think the organized electorate in Wisconsin and Ohio and occupiers in hundreds of US cities are doing more than Ian is on this score.

    Liberated any foreclosed homes lately, or laid down in front of truncheon wielding police, Ian? Refused to pay your federal taxes? Didn’t think so.

  88. Ian Welsh

    Remarkable. Yes, Canada has done some bad things. Canadians must be help partially responsible for that. This is a democracy, after all. I accept that I have some responsibility for bad things Canada does. The Canadian people, as a group, are very responsible for whatever bad things Canada does.

    This comment thread is a real encapsulation of why the US is going down. Oh no, many of you are in no way responsible, and neither are any other Americans you identify with. The remarkable inability to take responsibility is exactly what I have come to expect from the majority of Americans.

    Again, the moment you take responsibility, you can fix things. Till then, you can’t.

  89. I’m an “American,” and I am as responsible for the current state-of-affairs as anyone.

    “Responsibility” means different things to different mind-sets. If one is in denial, they are by definition unable to perceive any personal responsibility for the consequences of denial. Only outside observers not in denial – at least not on the same subject – are free to debate about the responsibility of the denier. It is my sense, however, that it would not be much of a debate. It is pretty easy to see that denial is a robust, albeit passive-aggressive, defense of the status quo.

    The “American way of life,” which was famously declared non-negotiable by Dick Cheney, has been subsidized by an overtly aggressive policy of exploitation. A disproportionate amount of resources have been retained by, and funneled into, the United States. This was (is) our status quo, and our active denial can be measured by all of the moments of history in the last century-and-a-half when cracks appeared in our Exceptionalist narrative, cracks which revealed the utter brutality* that underwrites the dreamlike standard of living that saw its apex in the sixties for the general population, in the nineties for a steadily refining class of martinets (I characterize myself, as a reasonably well-paid IT professional at the time, as being of this class – as opposed to the stagnant-wage majority), and finally here in the twenty-first century for a class of elites that have become sufficiently self-enabling for the rest of us to comfortably denounce them as ultimately responsible.

    (A neat and convenient deflection in the end-game to our orgy of selfishness.)

    My particular responsibility? I hope that an anecdote – a confession – will illuminate.

    I “woke up” seven years ago last month. The consequences of that awareness has impoverished me.

    Now, “waking up” does not excuse the 40 preceding years of adulthood in which I was quite aware of, and often decried (more stridently in my youth, of course) the hints of brutality that underwrote the relative prosperity that I experienced as an “American.” What was peculiar about my particular enlightenment was that choice was taken away from me. We all need to look at ourselves in the mirror, and once stripped of our toolkit of lies, then cursory glances no longer satisfy. My current materially sorry state is more than compensated, admittedly, by an enhanced sense of esteem, however undeserved.

    (As an aside: So I do not regret this, but I am keenly aware of what an abyss the truth is to those who are still clinging to their toolkits. While I’m aware of the denial, and the consequences of the denial, I am reluctant to reveal – even if I were able – the cruelty of the truth to others before it ripens within them. It’s hard enough when you are ready for it.)

    Back to me – I have a clear memory of my prior state of mind, in which I marshaled mighty reason to explain my privilege in the most benign manner possible. And, bearing in mind that I spent the majority of my useful life in participation with “catapulting the hologram” – to mangle a Bush quote (can a Bush quote actually be mangled?) – I am loathe to judge the people around me for not being awake. As if I “woke up” in time.

    However horrific the consequences of the Dream, the Dreamer, while clearly responsible, is perhaps not as clearly deserving of my contempt.


    *One can start with Twain’s ruminations, in his autobiography, over the infamous slaughter of Filipinos in his time, a particularly venal act of Empire ambition. There have been many such hints, and the American people, for the most part, chose to accept whatever narrative best mollified their doubts about their own “good” nature and intentions. Sure, the left in principle reject “America First!” exceptionalism, but their own response-in-denial is basically what neo-liberalism is today, that we need merely to export and educate the rest of the world to get up to “American Dream” speed, that a rising tide lifts all boats, blah blah.

    I would be inclined to excuse those who are truly deluded with the philosophical fantasy of “infinite abundance” – but for those hints of brutality that were always knocking at our door, and that we passive-aggressively refused to acknowledge.

  90. Vinquest

    I always had the impression that the Liberal party leadership race was being actively rigged to install the Washington’s spooks’ BFF Michael Ignatieff. When it became obvious after the first go-around that there was simply no way to make it look like Ignatieff had actually won over the Liberal party membership fair and square, the leadership process what simply dispensed with and Ignatieff installed by fiat.

    I can’t prove Washington’s involvement of course , but given its track record and the oddness of the circumstances I’m not inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt.

    At that point the options available to the public were an upset by the heretofore-considered-unelectable NDP, the neocon-from-the-zygote-stage Harper, and the neocon ball-washer Ignatieff. The Canadian public did the unthinkable by pushing the NDP into the major leagues and probably would have elected them had the “orange crush” happened a week sooner, but given the terrifying power of U.S. and the media brainwash I can hardly imagine the public doing much more than they did.

  91. Jack Crow

    And really, are we being lectured by Canadians? Canadians? Get back to us when you at least have the decency to get a monarch off your fucking currency.

  92. groo

    Interesting thread, as always.

    May I bring your attention to this:
    Norman Finkelstein with Chris Hedges at Lannan Foundations
    link to the video of the event at:

    Here Finkelstein is at his best.
    In the middle of his speech he develops some powerful principles for starting a movement, and avoiding devolvement into a cult.
    Completely applicable to OWS.

    Watch it!

    I myself too often find myself fighting the 1% and not paying attention to the disgruntled majority, or even shunning them, for what idiots they are.

    Accusing and condemning the 9x% is the the sure road to irrelevance.

    Actually, as others have noted here, the disapproval-rate of senate/congress is approaching 90%.

    So people are quite aware of dysfunctionalities and the inner workings of Brainwashington, so to say.

    To caricaturize people as consumerist idiots, as some Black-Friday-videos suggest (embarrassing, to be sure), misses the point.

    The point is, as Finkelstein quite convincingly argues, is, that the Public Intellectuals direct the forces into the ‘right’ direction, and not split them up into cults.

    First step: PIs have to be aware of that, cut back their ego’s and concentrate on the possible.

    OWS did not make a major mistake up to now.
    Maybe the wintertime gives some pause for thinking for the PIs, how to proceed.

  93. And exactly what has Ian done to stop the fascist Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper?/blockquote>

    good point. Also, so far as I am aware, Ian has not gone to any of the Canadian Occupations, not even to report.

    not dodging my responsibility for my country’s actions, but sheesh, at least I went down to Freedom Plaza to help with the occupation, not much, but at least a little.

  94. ks

    My goodness. I’m guess I’m not surprised that the “personal is political” philosophy has been taken to such a vain extreme where you can opt out or in of any and every thing and all the matters are your personal choices. Nice, neat little self encapsulated bubbles. That’s fitting for our time.

    I’m an American. I accept that identity. I don’t need any qualifications to try and downplay that identity.

    The bombs that fall on the heads of the mostly innocents in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere say “Made in America”. They don’t say “Made in America excluding those who didn’t vote for Bush”.

    Internally, there’s “Nothing the Matter with Kansas”. Let’s stop kidding ourselves that people didn’t/don’t know what’s going on. Yes, they are being bamboozled but, they have a fair idea of it though they probably can’t explain it in elegant prose. The ugly truth is that most of them don’t care so long as they get a piece of the action. How much of the current drama would simply dissapper if we jumped in a time machine and went back to the Clinton ear economic mirage? Pretty much all of it. You’d be left with us diehards shouting against injustice as usual.

    So overall, “We” are not responsible for our internal politics nor are “We” responsible for our external actions. Apparently, “We” are just little self encapsulated bubbles being tossed about by the wind.

  95. someofparts

    Well, re-reading Ian’s post, I take the main point to be that our responsibility is moot anyway. The odds of saving this place are too remote any longer. Now the priority is keeping other nations from being pulled down by us.

    I’m not comfortable setting myself apart from the shortcomings of my countrymen. I’m no better or worse than anyone else. Thinking in those terms never helped me much.

  96. cripes


    “The Canadian people, as a group, are very responsible for whatever bad things Canada does.”
    (And Americans, “especially poorer americans”, are not. )

    Really? How so? By electing neo-con war-monger privatizer Harper? Puhleeeze.

  97. Morocco Bama

    I’m not comfortable setting myself apart from the shortcomings of my countrymen. I’m no better or worse than anyone else. Thinking in those terms never helped me much.

    I have no qualms setting myself apart from what is described and thought of as American. I would like to not be associated with such a term, but as was mentioned long ago on another thread from way back, it is extremely difficult to not be a U.S. Citizen, and getting more difficult everyday. It has its legal hooks in you, not to mention, it’s extremely difficult to emigrate to other countries without have something valuable to offer said country in return. I’m not saying any of that is impossible, but it’s full of roadblocks. So, for now, I’m stuck on this soil and I’ll be damned if I will lump myself in with the pond scum I’ve been fighting for more than half my life now. I’ll never forget how I was pilloried by many on the so-called “Left” when I called out Obama for what he was, and what I knew he would be, well before he was elected, or even seemed to have a chance of winning the Democratic nomination. Those very same types continue to pull similar stunts with other topics even if they have now admitted they were duped by Obama. It’s as though they haven’t learned from it, and instead continue to pummel anyone who has a controversial view….and a controversial view to them is anything that attempts to burst their cozy little comfort bubble.

    I don’t want to go down with these freaks….and yet that’s most likely going to be the outcome. Yeah, of course, if we breath, we are partly responsible, but the degrees vary, and my responsibility, like others here, I’m sure, is mostly involuntary. I contribute to this diabolical system to a bare minimum……just enough not to lose my wife and children and keep from starving….or living under the bridge, or going to jail. I have refrained from taking another corporate job for several years now….and, in fact, have not earned an income, at all. As a result, Uncle Scam has paid me for the past several years due to tax credits. I’m a seasoned professional who has worked in corporate finance with these scum CFOs and CEOs….and quite honestly, I can’t do it anymore because of my conscience….so don’t you lump me in with those scum….not when I have sacrificed mostly everything whilst they, and their sycophantic, cheerleading minions rob us, and the world blind. They are not MY countrymen. You can claim them if you like.

    Was Sophie Scholl a Nazi? Was she responsible for the Nazi Atrocities? Is my only atonement her fate? I’m ready and willing to be part of an effort, a movement, that would possibly change this marching pestilence….but I don’t see it…anywhere. And no, as Ina has said, OWS is not it. He’s more optimistic than me….he believes it’s a start, but I call it dead in the cradle. It’s stillborn. Half-measures, quarter measures…..anything less than full measures will not cut it, and I don’t think most “Americans” are willing, and/or capable of that for all the obvious reasons.

  98. cripes


    This week, (Globe and Mail, Sept 9, 2011) Prime Minister Stephen Harper asserted that Canada’s biggest security threat is “Islamicism,” and vowed to reintroduce two controversial clauses of the Liberals’ Anti-terrorism Act.

    …the Liberal architects of the legislation, Mr. Manley and Ms. McLellan, support Mr. Harper’s move to revive clauses to allow preventive detention and forced testimony.

    If you want to be “responsible” for the bad your country does, here’s his address:
    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    Office of the Prime Minister
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, ON

    Or, you can just walk down there with a big sign and demand to talk to him in person about that forced testimony.

    Let me know how that works out.

  99. alyosha

    …I contribute to this diabolical system to a bare minimum……just enough not to lose my wife and children and keep from starving….or living under the bridge, or going to jail.

    Those are the trade-offs you’ve made. You’re not willing to risk losing your wife, your kids and a roof over your head, or going to jail. It’s “inconvenient” – the word I used in my comment, in your case seriously so. And so your “contribution” to the system may be minimal, but it’s not zero. And so you are, to that degree, responsible, as awful as that might sound to you. Whether you like the people around you or not.

    Psychologically, I largely checked out of this culture some time ago. I try to relate to people as human beings, not so much as Americans, although certain tribal affiliations can be fun at times. But bottom-line, none of this matters – the fact is, I still pay taxes, vote, and get all the advantages and disadvantages of living in the Empire. And all the group karma both good and bad (a concept which to me is a little more accurate than “responsibility”) thereof. There’s just no way around it. We all belong to certain groups, some of them impossible to get out of (our birth family), others difficult to leave, others completely easy to leave.

    This doesn’t mean you have to run out and begin your one man battle against the USA, but it does mean being honest about your situation, and stop kidding yourself. If those are the trade-offs you want and are willing to accept, so be it. But don’t kid yourself that you’re not really a member of this group. As long as you’re writing a check to Uncle Sam, you most definitely are wearing a stars and stripes T-shirt. With all the bennies and negatives that go with it.

  100. caplin

    ian is right, and yet he’s wrong.

    (if ) one takes “responsible” to mean “has a responsibility” , then 100% absolutely, every american has a responsibility for what’s going on. a responsibility to do their utmost to understand, to educate themselves, to consider the implications of every one of their actions (or lack thereof), and act accordingly.

    (if) one considers “responsibility” to mean “deserves whatever repercussions the actions of their overlords generates”, than no, that’s utter bullshit. it’s that line of thinking that sells the bombing of whole countries because _their overlords “did bad things”. you think all those dead, maimed, displaced,and terrified iraqi’s and libyans and afghanis are “responsible” because of their overlords perceived or real actions?

    what about american kids? those american 3 year olds? no? too young? at 6yo, surely, they deserve to go down. no? do i hear 12? what about those that have fought wrongs their whole life? what about the amerindians, they didn’t try hard enough for you? what about malcom x, mlk? what about bradley manning?

    hate of an entire people, though tempting in america’s case, is shit and has no place in the revolution.

  101. caplin

    oh, and thank you ian for for stirring the pot, and generally giving a damn.
    someone’s got to do it, and as a long time reader, i for one appreciate it.

  102. anon

    how many 59 yo Pat’s are there in MA? how many teach?

  103. Morocco Bama

    Alyosha, you’ve provided a great case, and plenty of incentive for everyone here to become a Zealous American. I mean, why not go all out and reap all the benefits while we can, since we’re all responsible, and will be punished, accordingly. I’m calling the recruiter as I type this. They’ve been knocking down my door for three years now. They’ll be glad to hear I’m ready to get back in the saddle. Might as well enjoy the most of it before my penance comes due. Thanks. You’re right, I was kidding myself and punishing myself unnecessarily. Now, it’s time to party like it’s 1999.

  104. Celsius 233

    groo PERMALINK
    December 21, 2011
    Interesting thread, as always.
    May I bring your attention to this:
    Norman Finkelstein with Chris Hedges at Lannan Foundations
    link to the video of the event at:
    Here Finkelstein is at his best.
    In the middle of his speech he develops some powerful principles for starting a movement, and avoiding devolvement into a cult.

    Groo, thanks for the link; it was very informative and thus thought-full/thought-provoking.


    This thread has given me pause; I’m taking this as an opportunity to re-think many of my positions on this whole mess.
    I’m not quite ready to say my opinions and feelings are wholly wrong; but possibly mis-directed in part.
    A good question is most important; a badly formulated question is worthless and a waste of valuable time.

  105. Good rant, Ian.

    Personally, I tried organizing for a few years and simply gave up because there was hardly anyone joining me.

  106. madisolation

    Caplin, I agree with you completely.
    Certainly, people have a responsibility to educate themselves and act accordingly, but how can they educate themselves, when they still believe corporate/government propaganda is truth? I can tell the people who listen to those lies aren’t buying it so much, anymore–the reality of little pay and unaffordable essentials is butting up against the pretty words of the the millionaire mouthpieces on t.v.–but after standing on their feet all day, they tend to take the easiest, most conventional route and get sucked in again. They don’t even know there is an alternate way to get their news or how to get started, assuming they had the time and the energy to do so.
    Look at the people standing behind the cash registers, just trying to get by. Can you honestly shake your fist at them and tell them they are to blame for the state of our country? I don’t know. Maybe those of us who know better–or should know better– are the ones who should take responsibility, not the entire country, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll find some radical solutions to the problem. Maybe we’ll find ways to hit the political and financial elite and law enforcement types so badly, they’ll back down and run away in fear for their lives.

  107. Come on Lisa, their very name spells out the futility of OWS. 1% are the wealthy and they are on Wall Street carrying signs reading “we are the 99%.” They are not protesting endless war, nor America killing innocents with unmanned drones, nor environmental damage of war, nor spreading depleted uranium with expended ammunition, nor starting a war in Libya without Congressional authorization, nor propping up tyrants and dictators. They aren’t concerned about corrupt legislators, or Glass -Stegall, or a “national security” budget run amok.

    They listened to a president say that “1% aren’t paying their fair share” and printed up their signs and headed for where they believe the 1% hang out.

    Obama’s popularity is rising big time again, and over what? Health care reform did not do it, financial reform did not do it, the stimulus did not do it, repealing DADT did not do it, a new stimulus this year did not even get out of the gate, but a 2% tax cut has made him wildly popular, especially so since it’s “paid for” by “making the rich pay their fair share.”

  108. Morocco Bama

    Another group of “Americans” that have a great deal of responsibility are those who are exploiting this up to now slow-motion collapse….you know them….the shock jocks who are overly alarmist and misdirecting as well as the alleged ex-Wall Streeters like Nomi Prins and Max Keiser. They all act so overly concerned and want to keep you informed……and thoroughly alarmed. Oh, and of course, let’s not forget Gerald Celente. They only have our best interests at heart, of course, and all the while they are taking people to the bank as people subscribe to their news letters and buy their books. They have built cache for themselves and are bilking this thing for all it’s worth. It’s analogous to some entrepreneurial scam artist on the Titanic charging the people stuck in steerage for the latest news on the status of the sinking ship….sucking every last penny from them….and then at the last minute jumping on the life boat as those in steerage drown locked down below. There’s a special place in metaphorical hell for these sadistically sick hucksters.

    It’s another reason I like Ian’s place. It’s free of charge. The comments are intelligent, for the most part, and well-thought out. It’s hard-hitting and blunt, but not sensationalistic or ridiculously alarming. It’s not misdirectional. It’s not solicitous. There is no shingle. The purpose is not to exploit and make a buck….it’s to engage. It’s to challenge. It’s to shake the banana tree of delusion, apathy and disinformation. It’s an effort to arrive at some form of clarity in an otherwise murky sea of waste.

  109. ks

    This has been an eye opening thread. Ian put forth a very simple proposition. Namely, that the citizens of a democracy are responsible for the actions, both internally and externally, of their government. He even gave you an out by recognizing that not all citizens are equally responsible. The point being that until citizens accept responsibility they can’t really change anything. Granted, he wasn’t exactly nice about it, which seems to be some folks problem more than the substance of what he put forth, but still, I’m not sure how his main point is even debatable except as an exercise in intellectual posturing.

    In any event a lot of the reactions have been interesting. From parsing blame to the nth degree, to not only not holding citizens responsible but holding them blameless due to a myriad of somewhat reasonable but ultimately shallow reasons, to having a personal definition of Americaness that excludes yourself, to silly taunts about Ian being Canadian and so on……seriously?

    If we can’t even accept the general notion that We The People are responsible, in whatever measure, for the actions of our government, even in a generally enlightened forum like here, then really it’s probably best to take Ian’s oft offered advice and pack up and leave before it all comes crashing down.

  110. Bernard

    the desire to avoid responsibility is such an amazing “theme” here.

    no doubts as to how America became the Fascist state it is now.

    and no way am i responsible for the idiots who voted Republican since Reagan. i was around then and say the Zombies then and now.

    i am not that stupid, thank you very much.

    if you want to use stupidity for your excuse, go ahead. i knew since Reagan’s first election, we were fucked.

    oh no Americans said. and now we have their WORLD.

    enjoy what you reaped.

    to go quietly in that good night.

  111. Morocco Bama

    We The People, my ass. Their isn’t any mythical We The People. That’s a load of bull. And don’t hand me that crap about leaving if I don’t like it. Go where, exactly? When this shit goes down, and it’s going down, it’s taking the whole world with it….because in case anyone forgot, the entire Globe is pretty much interconnected at this point. I say blow the whole goddamned thing up and get it over with. It’s beyond melodramatic, at this point. My only wish is that I’m at ground zero when the bombs go off so that my family and I can instantly evaporate and not even know what hit us.

  112. groo

    Morocco Bama,

    i generally like your comments very much, but somehow You are over the top right now

    I say blow the whole goddamned thing up and get it over with. It’s beyond melodramatic, at this point. My only wish is that I’m at ground zero

    my goodness.

    please come to your senses!

    Sometimes I feel similarly. Sleepless nights about the human condition. First time I remember when I was twelve. Expecting atomic armageddon next day. Not that I have this feeling at times even now.

    Cultivate the rationality of fear.

    Sensible matter, to be sure.

    ‘Hyper’-people are an asset to humanity. Like Cassandra.
    I myself feel as one.

    But what use are they, when there is no public anymore?

    I dont know if Greek Mythology phantasized a Public, which pondered words of the visionaries in eternity.
    Cassandra seen as an eternal force.

    So think about that, and watch Your words.

    In all friendship.

    Yours sincerely.

  113. They are not protesting endless war, nor America killing innocents with unmanned drones, nor environmental damage of war, nor spreading depleted uranium with expended ammunition, nor starting a war in Libya without Congressional authorization, nor propping up tyrants and dictators. They aren’t concerned about corrupt legislators, or Glass -Stegall, or a “national security” budget run amok.

    Bullshit. We protested, and continue to protest, all those things at/from the occupation in Freedom Plaza in DC. Every last one of them.

    We have written about them, repeatedly, on our website, and solicited input, and held workshops or teach-ins or whatever the hell you want to call them, and publicized them, and agitated about them, and gotten into spineless Congresspeople’s faces about them, and gotten arrested for it, and done umpteen interviews about them.

    No, we can’t change the world overnight. You’re right about that. So let’s all just throw up our hands and go to a disco.

  114. ks

    I say blow the whole goddamned thing up and get it over with. It’s beyond melodramatic, at this point. My only wish is that I’m at ground zero when the bombs go off so that my family and I can instantly evaporate and not even know what hit us.

    Heh. While dramatic, I doubt you would go that far to avoid being associated with Americaness. Anyway more seriously, if you don’t like the We The People figure of speech, feel free to replace it with citizens or any other phrase or word that fits.

  115. gtash

    Back in the early 1970’s. I admired a young woman who about a year behind me in high school. She and some her mates were independent thinkers, a bit brash, and outspoken. She was different in one respect though. She did not take up with the Helen Reddy faction of feminists—she did not march or roar. I thought is was a contradiction given the times, and I ask her about it. She said she liked her independence and she did not like marching songs.
    I thought it might be dangerous to be independent and outside of a group with whom she had so much in common, and I told her so. She explained she preferred to confront harrassment and discrimination once face-at-a-time. She pointed out that when she hitch-hiked, she did not feel it necessary to look helpless or attractive, or anything in between—but she did carry a really long hat-pin.

    I have observed “movements” for many years and wondered at the erosion of their effectiveness (if the media is any guide—and I suspect it is one, but not the only one.)

    I am not sure movements need to inflict pain and chaos, grab headlines or stop traffic. I admit they are more jarring to everyone’s sensibilities, and the media eats it up. I think geezers like me who did try to do something about Vietnam have also realized whatever we did, however influential it may have seemed, was only a skirmish. Given what we know today, we can see very little has actually changed in the circles of government or commerce as a result of that particular movement.

    I think the Occupy “movement” is a kind of re-think about what constitutes effectivness when you need political change in America. It may lead exactly to where Ian thinks it needs to go.

    But it may also lead to a broader, less obvious and obtrusive shift as well. Maybe more people will find ways to meet the problem face-to-face, one-at-a-time. Perhaps we will all locate the hat-pins we need to prod our way to our objectives.

  116. I am twitching because Ian touched a nerve.

  117. groo

    just watching this movie about Temple Grandin, this autistic woman, who could feel herself into suffering animals in the slaughterhouses.
    (dangerous analogy, I know)
    But anyhow, this courageous woman induced significant change.

    Count me impressed.

    Maybe our situation is not so different at last.

    My theory is this:
    Everybody is everybody else’s sense-organ.

    This broadens consciousness, increases responsibility and mutual respect.

    The individualistic view, aka rational man or homo oeconomicus does the opposite.
    It presupposes that every societal particle is complete in itself.
    This is a dangerous and WRONG presupposition!

    So, changing our perspective, or virtual position within a net of mutual influence, would do some good.

    As a notorious bonehead and potential hermit I feel not challenged by that at all.
    I am just a more punctuated knot in the web of mutual influence.

    Is this helpful?

  118. Ghostwheel

    I so miss living by myself. How wonderful it was to not have televisions constantly set to CNN and other “news” channels. I actually avoid walking into the living room when other family members are watching. It makes me cringe.

    CNN with Anderson “Vanderbilt” Cooper is doing a celebratory short on NATO’s helping the Libyan rebels “liberate” that country.

    “Why don’t you read a little?” I say.

    “This is CNN. What makes you think what you read is any truer?” is the reply. How dare I question an accredited news source, after all?

    My family is a victim of propaganda. Should I shun the victims of propaganda? How can I compete against multiple channels that tirelessly spew out lies?

    Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, on and on and on and on and….

    What is the proper attitude to take in regard to the victims of propaganda?

  119. Celsius 233

    *What is the proper attitude to take in regard to the victims of propaganda?*

    Caution, depending on who they are. Victims of propaganda can be dangerous to one’s health/life.
    They’re the ones turning in friends and family to the authorities.
    Lamo setting up Manning being the latest example.
    Victims are an entire discussion in itself…

  120. groo

    Maybe this helps:

    CNN is sometimes referred to as CNN/U.S. to distinguish the American channel from its international counterpart, CNN International.

    the fun part is, as the story goes, that they dare not send out their bullshit internationally, because it would be too embarrassing to the rest of the world.

    But on the other hand I do not know what is fed to the Americans by CNN-US.

    Maybe You should collect some Dollars to by a TV with built in internet.
    So you can switch to Al Jazeera-English, just for comparison.

    But I agree, it is difficult.

    The strategy I have with stubborn individuals I happen to be connected, is to silently change the overton window.

    Do not cry out loud ‘LIE’.
    Make a plan, identify the spots of doubt of your peers, then cleverly shift the perspective.

    This is called shifting the Overton window.
    Your personal dedication to this task has to be stronger than the influence of everyday propaganda.

    This is all to know.

    You happen to land on a far out site like this one.
    I happen to be even more far out than Ian, but hopefully he does not notice.

    My farout aspirations I keep to myself, caring and feeding them silently.
    Some of them would infuriate even a decent soul like Ian.

    So I keep silent on that and try to identify his weak spots.
    There are some. Not many. But some.

    Its all basically is ‘Overton’.

    Hope that helps.

  121. alyosha

    @groo – this is very helpful. I (and I think this is a baby boomer trait) tend to be the sledgehammer (shouting “lies”) instead of patiently and carefully looking for the weaknesses to do the Overton and skillfully, quietly chip away. One of my teachers, Yogananda, taught that “Environment is stronger than will”. It takes an extraordinary will to go counter to the mass hypnosis we often find ourselves in. Watering holes like this site have immense value in this regard, particularly back during the Bush years when it was so hard to find others who questioned the Official Story.

  122. Ghostwheel

    Hope people are still following this thread.

    Stumbled across this quite by accident:

    “There’s a simpler and more disturbing possibility, based on the 1950s research of Herbert Krugman. He discovered early on that television watching induces a shift towards right brain dominance in human primates. This phenomenon also triggers the release of endorphins, and seems to indicate that television is literally and physically addictive. If this is the case, then nearly anything that goes on a TV screen would have powerful mental and physical effects.”


    I’ll bet there’s a rather lot of research out there about the addictive qualities of television.

    If this is correct, then it explains, in part, why it’s so damn difficult to shake and wake people up.

  123. Celsius 233

    Ghostwheel PERMALINK
    December 28, 2011
    Hope people are still following this thread.
    Stumbled across this quite by accident:
    “There’s a simpler and more disturbing possibility, based on the 1950s research of Herbert Krugman. He discovered early on that television watching induces a shift towards right brain dominance in human primates.

    In so many words, I’ve know of this for longer than I can remember. I finally ditched the tube in 1994.
    My generation (1945) cut their teeth on television. Best opiate I know and far harder to kick.
    Television is only one aspect of Ameria’s problem; the rich have been indoctrinating us from kindergarten through high-school and into most colleges and universities.
    TVs’ contribution is as a maintenance dose, so we never quite get off of the tit.
    True change will only come from ourselves; but we haven’t figured that out yet; thus the politicking, rhetoric, and the myth of democracy and voting…

  124. Formerly T-Bear


    Have been waiting for you to explain the proposition that it is possible for a person to change the universe, they begin by changing themselves. Likewise a person can improve the universe, they begin by improving themselves. If you are to master the universe, one must be master of themselves.

    You have better acquaintance with the philosophy than anyone commenting here, but a good alternative resource is the part of “Be Here Now” the words of Ram Dass section but can also be found in Tibetan Buddhism, Zen as well as “The Tao of Pooh”.

  125. groo

    have been inhalating quite some Schopenhauer the last couple of days,
    and was surprised that eg Nietzsche mostly delivered only footnotes on him.
    Or misinterpreted him outright.
    Nietzsche tried to turn around Schopenhauer’s conception of the ‘will’, similar to Marx, who tried that with Hegel.
    Marx/Hegel : undecided.
    Nietzsche/Schopenhauer: Well. The old man got the upper hand, as far it concerns my humble opinion.
    Having considered myself for a long time a younger brother of N., but now feel nearer to our both ‘father’ , which is Sch. .

    Whitehead said about Plato’s legacy: Western Philosophy is only footnotes on Plato.

    Schopenhauer actually is a different animal.

    The American-English seem to have no good grasp what Schopenhauer was all about.
    Looking through all the ‘quotes-sites’, I found 99% crap.
    Cultural divide? (Teuton me)

    One quote maybe worth mentioning:

    “The more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him.”

    A similar difficulty I have with Thoreau, a true American philosopher of the land.
    Because we Europeans do not have such a land anymore for a long time, we do not understand him.
    And probably the Americans do not have a good understanding of the Native Indian
    CG Jung had the firm belief, that the spirit of the native Indians would take over American belief, because it is so deeply ingrained into the land, that the conquerers had no chance to root it out, and finally are overtaken by this spirit of the land.

    Well. This seems like the phantasy of a good mind.
    I would not rule this out once and for all.

    This is a difficult matter and takes maybe a couple of thousand years to work itself out.
    Leave it to the children, and their children.
    If there are any left.
    Then the totems of consumerism compare to the totem of the land.

    This worries me a lot.
    It takes a lot of effort, to bridge the gap, and is reserved for some very few, who communicate, or -well- finally stop doing so.

  126. Formerly T-Bear

    @ groo

    Thanks for an interesting hour perusing “The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 6-7, Schopenhauer” to get some handle upon your remarks.

    Idea(s) are the currency of the mind, what the mind uses conducting its economy. Bereft of ideas, the mind has only emotion to lubricate its affairs with the world, a second rate and fickle specie with which to meet the price of reality.

    Human experience requires some edifice by which the following generations are educated to the world they inherit, originally mythology was that edifice, a repository containing in some idealized form those things necessary for survival. As with all complex processes, mythology became professionalized into religion; sheltered , armoured and also ossified by beliefs. Eventually the vested interests of the professionals overcame the purpose of that existence itself but that is another story.

    Each and every family, clan or tribe that exists has this ability to pass on their experience. The American Indians in their varied tribes are no different for the world they inhabited but had not “progressed” to the point that their mythology had become professionalized as had happened in “self-identificated civilized” civilization. Their mythology remained both intact and integral to their culture as well as cohesive to its purpose in educating their inheritors. That is what it was designed for, no real surprises there.

    Each surviving belief system contain strands of human experience that have survival value, not necessarily having universal application but rather as experience in some specific context in some historical memory. Whereas these days require some manner of massive cultural change in order to attempt survival, some of the recorded modes of change preserved in various cultural heritages may hold useful insights or ways of addressing the needed changes. Buddhism (and other similar constructs), is a treasure trove of experiences derived from recognizing and accepting the need for change and setting out on those paths toward desired goals.

  127. groo

    Thanks T-Bear for consideration.

    ‘Beliefs’ are extremely difficult to tackle.

    As a -ahem-Teuton I am wondering of this tune : ‘Riders on the storm’, which seems to me a genuine american Gospel in 100-fold interpretation.
    I genuinely cannot understand it, but on the other hand I have the feeling that somewhere there the American soul must be.

  128. Celsius 233

    Belief; another grossly misunderstood dynamic in our tortured existence.
    Belief is a very dangerous condition/trap and fuels myths and magical thinking; and most often has little or nothing to do with reality.
    Generally it would seem that belief negates critical thinking; in fact, once beliefs consolidate, it appears to stop thinking in general. This would apply to the greater majority of people everywhere and is especially evident in the U.S.; never more evident than the present.
    The aphorism, Know Thyself (as Formerly T-Bear noted), is a part of learning the interior life some of us choose to pursue.
    Modern living is not friendly to these goals, which is only one of many reasons this one is not encouraged by the direction of the U.S. government or the population supporting it.

  129. groo


    I just happened to stumble over this gem:
    “How Ernest Dichter, an acolyte of Sigmund Freud, revolutionised marketing”

    Seemingly it is the fate of every empire that some quacks rise up and program common belief.
    It has an inherent logic, that the quacks, like flees jump from the sick dog to the healthier one.
    Carl Schmitt (Germany), Bernays (Greater Austria), Hayek (same), Ayn Rand (Russia) come to mind.
    Just an idea, which I am thinking about for a long time, not a rigid thesis.

    The rural red staters partially resisted this programming, and developed their own insanity as an antidote.
    Maybe best illustrated by the Amish, which erected a rigid wall around themselves.
    Wonder if they even participate in presidential elections and that.

    I wish, more native american indians would go back to their roots, difficult as it definitely is, and not engage in building gambling casinos as a source of profit.
    Just to be ripped off by the Abramoffs of this world.

    My ‘belief’ is foremost one in diversity, albeit on certain issues of universal concern I feel challenged to step in.
    And there currently are quite lot of them.

  130. Celsius 233

    groo PERMALINK
    December 30, 2011


    Give me a bit to chew on that; interesting…

  131. groo


    thanks for consideration.
    Difficult times.
    We do our best.

  132. groo

    this is from Ani DiFranco:

    up up up up up up points the
    spire of the steeple
    but god’s work isn’t done by god
    it’s done by people

    What a wonderful and insightful person!

    We search for early-warning-systems for earth quakes and such.
    All well and good.

    For societal quakes we have them all around us since Cassandra.
    We just do’nt listen.
    Fools we are.

  133. Morocco Bama

    Maybe best illustrated by the Amish, which erected a rigid wall around themselves.

    Only in certain respects. That wall has many holes in it and those holes can fit many camels through it unlike the eye of a needle. The Amish are opportunists and take advantage of the outside world when it suits their purposes. If in doubt of this, visit Lancaster, Pa. and behold their exploitation. Buggy Rides for thirty to forty bucks a pop, for example.

    What’s interesting about the Eye of the Needle myth is how it was interpreted in later years to water down its poignancy……meaning, since Constantine usurped the Christian movement, it now became the purvey of the wealthy, and you can’t have Jesus saying that there is no place for wealthy people in the eternal afterlife. That wouldn’t do.

  134. groo

    Morocco Bama,

    I go searching again.
    There must be some matriarchats in Western China, where women do all the work and men are the fools they have ever been.

    Please keep me that sweet dream of a better world. 😉

  135. groo

    dont like that smiley!
    I’m serious!
    My goodness!

  136. Glad I peeked in on this thread again. What a fine bunch of folks we have here. You are all a tonic.

  137. Celsius 233

    groo PERMALINK
    December 30, 2011

    Seemingly it is the fate of every empire that some quacks rise up and program common belief.


    Yes, and the religions of the planet are probably the most egregious programmers followed closely by governments. The Tao and Buddhism are excellent tools against the undue assault by the religions of the world. Governments are another story, however.
    Not to start an argument or go off topic, but; the Tao and Buddhism are not religions (I have no sway over what people do with things) because they have no gods, beliefs, heaven, hell, or other trappings of religions. They deal with the nature of existence and show the way for an understanding of our natural world. (Sorry if that’s an over simplification)
    I think skepticism and doubt are our most powerful allies.
    But understanding the individual, inner, landscape is most necessary before attempting to tackle the never ending stream of programming directly aimed at keeping us off balance and to discourage any form of critical thinking. Religion and government are antithetical to the serious pursuit of a healthy inner life.
    In my clumsy way; I’ve tried to answer you and express my own ideas of the view as I understand it at this time.
    You ended with; “Right?”
    I don’t know; am I right? I don’t know.
    I’m always in awe of the people who go through life so cock sure of themselves; that has never described me…

  138. Celsius 233

    groo PERMALINK
    December 30, 2011


    Another of your posts slowed me down and gave me pause; in a good way.
    So now, considered responses are in order.

  139. Formerly T-Bear

    @ 233ºC, groo

    You both might consider belief in another way, much like the Arabs considered the zero in their math, a placeholder, something to keep a category open for further understanding when the subject was realized to be incomplete or adequate information not available, and yet to be able to construct something cognizable, e.g. something is still where one left it or someone’s condition was improved but you are not for sure. Used in this manner, the unstated understanding contains uncertainty containing change when the subject becomes more complete.

    Another form belief can take appears when belief is used to complete and satisfy information or understanding and curtail further change should more or better understanding become available. Best example may be the belief in Aristotle’s and Ptolemy’s earth-centred universe over two millennium before Copernicus introduced an improved belief, supported by mathematical calculation, and conforming with observed facts far better and simpler than its preceding theory.

    The dangerous form to which you refer happens when beliefs are constructed and adhered to that propose the implausible, the irrational or the inconceivable, usually as a means of suspending disbelief in some scheme; religions certainly qualify, but throwing the baby (beliefs) out with the bathwater isn’t the profitable way to understanding.

  140. Celsius 233

    ^ Well Bear; more food for the brain, thanks, and a response will be forthcoming; but not this evening.
    In the meantime let me wish you, Ian, and everybody; a safe New Years Eve and best wishes for the coming life on this most beautiful planet…

  141. groo

    Formerly T-Bear, Celsius,…
    –sorry, this is going to be somewhat longish–

    I think/’believe’, I’m/we debaters here are aware of the intricacies of ‘belief’, and therefore concentrated on some of the darker sides.

    Mentioned Ernest Dichter was a funny type of a quack, who had a point of sorts.
    Mainly that, some 80% of motivations (eg for buying a good) are unconscius.
    The ‘belief’, that has to be implanted in the consumer, is, that his decision is the best one.
    This is done by by massaging the Unconscious, because it is the dominant part.

    To call this a ‘belief’ is quite debatable.
    The situation is quite asymmetric: the advertiser/corporation knows about this set of human weaknesses, the consumer is just an object, which has to be shaped/programmed

    This is from an enlightenment perspective (which one could term a ‘belief’ also) deeply embarrassing.
    One says: Exploit the weakness
    The other: Heal the weakness, by first making them visible.

    See Veblen in his ‘Theory of the Leisure Class’. Veblen the humanist put the issue on the table for us all to inspect.
    Same Vance Packard, who was a fierce opponent of Dichter in the 50’s.
    He saw quite clearly, to what this would lead: ‘Status competition’ via consumer goods.
    Karl Rove = Bush’s brain, an evil programmer of all sorts of ‘beliefs’.
    Even worse: A gardener of the fragmented minds of those poor chaps called authoritarian followers.

    I understand Celsius’ assessment of religion in this way:
    Just an example:

    The Catholic priests in the middle ages had this habit of ‘Ablasshandel’, where eg the believer on his death-bed gave half of his property to the church, which guaranteed him a place in heaven. This made the Church the biggest owner of land in southern Germany, besides the Nobility.
    Quite a feat, right?
    This ended abruptly around 1803 with the socalled secularization, which affected approximately 30% of all the land.
    Maybe this throws out all those chaps who donated, out of heaven, because all this property is not in God’s hand anymore.

    To make this work You have to install an elaborate and ‘belief-system’ to endure the the centuries, and keep Your adversaries in check (the nobility).

    This does not mean that I want to throw ‘beliefs’ out of the bathtub together with the bathwater.
    Buddhism in its form of Taoism and some others is mostly free from follies and trickery.

    First: Know the foundations of your beliefs (the axioms one chooses for his life, so to say).
    This obviously is the tricky part.
    You can do it only one or two times in life, not more often.


    Happy new year to all here, in interesting times.
    We have quite some work to do.

  142. Morocco Bama

    But understanding the individual, inner, landscape is most necessary before attempting to tackle the never ending stream of programming directly aimed at keeping us off balance and to discourage any form of critical thinking. Religion and government are antithetical to the serious pursuit of a healthy inner life.

    I agree, Celsius, but the forms of programming and control are myriad, and as often as not, perpetuated unconsciously, which can be even more destructive to social evolution. Let’s take the Scientific Orthodoxy, for example. Orthodoxy of any form, imo, is likened to, metaphorically speaking, atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, so what we’re left with is the strangling of something that once upon a time, may have been a positive notion for critical though and social evolution.

  143. groo

    Morocco Bama,

    here we end in a serious assessment of everybody’s (and every society’s, scvience, religion…) fundamental working, which is a set of axioms.
    I prefer this to the more amorph term ‘belief’.
    There has been a longish discussion around 1900.
    Eg Frege ‘Sinn und Bedeutung’ = ‘sense and meaning’ 1892
    Mauthner’s ‘Beiträge zu einer Kritik der Sprache’ critique of language ca 1902, unknown to the English.
    Wittgenstein: ‘Glaube und Gewissheit’ = ‘belief and certainty’

    and others.
    Sorry, when sounding overeducated. It should’nt and is not intended to be.
    What worries me, is that the intellectuals at that time underwent a deep crisis, whereby the idiots prepared for WWI.
    Not that intellectuals and philosophers have recovered since then.

    The other side was not lazy, developed an impressive arsenal of propaganda, mind control and modes of distraction for the common man.
    Here we are.
    Losing the battle, as it seems.

    Thoughts hopefully worthy a dec 31, 2011.

    All the best.

  144. I like what T-Bear said about the “Arab zero.” I tend to slam “belief” hard, in general, but that is in truth a reactionary position, because belief is so fervently defended by, well, believers.

    We do indeed need to behave “as if true” – to hold place-holder hypotheticals – in order to consider reality at all. It is, in a sense, fundamentally un-ordered until we place some sort of structure around it. I’m not speaking of the physical fundaments, which are ordered in definitive ways (at least at our macro level), but of the world “created” by our consensual cognizance, the social world of Man, and its possibilities. The dynamic between the glue of traditional ordering, with its reassurances, and the possibilities offered by the radical reconsideration of possibilities (seen as “progress”, but is probably more cyclical than we realize) is where the potentialities emerge.

    What are we willing to reconsider, and what is too threatening to our comfort zone? In this question the practical “validity” of belief is tested.

  145. groo


    We do indeed need to behave “as if true” – to hold place-holder hypotheticals – in order to consider reality at all.

    But this is not a selling point for the lot of us.

    As the good Doctor John said:
    “The city that care forgot”.

    What does it mean?
    Even Music is sort of an abstraction.
    All we say in the internetz is an abstraction.

    Well, what we do, is something less of an…

    Albeit the good Doctor, together with the good Eric Clapton, does a good job of making the abstract sort of feelable.
    Secondary emotions, with a ‘real’ feel.

  146. Celsius 233

    Firstly, let me say that I’m uncomfortable with the word belief and it’s myriad philosophical ramifications. The word “think” could easily be inserted in its place. I understand that one’s concept of belief is a matter of choosing or choice. I choose to look at the pragmatic, everyday use of the word and I find it to be a limiting concept on/for the processes of free thought for most people I have known. I have experienced that people speak of belief as a conclusion; not a starting point for investigation or discovery. Most Buddhist teachings caution against the concept of belief and it is from that that I proceed with my inquires into the wonderful mysteries of our existence.

    There’s an interesting quote from *Richard Feynman:
    *I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here….
    I don’t have to know the answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell. It doesn’t frighten me.*

    I’ve spent hours this morning researching “belief”. It is evident many thousands of hours have been spent on this rather simple (IMO) concept.
    I do accept as T-Bear says;
    You both might consider belief in another way, much like the Arabs considered the zero in their math, a placeholder, something to keep a category open for further understanding when the subject was realized to be incomplete or adequate information not available…

    But in my experience this isn’t how belief is understood.

    Let me offer this link to a guy named Jim Walker; he does a pretty good job of speaking to my POV on this very interesting topic;
    Jim Walker

    At bottom I don’t think we’re disagreeing; just laying out our understandings.

  147. Formerly T-Bear

    The problem lays in language it seems, presuming belief and faith are synonymous when they are only congruent; one applied secularly, the other to the more ecclesiastical realm. It helps to know that distinction when using some words, or at least use those words more accurately as to intent.

    Aforementioned was an interesting hour being acquainted/reacquainted with Schopenhauer, reference given. In it reference was made to Kant’s distinction between “phenomena (what appears to a perceiving mind) and noumena (things as they are in themselves [intellectual constructs of the mind])” as the medium of consciousness of the world, i.e.”perceiving the world as an “idea” or “representation” (Vorstellung)”. This applied to belief was basis of those remarks. No need was foreseen to continue into the realm of faith but would have been completing to do so. No edit function requires modification of the final paragraph to:

    The dangerous form to which you refer happens when beliefs are constructed and adhered to that propose the implausible, the irrational or the inconceivable, usually as a means of suspending disbelief in some scheme; religions certainly qualify, but throwing the baby (beliefs) out with the bathwater isn’t the profitable way to understanding. This hazard strewn form of belief a.k.a. faith entraps most minds into a terminal belief beyond the ability of rational reality based perceptions to reach, remediate or rescue as most of those afflicted go to their graves carrying intact their acquired beliefs, only the rare few escape the fate.

    Schopenhauer presciently indicated a significant level of awareness of the unconscious mind and the role it plays in the thought process (will) but was never called upon to address the devious utility the knowledge could be put, e.g. propaganda, marketing, and other forms of persuasion. But that is another subject.

    P.S. interesting links

  148. Celsius 233

    Morocco Bama PERMALINK
    December 31, 2011

    I agree, Celsius, but the forms of programming and control are myriad, and as often as not, perpetuated unconsciously, which can be even more destructive to social evolution. Let’s take the Scientific Orthodoxy, for example. Orthodoxy of any form, imo, is likened to, metaphorically speaking, atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, so what we’re left with is the strangling of something that once upon a time, may have been a positive notion for critical though and social evolution.


    Couldn’t agree more on the sclerotic aspects of scientific orthodoxy (or orthodoxy in general).
    In attempting to discuss the theory of evolution, the discussion basically stopped at theory; the argument being it’s not a theory any longer. I objected to that; and now 10 years later and 1/2 a world away (from whom I was conversing [a biology professor]) it now comes about that this non-theory is getting put on its head.
    Apparently Carl Sagan said that the reason we haven’t contacted/been contacted by aliens is because species with advanced intelligence kill themselves off; in so many words.
    At this juncture, I’d have to agree; it ain’t looking too good for us…

  149. Morocco Bama

    Apparently Carl Sagan said that the reason we haven’t contacted/been contacted by aliens is because species with advanced intelligence kill themselves off; in so many words.
    At this juncture, I’d have to agree; it ain’t looking too good for us…

    It’s something I have followed with great amusement and interest over the years, because on my journey of introspection and migration from tentative yet earnest “believer” to the Catcher In The Rye skeptic I am today, I have taken an increasing interest in cosmology….because it still fascinates me to this day what we are, what this is, and where it’s going. I know I’ll never find the answer….but I’ll be damned, considering it and pondering it is wonderful mental masturbation so long as I don’t take myself too seriously….or take anyone else too seriously, either. And that’s where the amusement factor comes in. As you know, Cosmologists are changing their theories once a year, or more, now, and I believe that is due to the Singularity. As knowledge increases exponentially, theoretical extrapolation of possibilities manifest that were previously hidden in plain sight. So, speaking with such orthodoxical confidence and assuredness in such matters reminds me of the Vatican and their dogmatic interpretations of the character and intent of the God they have created in their image.

    I believe I have posted this documentary here before, but I will deposit it again for purposes of illustration. Every orthodoxy has its priests….it clergy….it’s dutiful strategic and technical administrative teams that secure, spread and perpetuate the “faith.” I this documentary, especially the third part I have linked to, make a great case for this.

    In regards to Carl Sagan’s comments, and what’s being discussed here in this late part of this thread, I’m having a similar discussion on another blog, and I’ve had this to say. I think it’s pertinent.

    Yeah, I lived through 1968 as well, Arthur, but since I liken us to trees, it’s part of me now, and you, in one of the inner rings. Yes, we’re in the process of creating a new outer ring, but that new outer ring creation will be influenced in some way by the totality of experiences that have led to the creation of all our rings.

    And to that point, yes, that’s one reason it appears impossible to create a new System….because the old System has scattered an eternity of seeds ubiquitously across our psyches so that when the old System collapses, and it will, in its ashes, like a Phoenix, it sprouts again from the seeds it strategically distributed. Getting past this eternally perpetuating mechanism will be a significant milestone in social evolution. It seems impossible at this moment, but I believe that’s just the seeds of the old System talking.

    Considering what I just said, and reviewing some of the more recent comments, for any one with an OPEN mind, who’s really the apathetic and cynical ones?

  150. It seems impossible at this moment, but I believe that’s just the seeds of the old System talking.

    Within the context, I agree with you, Morocco. It never seems impossible to me. Ever onward.

  151. @Celsius – that Jim Walker link was an excellent read. Thank you.

  152. groo

    Formerly T-Bear,
    Beautifully written.
    w.r.t. Schopenhauer:
    He was one of the truly great human beings. Tolstoi e.g. recognized this.
    I was a Nietzschean in my twenties. It took me quite some time to find out, that Nietzsche misrepresented Schopenhauer’s conception of the will, which finally cost him his mind.
    I’m quite sure that it was not the Syphilis.

    Both were very sensible psychologists, long before Freud, and not so materialistic, as current ‘Neuropsychology’ is to the extreme.

    Think of ‘Neuromarekting’.
    What would Schopenhauer say about this?

    By all this I again want to hint to two opposing trends:
    a) exploiting the weaknesses of the human mind/human condition for some absolutely despicable, egotistic motives,
    b) healing this condition from a very improbable position.

    Schopenhauer had some 99.x% of contemporary thinking against him, or was simply ignored, until the last five or so years of his life.
    Posteriority decides.
    This was the thinking.
    Schopenhauer imagined timeframes of thousands of years, where he would be in the Olymp of thinking within some other thousands of years.

    But I am afraid that we are in a different situation today.
    Time is running out.

    Somewhere upthread I hinted to a Finkelstein-video, which I consider very important, and we all –including Ian of course—should carefully watch, because it possibly shows us a way out of this mess. Finkelstein did not promote it as such. He basically referred to the Israel-Palestinian issue, but it is generizable, it seems to me.

    You decide.

  153. By all this I again want to hint to two opposing trends:
    a) exploiting the weaknesses of the human mind/human condition for some absolutely despicable, egotistic motives,
    b) healing this condition from a very improbable position.

    groo, I’m going to give you a stack of links that you may find interesting. John Michael Greer refers to thaumaturgy in the following posts – which is a term for the sort of manipulation you refer to here. I find the subject fascinating myself – I hope you don’t mind the links. (You can search for “thaumaturgy” if you want to jump to the relevant passages).

    (Fingers crossed on the HTML).

    Pluto’s Republic
    A Lesson in Practical Magic
    The Trouble with Binary Thinking
    Aristotle’s Secret
    Bringing It Down To Earth

  154. groo


    I’ll take a look.
    JMG is a treasure.
    One of the rare persons capable of keeping a balanced view inside and outside.

    We probably all have this feeling that we need to throw the bums out, or give them their proper place.

    JMG is very low key on that.
    Presumably for a good reason.
    Or because it simply his personality.

    I myself am getting angry at times.
    Suffering a -hopefully- mild form of manic depression.

    The history of collective moods, so to say, is quite interesting.
    e.g. there has been the socalled ‘age of the nerves’ signified by Chekhov.
    “How nervous erverybody is” was a sign of the times and a main theme in the salons at the beginning of the 20th century.
    Not in the US, to my knowledge.
    But it was a mental precursor of WWI in Europe. It was a feeling that something bad would happen.

    I myself try to decode our current condition along these lines of thinking.

    How did we we get there?
    What way out?

  155. groo

    if anybody believes that the Russians are NOT part of Greater Europe:
    Ofcourse they are.
    I mentioned some arguments already:
    Chekov was first buried in Baden-Baden, small town in Western Germany.
    I visited his grave some 3 years ago.
    As a national ‘treasure’ he was transferred to Russia.
    Transferring a body is the highest ambition of any national character.
    Now to the German-Russian relationship:
    Tolstoi was a deep admirer of Schopenhauer.
    Here it goes the other way round.
    If ‘I’ had to choose between the American soul and the Russian soul, well, folks, ‘I’ would have some difficulty.
    This is not that I would prefer Putin over Obama.
    Those are phony bums, to be clear.
    But if it is about something akin to a soul, I prefer the Russian soul.
    It is deep and decent, despite the fights we have recently.
    The reason why this is, is, I suppose, a mode of exchange.
    A mode of giving and forgiving.
    The Americans were heroes in their times, after WWII.
    They could have been the gratest souls ever.
    The beacon. The shining city. Whatever.
    But they spoiled it. TOTALLY.
    Maybe this sounds embarrassing to quite a lot of You, but the Russians have a character, which I respect.
    Deep down in the American soul is the American Native soul, which I also respect deeply, but not this assortment of fools and fraudsters, who nowadays inhabit Washington City.
    The ancient national character of the US is buried somewhere deep in the rural centre, and has been hijacked by the coastal ‘outbacks’.
    Yes. They are the modern outbacks of stupidity and superstition and fraud. They dare call them ‘blue’!
    The socalled centers of innovation.
    Financial here (upper East), technological there (southern west).
    Both are bankrupt.
    The center also, because it became a desert of industrial pseudo-agriculture, which basically destroys the land on a big scale.
    Sure, I do not make any friends here, by saying this.

  156. sgt_doom

    Ferdinand Lundberg’s Treason of the People, circa 1958.

    (also, anyone who has yet to read the brilliant sociologist and journalist’s The Rich and the Super-Rich consider yourselves forever clueless!)

  157. sgt_doom

    One other comment. I’ve been a volunteer (as in always unpaid) political activist for around 40 years, including being tear gassed and jailed, prior to being drafted to Vietnam, and afterwards many a time, and worked on Carter’s first and successful presidential campaign — was offered a job in the West Wing, which I declined, always worked as a technoid when possible, only interested in progress, not really politics or political theater, per se.

    But for forty years, I’ve been almost futilely attempting to warn my fellow Americans (Ameritards???) that offshoring of jobs was a bad, bad thing (one of the three main tools for dismantling the economy and wealth transfer, obviously), and to this day there are still waaaay too many who don’t get it!

    Yes, most definitely, the sports-watching, lazy-brained populace, whose primary educational input is TV or movies or sports or similar bilge, are to blame…..

  158. Formerly T-Bear

    @ groo

    The first Soviet moon challenged one generation in the U.S., maybe more, to excellence. That generation was given their education as the result of the space race, nothing was spared to further national education to meet that challenge. No following generation ever equalled them. There is a debt of gratitude owed the makers of that moon that can and will never be settled.

    For a insight into the spirit of the heartland of the U.S. read William Least Heat-Moon’s “PrairyErth” (also wrote “Blue Highways”) ISBN 0-395-48602-5. It would be an impossible choice between American Indian soul and Russian soul if so faced, both have roots deep into the earth from which sustenance and succor emanate.

    Tolstoy’s “On Civil Disobedience and Non-violence” Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-29085 helped ignite “the 60’s”.

    “Teachings from the American Earth, Indian Religion and Philosophy” edited Dennis Tedlock and Barbara Tedlock ISBN 0-87140-097-9 pbk, ISBN 0-87140-559-7

    “Medicine Talk, A Guide to Walking in Balance and Surviving on the Earth Mother” by Brad Steiger, ISBN 0-385-09734-4 paperbound Lib of Cong. Cat. Card No. 74-1774

    “Indian Givers, How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World” by Jack Weatherford, Lib of Cong. Cat. Card No. 88-3827

    These might be of some interest as well. All the best…….(end of using up Ian’s bandwidth)

  159. groo

    Not that I cherish the remnants of the German ‘soul’ over others.

    I have some deep diving to do.
    Therefore I talk a lot about affairs >100years ago.
    It is not that I think, that ‘we’ -as collectives- have been in our right minds ever.

    It is about a loss of connection.

    What makes me glad, is, that on a lot of places people realize this loss, not quite aware, what it is.

    There is a recitation of all 200 fairy-tales, the brothers Grimm collected.

    It goes over 3 days by three women in free speech.

    Not reading them out of books.

    Telling them, as the mothers did to their childs.

    Now, is that not a powerful sign of change?

  160. groo

    here they are:
    The sisters Grimm

    Question is, why do they do that?
    Nobody knows.
    It comes out of a sort of urge.
    And this expresses itself.
    Not that I am happy with an explanation like that.
    In a philosophical sense this is akin to a tautology.
    Something expresses itself because of an urge.

    But the interesting aspect is, that the urge comes before the fact!

    So all intelligent beings have to wonder whether between the two is a manovering-room?
    Schopenhauer/Nietzsche, Libet an the rest of the lot.
    Is the universe causally closed?
    Then we should all be Buddhists, and immediately stop all action.

    I refuse.

    Sorry. Maybe you do not understand my problem. For me it is central.

  161. So all intelligent beings have to wonder whether between the two is a manovering-room?…

    Is the universe causally closed?
    Then we should all be Buddhists, and immediately stop all action.

    I have something to say to that (not particularly original, of course). The noisome mind contemplates (“wonders”) what it is like to be silent. From such a perspective, it looks a death, and one sensibly rejects what seems to be nihilism. The truth is, the noisome mind cannot imagine what that state is like, it can only project from its tumultuous condition, and what it imagines is nothing like the fact. There is life in silence, but that “knowledge” is only nonsense if one is not inhabiting it.

    There is value in the turning of the “wheel,” even if it can be intellectually characterized as a closed system.

    Incidentally, groo – I agree with what you said about the American (U.S.) “soul” vs. the Russian (“European”). It is interesting to note, however, how much of our country’s educational institutions, and social policies, were shaped by the Industrial Age titans’ fascination with the 19th Century academia of Europe, particularly Austria (from Freud to the military). I do not say this defensively, since we really had nothing to claim as our own before then, such was the hodge-podge mosaic of post-Revolutionary America “philosophies,” shaped as much by the indigenous people that were conquered (as Jung noted) as by the reactionary attitudes of the fleeing pilgrims.

    I say it because what we are grappling with now (and what’s infected the globe), is the lasting legacy of the successful efforts of “elites” in suffocating a true democracy still in the crib. Using disciplinary tools and methods imported from Europe. (Not that they wouldn’t have invented them anyway, I imagine.)

    The Revolutionary War is just a label for the history books. It hasn’t happened yet. I’m confident that it will. And since it will probably be “global” this time, it just might take.

    (I’m well into a bottle of wine, so pardon me if I am not being as clear as I’d like to be.)

  162. groo

    during this thread quite some things became clearer to me.

    not that they have not been clear to a lot of others.
    Orwell comes to mind.
    He is often reduced to telling a couple of dystopian futures, which is in some sense true.
    Same with Huxley.
    Orwell, having fought in the Spanish war, experienced quite a lot, which I will never.
    Same with Twain or Marx in the first half of the 19th century.

    Let me please concentrate on two aspects of my learning, which I think about for a long time, but got a bit more clarity:

    I) type of people

    I.1) the humanists, who are very much aware of the problems of society, and try to find solutions. they have a lot of names: socialists, connectionists, collectivists …

    I.2) the exploiters. They use weaknesses to their own advantage, and basically believe in a two-species-model: They are the superior subspecies, the rest is pure material to be exploited.
    In Sociobiology I think it was EO Wilson, who developed the hawk-dove model. But SB concentrated on population-dynamics.
    Anyway. Hayek made quite some revealing remarks along the line of Ayn Rand.

    I.3) the ‘common people’, i.e. those who just want to live adecent live within a decent framework of belief. Maybe 95 to 99%.
    They are not viscerally involved of what the ‘belief’ is. They trust, that those dedicated to working on beliefs do their work, as they do theirs.

    II) beliefs.

    There seem to me currently (200-1000 years) two basic types in western society:
    a) a religious belief, which aided in the exploitation eg of the Americas, or, in Europe, in the acquistion of LOTS of land and property for ‘spiritual’ purposes, which have not all been bad.
    Monasteries preserved quite a lot of the past.
    But this is a tradeoff, we can never evaluate anymore.

    eg the complete loss of Aristotle, if there had not been any copyists in the monasteries.
    Difficult indeed.
    The burning of Alexandria
    ( Bibliotheca Alexandrina)

    b) a secular belief, homo oeconomicus and the mythical marketplace and such.
    The last one, wo seemed to notice the connection of both, seems to be Max Weber with his ‘protestant ethics’.

    The tough part is about the generations of actors over the centuries.

    Maybe I write something about that.

    You possibly are the last Mohican here in this thread, but never mind.
    If the audience is NIL, I am not yet an idiot.
    It is just, that the audience is missing.
    Just Joking.

    If I have a valuable idea, I will post it.

    b) beliefs

  163. Formerly T-Bear

    For: groo

    I don’t know if it will help your search but Robert Fisk of The Independent has this:

    Your tribe isn’t the only one whose inheritors have ghosts to bury and spirits to disseminate; this happens with all tribes regardless of how far up the ladder of civilization they climb; there is no one cause nor are there exact tipping points which send tribes into the maelstrom of cultural insanity and wanton killing. However probable there is a common thread involved in all cases, the probability is most likely to have two characteristics. One is the construct of their world has belief as a foundation. The other has the lie, the falsehood as the currency for social and political power. An Irish barrister, a Peter Charleton wrote of his professional experience in “Lies in a Mirror, An Essay on Evil and Deceit”, ISBN 1-84218-101-7. In the book, it is related that the common thread to criminal behavior also had those characteristics as well when carefully analyzed. Between belief and lies is a fog that obscures the cardinal directions to being human, whether as a tribal member or as an individual. Hopefully this will contribute some light into your enquiries.

  164. LaughingCat

    @Morocco Bama

    Hey genius, Max Keiser is filthy rich and set for life. He created and sold HSX to Cantor Fitzgerald for millions. He also had a successful filmmaking company and sold that as well. He doesn’t create newsletters or write books. He is not profiting off doom and gloom.

    As for Gerald Celente, he does sell a newsletter, but he offers discounted prices to people who can’t afford the normal subscription. He has some really good ideas that can help this country, and actually, he is not really doom and gloom as he has said that this is not the end of the world, but rather a new era where we will have to tighten our belts, buy high quality goods that locally produced, and run government locally. That’s hardly end of the world fearmongering. Now, if you had actually spent some time listening to these people instead of just catching a headline or listening to a soundbite, you wouldn’t have made such a stupid fucking comment. Get your facts straight, stupid FUCK.

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