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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 46,179

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I do.

I have a big problem with:

1. Judging people by what they are wearing; as long as it's clean, in good repair, and fits well, it shouldn't matter. The shallowness inherent in the concept of "professional dress" repels me. It kind of reminds me, in a milder way, of deforming the feet of upper class Chinese baby girls; a status symbol that sorts and limits us.

2. Having worn "professional dress" when necessary, I know that it restricts my physical movement and activity. No, thanks.

3. Taking things to the dry cleaners; I expect my clothes to wash and wear. As a busy professional, I don't have time for anything else, and dry cleaning, while improving, is not environmentally friendly. AND, since I tend to spill, food, drink, and ink, they can't be too expensive to replace when stains don't come out.

To be honest, when I see a suit, my gut automatically tells me, "Snake. Don't trust him or her." Maybe that's just my working class roots reacting. I freely admit to bias.

I dress for comfort in the environment I'm working in. I can do so without being sloppy. Thankfully, in this region, that's good enough. Being comfortable allows me to focus on my job, instead of on what people with limited capacity to see others think. And there certainly IS an element of PR in my profession; I've discovered that once people have worked with you, they tend to see you as a professional, instead of seeing what you are wearing.

Because that's what a professional is; someone who practices a profession. "Professional" is the person, not the clothes.

I got a great public education

in California, before prop 13.

And I had sewing and cooking classes. No power tools or auto shop, but touch-typing that has served me well my whole life. I got my "other" skills with livestock, with digging and planting and mulching and pruning and hay hooks and hoof picks and cleaning and repairing leather tack and grooming and fence repair and driving a stick shift (3 on the column in that old truck) and changing tires and so many other things working on a ranch.

My high school taught some of everything to everybody, and if we wanted to go to college, our counselors told us which classes were necessary for which types of universities we planned to attend, and we took them.

I included, and include, among my friends many who did not attend college. That didn't mean that they weren't intelligent, just that they had different goals. And, throughout my life, I've depended on many people who didn't attend college to perform vital services that I didn't learn how to do for myself. And they make just as much money as I do with my college degree doing so. Some of them make more.

It's true that today's Trump supporters don't "get" some really vital pieces of the big picture. And the public education system is partly at fault, having been dumbed down to simplistic thinking. That has nothing whatsoever to do with "Common Core;" those standards are another whole topic.

Start with Ronald Reagan, who wanted to abolish the DOE. Whose administration published "A Nation At Risk" as part of its determined effort to attack public education and public ed teachers, to devalue them in the national culture. That's an effort that was wildly successful.

That led to the adamant "back to the basics" push, which fed the public on eloquent rhetoric about focusing on basics and neglected to mention that critical thinking was, and is, not considered "basic." So we get generations of people who, unless they were preparing for college, were not taught critical thinking skills. Not only were those skills not taught, but any effort to do so was fucking HAMMERED by the propagandists shaping the national thinking over the airwaves, so that parents began complaining, loudly, at site and district levels whenever their children were expected, in school, to question ANYTHING. Because, happening at the same time, we goy the de-regulation of the airwaves and the rise of propaganda-driven talk radio and tv; propaganda can influence anyone.

That was the rise of an anti-intellectual agenda on the right, keeping the masses unthinking followers of media leaders. It also includes, though, the rise of Democratic neo-liberalism, which includes neo-liberal education policies that build on the anti-intellect, anti-teacher, anti-public ed foundation laid by the neo-cons; the agenda to blame teachers for "failing" and privatize public education.

The generations of students I teach these days come from parents who want very simple, linear, black-and-white, literal worksheets and questions, and who complain when I ask their students to think. Many of them are Trump supporters. Do I feel superior to them? I don't look at it that way. I look through a different lens:

I'm grateful for the education that I got, and I consider it my duty to pass it on to my students and their families. It's not about judging them, but about paying it forward. It's about unconditional love for my students and their families, and about doing what I can to weed and prepare soil and plant seeds that may, someday, take root. If they don't remember, nor use, anything I teach them, at the very least they will remember that school offered them a safe, respectful environment and their teacher cared about them. That in itself is the best response to the anti-everything-education poison that I can offer. Still, they do remember more than that. They do get skills that will help them. And when they reach adulthood, have established themselves more independently, and their prefrontal cortices are fully developed, the thinking skills I introduced and reinforced can help them grow.

If you need someone to blame, don't blame the system. Blame the voters that voted for, and supported, politicians who degraded the system. And don't hate the Trump supporters; that only pushes them further away. To change their thinking, they have to be open to listening to you. That will never happen if you give them good reason to slam the doors in your face.

That's an important factor.

During the Clinton administration, laws were passed that did a disservice, and thus angered, many who had traditionally supported Democrats. The Clintons ARE supposed moderates, and they are the power brokers of the party. So yes, Democrats have contributed to the dissent.

Think about it.

Unregulated airwaves and political radio...that's propaganda, and people allow the emotional centers of their lizard brain to react, bypassing their logic and reason centers. It's not just for Republicans. Right here on DU, how many posts are there every day, every weekend, about the political talk shows on teevee and how "great" those that say what DUers want to hear are, and how angry do people get at hearing something they don't agree with? Opinions have become sacred, and fighting enemies is a sacred sport. Enough so that people line up on the couch in front of their teevees for political talk like it's the superbowl, to cheer their "side" on and hate the other.

So sacred, in fact, that Democrats can't stand to hear dissent within the ranks, which is why even Democrats here at DU are silenced and tombstoned when they do. Dissent is not looked at as an opportunity for a substantive discussion and evolution of ideas that bring people together, but as something that must be silenced, squashed, and kicked out. The effect of those efforts is to further disenfranchise and anger people, which feeds divisiveness.

It's a national disgrace, imo, and it's not restricted to Republicans or to the political or religious right, although they certainly are a large part of the problem.


Now I really am late for work, because I sat here and watched this whole thing. It was worth it. I'll leave it here for you; perhaps it's been discussed here before, and I just missed it, but it's still worth the time:


A quote

from Fateful Lightning, A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction, by Allen C. Guelzo, which is in turn a paraphrase of Allan Nevins:

Dominated by "stereotypes of each other, Northerners and Southerners were possesed by "fear," and "fear was largely the product of ignorance, and ignorance--or misinformation--largely the product of propaganda."


I want open borders.

I'm not sure I want to ban guns.

I don't like guns. I don't now, and never have, owned a gun. I wish people didn't worship them, and I wish people didn't, deliberately or in ignorance, misinterpret the 2nd amendment.

That said, I think that banning them...a "war on guns"...would work just as effectively as the "war on drugs." It would make the problem worse, not better.

I'd like stricter, and more strictly enforced, regulations. Hand in hand with that, I'd like a campaign to change this country's sick, dysfunctional addiction to fear, hate, rage, needy insecurity, and phallic inadequacy that feeds the gun culture. Somewhere in there, knocking the NRA off its damned pedestal would be good, too.

I've been put in mind

of that old story about the two wolves, and which one we feed.


Our culture thrives on hate. It shouldn't be a surprise to see the United States burning up with hatred. We've been whipped into a frenzy of hatred and its mirror, fear, over my lifetime.

It seems like every group, even those that supposedly don't hate, have at least one other group that their own culture tells them that they can legitimately, with permission, hate.

Liberals and conservatives hate each other. Capitalists and socialists. Democrats and Republicans. Right here on DU, Democrats and the Democratic Party are protected, but it's expected that one hates Republicans.

Racial and ethnic fear and hatred; religious hatred; gender hatred; sexual hatred, identity hatred, political hatred...the list is endless.

And it's augmented by our owned and controlled media. Even when we KNOW this, how many still legitimize that media by tuning in and then spreading the word?

Healing happens when we set hatred aside. We don't have to hate those we disagree with; more progress is made if we reach out to them, if we work to find and build on commonalities instead of keeping our focus on the differences that divide us.

That's true on the outside, in our country, and it's true within ourselves as individuals in our own little worlds.

Cancer is here to stay. Mend it, don't try to end it.

Got it.

You could substitute all kinds of ills for "free trade," or neo-liberalism. Disease. Violence. Greed. Fear. Hate. Ignorance.

Why would we not want to end those ills, any ills? Why the message of lost hope? It doesn't exactly motivate anyone to participate, to be active, to do anything but fearfully obey the overseers.

But then, that's the point.

How the European Union Turned Into a Neoliberal Nightmare

This is why the issue cannot be dumbed down to simplistic, ignorant, hateful xenophobia. It's a typical hallmark of neoliberalism, to divide social and economic issues, and keep the focus on social issues while keeping the economy in the hands of the 1%. It's dismaying, and, unfortunately not surprising, to see so many Americans from the supposed left supporting the neoliberal EU.

Some of us support a political revolution in the U.S. One major target of that revolution is the eradication of neoliberalism. To truly accomplish that, it's going to have to be a global effort. I don't know if leaving the EU is an effective step or not, but I know that it's not just about immigrants.

In the U.S., we've seen a season of great discontent. That's what's fueling the rise of Trump. Masses are angry. From the right, the rise of hate, the rise of fascism, is happening. From the left, it's a rise against neoliberalism. And neoliberalism is a cause of the anger from both sides.

For those who oppose Brexit...what alternative methods for abolishing neoliberalism are you suggesting? It seems like that might be a more productive conversation, rather than suddenly becoming a big supporter of the neoliberal EU.

Voting to leave the EU is a no-brainer for the Left. The European Union is remote, racist, imperialist, anti-worker and anti-democratic: It is run by, of, and for the super-rich and their corporations. A future outside austerity and other economic blunders rests on winning the struggle to exit the EU, removing us from its neoliberal politics and institutions. Corporate bureaucrats in Brussels working as agents of the big banks and transnationals’ now exert control over every aspect of our lives. Neoliberal policies and practices dominate the European Commission, European Parliament, European Central Bank, European Court of Justice and a compliant media legitimises the whole conquest. This has left the EU constitution as the only one in the world that enshrines neoliberal economics into its text. Therefore the EU is not—and never can be—either socialist or a democracy.

Against the left’s strategic case for exit is relentless blither and blather from the elitist liberal commentariat: the EU is a social-democratic haven that protects us from the nasty Tories is their litany and verse. This is an absurd fantasy: by design the EU is a corporatist, pro-capitalist establishment. Therefore, it strains credulity that the bulk of the Parliamentary Labour Party and a rump of the trade union movement believe in the myth of Social Europe. The late Bob Crow was bang on the money when he said: “social EU legislation, which supposedly leads to better working conditions, has not saved one job and is riddled with opt-outs for employers to largely ignore any perceived benefits they may bring to workers. But it is making zero-hour contracts and agency-working the norm while undermining collective bargaining and full-time, secure employment.”

The only thing that should remain is the truth: a social Europe was never part of the European Union super-state project. How could it be? The EU has always travelled on the “free trade” train alongside “free” movement of capital, business-austerity, flexible labour markets, low pay, privatisation of public services and the eradication of welfare states. These were not just random policy proscriptions, but specifically designed by ‘free-market’ fanatics. It was the deepening and integration of the EU project that allowed unelected policy makers, driven by the powerful EU corporate lobby, to circumvent and eradicate the social rights that were won by workers in the aftermath of World-War-Two. Creating democratic deficits in all the EU institutions and policy-making by unaccountable technocrats enabled and accelerated this process of dismantling rights. This arrangement ensured the neoliberal Holy Trinity of public spending cuts, privatisation and the removal of trade union rights could be enforced with little contestation.

Neoliberal logic is insidious and some trade union leaders in Britain seem bewildered by it all and continue to argue that some kind of utopian Social Europe exists, offering protection for workers in Britain. In reality the Social Chapter, while it potentially gave some extra legal protection on a few issues, was never much more than crumbs: a gesture to disguise the reality of the European Union as a bosses union. What protects workers in Britain is not the social rights from benevolent bureaucrats in Brussels, but our collective strength and ability to organise and take action.


I've pondered this question for some years.

I've observed "my" side, and I've seen many of the same knee-jerk reactions, the same repeating of slogans about issues, and, often, the same rationalizing process when a Democrat doesn't do what would be expected in support of an issue.

Part of my observation has been to note the constant mantra of media, and the dangers of right-wing radio and tv, while "my" side is just as dependent, and just as needy when it comes to needing someone on the airwaves to justify a position.

I note this from the outside, because I've never really tuned in to political talk radio/tv. I have, though, seen, here at DU from the very beginning, daily multiple threads about what talking heads on tv or radio say.

I have noted that, at DU, it's perfectly acceptable to use epithets and name calling to put down Republicans, as long as we don't do the same to Democrats.

I've long thought that many Democrats and Republicans often mirror each other.

I don't hate anybody. I find hate to be counterproductive and self-destructive. I don't hate. I disagree, and I oppose, and sometimes I do so vehemently. That's not the same thing as hate. I find that so many people don't understand that; they automatically assume that opposing something or someone requires hate. I sometimes wonder if there isn't an addiction to hate, like adrenaline.

I also think that making sure that people are all caught up in fear and hate makes it easier to manipulate them, makes it easier to ensure that they won't question, won't dissent, will be "loyal."
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