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Jack Rabbit

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Sacramento Valley, California
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 45,984

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"There would be no reason to keep it so secret if it was in the interest of the public"

That, the last word for Yves Smith, is true.

That would mean that if America were actually a democracy, the default position of the people's representatives would be to oppose the TPP. To fast track this agreement when no member of Congress is allowed to see the whole thing, or even to bring it up for any kind of vote under those circumstances, is like signing a contract without reading the fine print.

The push to ram the TPP through Congress as quickly as possible without public discussion is just further evidence that America is an oligarchy in which corporate masters are aristocrats who presume to know what is best for the whole society and, as aristocratic classes have don throughout history, make decisions conforming to their own narrow interests and tell the unwashed masses that starving to death is good for them. That is the sum of John Galt's speech from Atlas Shrugged.

We, the People, have a right to read the TPP before our representatives in the legislature vote on it. We have a right to discuss this matter among ourselves, with the expectation that their will be a full discussion and airing of the agreement in a congressional debate before it is voted up or down. This whole process is an attempt to make fundamental law without consulting the people or even allowing the representatives of the people to be fully informed. It is a process that violates the principle that government is legitimate only if it is government with the consent of the governed.

Under these circumstances, any congressman who is prepared to support this agreement that he cannot read or streamline its passage is no true representative of the people of his district or state. It is simply not OK to be OK with that.

Let's get this straight: there are very few conservatives in the GOP nowadays

Anyone, including another woman (are you listening, Mrs. Schlafly?), who believes a woman is expected to oppose abortion in any and all circumstances without even an understanding of the issue from a woman's perspective and is otherwise perfectly all right with giving men the authority to tell women what to think or do is a misogynist.

The belief that such an arbitrary, unnatural hierarchy is mandated by either nature or something supernatural is by definition right wing. There are no kings, emperors, fascist leaders, slave masters or ‹bermenschen of any kind in this cosmos; those who claim there is a supernatural creator who made such beings and who is benevolently disposed to human beings believes in an oxymoron. Human beings are made partly as the aggressive, acquisitive beasts that Ayn Rand would have us believe we are, but also the social animal who reaches out to his fellows for love, companionship and a collective, cooperative effort toward a common goal that Ms. Rand would also deny that we are. The most primitive humans are free men and women who live in groups and hunt in packs. Consequently, objectivism is nonsense, society exists as an outgrowth of human nature and democracy is the outcome of the natural process of social decision making. There is no need for kings, emperors, priests, fascist leaders, slave masters or ‹bermenschen of any kind and that includes -- dare we say it? -- business leaders who think their judgment is better than that of any of us and outweighs the judgment of the rest of us put together.

No human is superior to another in any natural order. Rousseau said Man is born free, yet is everywhere in chains. Those chains, I maintain, are an illusion. As another great writer said, The fault, dear Brutus, is in ourselves, not in our stars, that we are underlings. The first act toward casting off our chains is to simply stop believing in them.

Women of America and the world, I cannot make you free; I merely inform you that you are free, as you probably already knew that you are free. Don't let these misogynists even think that they have any make-believe authority over you. Tell them loud and clear that they do not and that abortion is your right and has always been your right and will always be your right and no misogynist -- not Erick Erickson nor Ted Cruz nor Phyllis Schlafly -- can take it away from you.

I have a different point of view

This is in response to Mike Malloy's comments on Chris Kyle.

My years in the Army were during peacetime, but they still gave perspective. I have serious problems with the "just following orders" rationale not being a proper defense in all cases. Soldiers are trained to follow orders. Soldiers are often decorated for following orders. Soldiers are ofter given a court martial for not following. While in basic training, I saw a short film about war crimes and how an order to commit one is itself illegal and the soldier is has an obligation to disobey. Of course, the war crime dramatized was a redneck infantry lieutenant ordering that civilians be used as human shields and later that prisoners be executed because the captain wants a body count of at least three. It was a pretty cut and dried case of a war crime with no ambiguity whatsoever. It was all simple, neat and well-packaged. As drama, it was artless.

The reality, I suspect, is quite different. The same people to urge enlistees to "use your chain of command" also warn them that "shit rolls downhill." Too many troops I served with were afraid of authority, even of officers they thought were lunatics or idiots. If a soldier gets a questionable order in combat, my bet is that he will carry it out, no matter distasteful he finds it or how clearly illegal it is. He also knows if he disobeys, there will be repercussions directed his way. He knows his comrades in arms will be discouraged from giving witness against and that there will be a likelihood that up the chain of command, the accused officer's fellow officers will give him the benefit of the doubt against an enlistee.

I like to think I would have refused such an order, but in the heat of performing a live combat mission I cannot be sure how I would have acted.

I can't be accused of being "right wing-ized." I'd make an awfully bad wingnut.

Nor can I be accused of not being among those who tried to stop the war in Iraq before it started. I marched in the late winter/early spring to 2003. One day I was part of the largest anti-war demonstration ever seen in Sacramento. The next day I was part of over a quarter million marchers who jammed Market Street in San Francisco all the way from the Embarcadero to City Hall. Even counting my three years in the Army, March to stop the invasion of Iraq and my other anti-war activities at that time was the best service I ever gave my country.

Chris Kyle does not sound like an admirable person. If it weren't for joining the Navy, he sounds like someone who might have become a serial killer. One of my best friends has a son who served in Iraq. His Marine unit was in Fallujah. One night he was on guard duty. A suspicious looking approached the compound entrance. The young man told him stop. He told him to stop in Arablic. He picked up the language because he had positive interactions with the locals, unlike Chris Kyle. The man did not stop and the young Marine had to shoot and kill. It bothers him to this day. It bothers him even though, as it turns out, the man was, in fact, wearing a suicide bomb.

It's hard for me to think of Chris Kyle as a hero. He is the worst of America, a racist who goes overseas and enjoys murdering foreigners in their own country in order for US oil company tycoons to expropriate that country's natural wealth and isn't bothered by it.

As for my friend's son, he is a hero.

Dissenting: I wish it were BS

To make your point, you cite one of those among the powerful who still has the common sense to know that in the long run the market cannot go unregulated as it has for thirty years. It should come as no surprise that that is the only quote you can find, since most of those driving us driving us off a cliff, like the Koch brothers or Legs Dimon or Pretty Boy Lloyd don't make public statements about it. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and those assholes certainly aren't going to protect their plans from the sun. It's the same reason the TPP was negotiated in secret and remains secret.

Frankel is right: what we have is an "amoral", "irresponsible system." But it is the system we have and the Wall Street tycoons have paid good money to bribe politicians and influence elections to further their nefarious goals. The thesis presented by Messrs. Papantonio and Leopold is that Democrats, too, are sucking up Wall Street as much as Republicans. Perhaps not all Democrats, since Senator Warren clearly doesn't. Unfortunately, she and Senator Sanders, who shows his disdain for how the Democrats have bought into the prevailing corruption by running as an independent, are among the exceptions. The rule is represented by Senator Booker, who raises money from Wall Street and votes as they tell him to vote in return, as well has unholy trio of Clinton, Manchin and Schumer named in Pap's introduction.

Let's drop this party chauvinism. Let's take our blinders off. There is a real crisis in the economy and the Democrats in Congress and the administration have done far more to feed it than to relieve it. President Obama, too, must bear responsibility for feeding the crisis since he allowed Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer to let the Wall Street criminals off the hook with light fines when he should have thrown both of them out of the Justice Department, loudly and publicly, about half way through his first term.

Democrats are better than Republicans. The Affordable Care Act is a good beginning to health care reform. Democarats are better because they support a more inclusive society that allows more people to participate in the American dream. However, that makes precious little difference when the American dream can no longer be realized. The absence of gay marriage or even more affordable health insurance is not going to tear America apart before income inequality does. The only way to maintain this level of inequality is with a police state. Do you really think NSA spying is about al Qaida? Don't be so naive. You and I are the presumed enemies of the government over whom the government is keeping watch. There is no war on terror. There is a war for the planet's natural resources and the powerful expect your children and grandchildren and mine to fight and die to make them richer, while we and our posterity will not benefit a twit.

It does no good to dismiss RT with such a broad brush. I watch much of RT's content as it presented here or on YouTube and I still think that if the Russian people were smart then they would make a lamppost ornament out of Vladimir Putin.

The question before us is what are we going to do about income inequality. It certainly isn't to stay on the same course administrations of either party and the congresses controlled by either party have been steering for the last three and a half decades. The follow up question is can we still fix the problem at the ballot box. Personally, I would still like to think we can; however, given the ability of the powerful to corrupt and manipulate the system, I advise all of us to prepare our torches and pitchforks.

Multimedia idea: Can any do this and show us the result?

First, use this video from a thread that was locked in LBN for being in the wrong place . . .

Thanks to big_dog for today's comedy with Louie Gomert segment, even if it should have been posted here.

Now, who can get the audio from this and use it as background music in the above? . . .

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