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Of course the police are killing more innocent people nationwide, and committing other abuses, including sexual assaults, and physical assaults.  That's what happens when anti-democratic forces turn the police into a tool of oppression by militarizing it.

The bankers own the government and, acting as politicians paymasters, are instructing them to enact self-serving legislation.  Corporate cartels have captured the levers of power, helping turn the power of the state into a predatory system against the citizenry.

Members of the ruling elite are increasingly committing crimes with total impunity.

As a result induced poverty is being forced on the citizenry. A slew of laws undermining human, civil, and constitutional rights are passed around the country with blinding speed.  The judicial system is becoming increasingly draconian and oppressive (for average people).

The Surveillance Police state's main purpose is to secure corporate cartels' domination over the population.

Anti-democratic forces are hallowing out the state from within, oppressing and exploiting the citizenry, ravaging our natural environment, polluting the air, poisoning our water (from coast to coast).

The MSM serves as a mind-numbing propaganda machine... People are being spied on; social justice groups are being infiltrated, monitored, and subjected to sabotage.

In the meantime there are still people who believe we live in a functioning democracy and see all these things as individual and unrelated events.

Of course, others are getting ready to revolt (non-violent resistance/uprising), having realized the true nature of the system.

Question: What accounts for the very large segment of the population that hasn't come to terms with the true nature of the system?

The reason we see all this absurdity around us, including SWAT teams bursting into animal sanctuaries to kill a baby deer, people being subjected to endless hours of cavity searches, enemas, and colonoscopies just for rolling on as stop sign, women being subjected to vaginal searches by police in the middle of roads during routine police stops, police killing innocent people with total impunity, bankers stealing trillions of dollars, is because many still believe we live in a functioning democracy and are somehow hoping that there is somebody, anybody in power who truly gives a shit about these abuses and will do something about it.  It ain't going to happen.  To expect otherwise at this point is, well, absurd.

The sooner people come to terms with this reality, the sooner we can get on with the (non-violent) revolt!


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Sockpuppets & Trolls Watch: Their aim is to disrupt, to annoy, to introduce "noise" in order to prevent meaningful discussions of issues.  Their tactics include casting aspersions (attack on the reputation or integrity), and ad hominems, where instead of addressing issues, they attack the character of people.  They also engage in mockery, and logical fallacies.  A good source of information about the tactics used by sockpuppets, trolls and hacks is "The 15 Rules of Web Disruption."  Once you familiarize yourself with those tactics, it is pretty easy to spot the potential troll.  Once spotted, the best thing is to ignore them. [Image credit: Jacob Bøtter from Copenhagen, Denmark]
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Comment Preferences

  •  Divide and conquer is one thing people forget (8+ / 0-)

    about even though it's a tactic that goes like, way back.  Two party system, hello.  Propaganda and literal brainwashing and conditioning from early childhood.  I Pledge of Allegience to the Flag of the God Bless American Exceptionalism, that's a big one relative to world affairs.  That goes back to the Indian wars and Manifest Destiny.  The War of Terror is the same thing only different.  They're all savages man.
    If knowing that your government spies on everybody and everything on the planet, including yourself doesn't get your goat, I don't know what will.  If knowing that your government kills millions of people around the world for rich people doesn't do it, or knowing that 85 people have more wealth than 3.6 billion people, half the planet doesn't rock you boat, it must be sinking.

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 09:38:22 PM PST

    •  The part (7+ / 0-)

         of the divide and conquer that gets me the most is I am in TOTAL astonishment at a basic unreality, that is sooo completely illegal and unconstitutional; "fracking poisonous chemicals are a trade secret." That somehow that unreality is accepted as non-pulsed normalcy. What so astonishes me is how were/are they able to mass manipulate the public with something that prior to chainybushco would have been an outrage and stopped.
         I use just this example, there are more. What has changed in how they manipulate is the question I ponder?
         Replies: blah money, blah, blah. The question is, Why we are not inventive enough as AMERICANS? The question is why poison?
         The answer is out there. I just ponder in my absolute astonishment. It isn't that hard to understand. What keeps people from challenging such absurdity? What is it, what is the key that keeps being utilized to dull peoples common sense. I ponder.  

      March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

      by 3rock on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:12:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Hallowing" or hollowing? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hey338Too

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 10:35:05 PM PST

  •  We know what you meant, Ray (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3rock, Major Tom, kharma

    my typing is worse.

    May you live in interesting times--Chinese curse

    by oldcrow on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 11:13:21 PM PST

  •  Hi Ray (5+ / 0-)

    Any luck getting folks to the rally on the 27th?

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 11:22:00 PM PST

  •  that's one way to say it (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure the cost of revolt has a lot to do with matters. It's the lucky ones who are living paycheck to paycheck and the luckier still who have $1,000 somewhere to draw on (I don't).

    Whatever these negatives that you describe accurately but in a harsh light, action to make things better is both your call and our challenge. Arguably the problem for life in society all through history has been how to struggle to make things better. Especially since there are folks trying hard to eliminate what you call revolt or what we would both consider constructive action.

    A new process is called for. Especially one that looks and is nice under total surveillance and that is somehow armored against agent provocateur infiltration. But then that's already a society again (as a subset). How do the sincere participants keep it about more than guys getting laid and status-consciousness? How would outreach and training be handled?

    I do not mean to "put down" any of where you're coming from.

  •  Putting on my (admittedly old and tattered) (9+ / 0-)

    Philosopher's hat:
    Reductio ad absurdum is only valid when it builds on assertions which are actually present in the argument it is deconstructing.

    The argument which you are trying to deconstruct or show as absurd, as far as I can determine it, is that we live in a functional democracy. There seems to be a second implicit premise, underlying your arguments, that we once did live in a functional democracy. Since you have omitted the definition of what a functional democracy would actually be, or look like, except perhaps as a negative sum of the assumptions you present, you've set up no basis for the deconstruction. The claim of reductio ad absurdum fails.

    I would point out that simply describing something as absurd has nothing to do with a reductio ad absurdum argument.

    Question: What accounts for the very large segment of the population that hasn't come to terms with the true nature of the system?
    (I'm assuming this means that turnout for Monday's protest was a bit light.)

    Possible answers:

    Perhaps they have, and your actions don't seem to offer enough potential reward for them.
    Perhaps they have, but they are unwilling to dump the current system without having some idea of how to build a better one.
    Perhaps they have, and are concentrating their energy in ways which do not comport with with your views of necessary action.
    Perhaps your assumptions about the true nature of the system are incorrect.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:21:25 AM PST

    •  Not quite right (8+ / 0-)
      Reductio ad absurdum
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: "reduction to absurdity"), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin: argument to absurdity), is a common form of argument which seeks to demonstrate that a statement is true by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its denial,[1] or in turn to demonstrate that a statement is false by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its acceptance. First appearing in classical Greek philosophy (the Latin term derives from the Greek "εις άτοπον απαγωγή" or eis atopon apagoge, "reduction to the impossible", for example in Aristotle's Prior Analytics),[1] this technique has been used throughout history in both formal mathematical and philosophical reasoning, as well as informal debate.

      The "absurd" conclusion of a reductio ad absurdum argument can take a range of forms:

          Rocks have weight, otherwise we would see them floating in the air.
          Society must have laws, otherwise there would be chaos.
          There is no smallest positive rational number, because if there were, it could be divided by two to get a smaller one.

      The first example above argues that the denial of the assertion would have a ridiculous result, against the evidence of our senses. The second argues that the denial would have an untenable result: unacceptable, unworkable or unpleasant for society. The third is a mathematical proof by contradiction, arguing that the denial of the assertion would result in a logical contradiction (there is a smallest rational number and yet there is a rational number smaller than it).

      Here's one for you: If god had meant us to vote, she would have given us candidates.

      Here's another: If mere voting could overcome the wealthy class, they would have made it illegal.

      Hahahah.

      If we had a functioning democracy, the senate would not be a wholly owned subsidiary of the wealthy class. I think anyone who's been paying attention knows what Ray meant.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:47:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps... (7+ / 0-)
      (I'm assuming this means that turnout for Monday's protest was a bit light.)

      Possible answers:

      Perhaps they have, and your actions don't seem to offer enough potential reward for them.
      Perhaps they have, but they are unwilling to dump the current system without having some idea of how to build a better one.
      Perhaps they have, and are concentrating their energy in ways which do not comport with with your views of necessary action.
      Perhaps your assumptions about the true nature of the system are incorrect.

      I don't know what kind of turnout Ray had. In Portland, there are planned events all the time, and I think people are a bit fatigued. They sense, perhaps, it may be building, but not there yet. Direct action works. Ray put himself out there. Only a status quo suporting fool would ridicule him for having the courage. It takes advance organizing, and it works best in certain moments of history. Ray was bold in trying. That's a lot more than many others have done.

      Mayday is just up ahead. We always get a big turnout on Mayday here, with the IWW well represented, and many other groups. We shall see. I think a lot of people have enormous expectations (topple the government) and get disappointed. In the meantime, we need to build organizations.

      It takes patience. There have been successes.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 01:01:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So true.... (6+ / 0-)
        Only a status quo suporting fool would ridicule him for having the courage.

        If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

        by kharma on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:19:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have never questioned Ray's courage in this, (5+ / 0-)

          only his arguments. To impute ridicule is to assume much, much more about my words, or arguments, than they legitimately imply.

          That said, a simple statement like "Only x people showed up - I'm going to do more work getting the word out before next Monday" would have been enough. Ray has been diarying about this event, and the ones to follow, for the last couple of weeks, so the silence seems a bit deafening.

          I'm assuming he plans to do it again next Monday, and all the Mondays thereafter for the next hundred weeks, health permitting, so having an initial reference point would be valuable.

          Aside from that, the rest of my reply was a direct response to the specific question he asked, which surely was not intended to be purely rhetorical.

          At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

          by serendipityisabitch on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:54:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What is your interest (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Pensador

            in turnout all about? You were unsupportive of Ray. Why should Ray think you are asking out of sincerity? You've made it clear you're not exactly a proponent of direct action, have you not?

            Maybe you don't know this, but events are planned all the time for direct action. Sometimes only a handful come, sometimes thousands come. It's very hard to predict.

            I think part of what happened with Ray, is justly or not, there are a lot of experienced activists and groups already in existence who would wonder who is sponsoring the new event, and what is intended. For example, people knew what and who Adbusters is, and it has a readership. When it called for Occupy Wallstreet (but left it up to people to do it) it was at an opportune moment, after the Wall Street trashing of the economy. People were in a mood to respond. The timing was perfect.

            Ray is coming on the heels of that, but many of the core activists in various cities who got Occupy off the ground in are still doing projects. Many are involved, and have their ears to the ground. They would wonder, what is this new effort? Who is behind it? Why should I support it? What will make it different? It takes a combination of factors to get something like this going. For example, Graeber and others in New York were well plugged into the Global Justice Movement against the WTO, the IMF, and could bring in other experienced activists to a new effort. It didn't really just happen in a vacuum. And despite this, Graeber wrote that he and others had low expectations for turnout, and the result was over two thousands camps all around the world.

            So, it takes a lot of time and effort to get something new off the ground. One would think any citizen should be able to call for an action, and get a response. But it takes a coalescing of various factors to make these things take off. It's just the way it is.

            If only every person who wants a better world would have the interest and passion that Ray has.

            If a person doesn't try, nothing ever happens.

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:02:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for noticing. n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kharma, 3rock
        •  Strawman (4+ / 0-)

          When  tactics or strategies are proposed and attempted, it isn't ridicule to inquire as to how they worked out. When such false labeling is used as pretext to impugn the questioner as a "status quo supporting fool", it amounts to little more than an effort to avoid answering legitimate inquiry.

          Worse, it likely insures that future efforts will be nothing but repetition of what proved inadequate in the past.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:01:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you notice (3+ / 0-)

            you have done some false labeling. I didn't directed my comment to a specific person. I don't know if people were ridiculing. Therefore I did not specify anyone as a status quo supporting fool.

            On the other hand, the sense I get from some here is that they are distinctly less than genuine. Some  posts here are not exactly shouting out with sincerity. Why should anyone be required to treat these kind of responses with respect and accept them as wanting honest dialogue, when it isn't reciprocated?

            Shall we play more bingo? Or sneeringly associate people with Stalinist propaganda tactics? Or play "who gets the last word" game again?

            It's as if some here view themselves as deserving of respect, but not required to reciprocate. I have often made the observation that people who view themselves as more representative of the status quo tend to see themselves as having the privilege of the prevailing majority.

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:45:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  As I noted in Ray's previous diary where you... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

        ... questioned my "sincerity":

        Sincerity?

        It's an observation. Ray is an army of one. He'll be having coffee with himself on Monday.

        by Bob Johnson on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:10:56 AM CST

        Ray has not been successful in any of his endeavors for one simple reason, as I also noted in that previous diary in a thread where poster, erratic, agreed with Ray's take on principle, but differed slightly in reasoning. Ray, as is his wont, jumped immediately to his "You're-a-defender-of-the-status-quo" schtick because erratic didn't agree with Ray's point of view 100%.

        My comment to Ray was:

        An alternative viewpoint that doesn't align with your self-reinforcing narrative 100% is labeled "staunch support of the status quo."

        I don't think you're really serious about building any kind of movement. Someone who was serious about building a movement would seek out ways to work with people like erratic who no doubt agree with you on the fundamentals, but bring alternative interpretations to the table.

        I think you're far more concerned with "being right" than you are with "building a movement."

        Ray isn't a "courageous" figure taking to the streets. He's a one-man band. Because his tactics exclude rather than include. He even excludes people who, for the most part, agree with his views. If they aren't wholly in line, they are excluded and derided as "defenders of the status quo," among other insults Ray is prone to fling at those who don't toe his line.

        Tossing aside those who may be with you 85% because they aren't with you 100% is no way to build a movement.

        "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

        by Bob Johnson on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 01:12:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bob... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          6412093, Ray Pensador

          Do you really think Erratic is interested in direct action? Are you? Are any of these familiar critics here interested in that effort? Do you, or Erratic, even have a definition of direct action?

          (Hint: It isn't about asking for permission from our dear leaders).

          I do have an interest in these kinds of discussions, so I read some of Ray's diaries. But I've not invested my time or commitment to his plans, just an observer more or less.

          I have a reason for being here. What's your's? Or Erratic's? Or Serendipity-is-a-bitch's?

          Is it sincere, or just oppositional? I think your past behavior leaves no doubt. Bob, I'm not blind. I mean, ffs, you don't really think motivations on all sides aren't stark naked for all to see?

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:11:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hi Zhenren (3+ / 0-)

            Speaking for myself, I'm interested in direct action.  I imagine many of these other folks are interested also, otherwise they wouldn't really care what Ray writes about.

            Frankly, I thought about personally demonstrating outside a bank in Portland on Ray's Monday of action.

            I was one of the few (perhaps the only one) who observed Ray's day of action last October by giving money to Kos. When I asked how that had gone in Ray's next diary, I and others were roundly insulted for even bringing it up.

            You know, if Ray has said something like hey fellow Kossers, who can help out on this?  641 in Oregon, XXX in Chicago, ZZZ in New York, can you spare an hour please on Monday?

            I'd have been out there.  I even had language dreamed up for a large two-sided sandwich board:

            "We gave $100 billion to the Banks, they didn't even say thanks."  And on the flip side, "support your local credit union."

            But the last time I recced one of Ray's diaries, he took out after me in an angry way, that no one else on Daily Kos does.  I thought he even cussed me out (Called me a PA) but he denied it. So why should I go out of my way to support Ray's call to action?

            And Zhenren, since you believe in direct action, what did you do on Ray's day of action, if anything? And if not, why not?

            I hope it is ok if I attend your May Day rally, you are in Portland also, yes?

            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

            by 6412093 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:34:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Mayday rally (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              6412093, Ray Pensador

              is not "mine". It happens every year in Portland. It is open to all who support labor. There is a lot of union involvement, including the IWW. Since Mayday would not exist if not for anarchist history (see the Haymarket martyrs) anarchist groups will be there, as well, as they always are. Union flags, IWW flags, anarchist flags, communist flags, will all be flying.

              As to Ray's Monday event, I have several reasons for not getting involved, among which work requirements (and avoiding being terminated, and resulting homelessness) were a factor.  I'm also interested to see how this movement proceeds. There are countless events that go on in Portland, and I have to decide which I can participate in, since my time, and freedom from work, is no longer what it once was. I'm trying to fix this problem.

              "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

              by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:10:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  ZhenRen (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ZhenRen

                I am sorry to hear that your work requirements are onerous.  I hope you can get May Day off, and I hope I see you at the rally.

                 I'm warming up to the IWW.  They are helping the paper workers union big time and I'm grateful to them for that volunteer activism.

                I hadn't hung out with the IWW in the past because I've caught flack from some of them for my associations with AFL-CIO unions.

                My understanding is that a Capenters' Union rep, name of McGuire was the originator of May Day.  That was back when there were socialists in the Carpenters.

                “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

                by 6412093 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:32:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I wrote a diary about (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ray Pensador, 6412093

                  the origins of the International Workers Day. It stems from eight anarchists falsely accused and convicted for a bomb explosion on May 4, 1886, known as the Haymarket Affair, when police arrived to break up a peaceful rally. Four of the men were hanged, one took his own life rather than be hung, and the rest had their sentences commuted after 6 years (later pardoned, the Governor declaring the men innocent). There was an international outcry on behalf of the innocent men.

                  As is often the case for much of anarchist history, and their important role in the labor movement, not many realize May Day (as a labor day commemorating the Haymarket martyrs and observed around the world) is the result of the important role of anarchists in the labor movement, and the push for an 8 hour day. The (statist) socialists and Stalinists tried to hijack the day as their own, but it is a day of labor solidarity worldwide.

                  Here's a brief overview:

                  http://anarchism.pageabode.com/...

                  Here's my diary:

                  http://www.dailykos.com/...

                  "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                  by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:59:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Of course, ZhenRen (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ZhenRen

                    you are right about May Day.   I was thinking about the origins of Labor Day.

                    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

                    by 6412093 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 10:21:25 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hey338Too, serendipityisabitch
            Do you really think Erratic is interested in direct action? Are you? Are any of these familiar critics here interested in that effort? Do you, or Erratic, even have a definition of direct action?
            So, somehow, you question everyone's motives but your own.

            Do you know what I do to effect change? Do you know what organizations I'm involved in, where I apply my time or what commitments I have made to change the inequality in this country?

            And do you know what erratic does?

            No, you don't. Hell, you're acting as poorly as Ray with a comment like that.

            I don't come on here posting about what I do to help others. But I am engaged in all sorts of organizations and activities that effect change. I have attended protests. I have worked to help low income kids get access to higher education. I have supported unions (I am a union member) and walked picket lines and worked to unionize other workers. I suspect most people who post here are engaged in similar activities. Probably true of erratic, too.

            Your know-it-all post about the motives of others is revealing. You and Ray can form a protest club of two. He'll buy you a coffee at the nice coffee shop across the street from the Bank of America location in San Fran.

            My point about Ray stands. He has been unsuccessful because he's exclusive and not inclusive. A successful movement is not exclusive.

            "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

            by Bob Johnson on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:37:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I've been involved in direct action for years! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZhenRen

            Check this small sample...

            San Diego - 2011


            Oakland - November 19, 2011

            San Francisco - October 12, 2013

            San Francisco - October 12, 2013

            Oakland - October 25, 2013

            Oakland - October 25, 2013

            Oakland - December 5th, 2013

            I've attended dozens of rallies and talked to hundreds of people; all kind of people including the homeless, teachers, business people, retired people, students... who attend these events.  I've been taking notes throughout the years and all that informs what I do as an activist.

            I've put together a number of resources on my website, used by hundreds of people a week.

            And about 500 people have signed up to my email lists.

            There is a lot more to come.

          •  ZhenRen, just a suggestion. Let's keep on with (0+ / 0-)

            the constructive dialogue, stay positive, engage good-faith commenters.  That's what I'm doing.  It's much better.

            As always, I do appreciate your insights, especially when it comes to non-hierarchical organizational concepts.

    •  I don't think this is quite right (6+ / 0-)
      The argument which you are trying to deconstruct or show as absurd, as far as I can determine it, is that we live in a functional democracy. There seems to be a second implicit premise, underlying your arguments, that we once did live in a functional democracy. Since you have omitted the definition of what a functional democracy would actually be, or look like, except perhaps as a negative sum of the assumptions you present, you've set up no basis for the deconstruction.
      Ray does seem to imply at least that we are farther than ever from a "functional democracy," but his argument doesn't seem to hinge on a past golden age. It does seem to assume that a "functional democracy" has certain unspecified characteristics that the present U.S. government doesn't have, but that some people think it does. To be taken seriously as an argument, that would have to be argued.

      It's also true that Ray's reference to the "absurdity" around us doesn't inspire confidence in his grasp upon the definition of "reductio ad absurdum." Moreover, I confess that in fact I don't see a close relationship between, e.g., women being subjected to gratuitous vaginal searches and the efforts of "corporate cartels" to dominate the population. Again, to be taken seriously as an argument, that would have to be argued.

      But I don't think it's intended seriously. I think the real and only point here is: the status quo is intolerable, and We Must Act. Ergo, any criticism of the diary constitutes a defense of the status quo.

      As for specifically what people think about the "true nature of the system," that really is an interesting set of questions.

      "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

      by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:47:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For many of us (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador

        these arguments have been long settled. It isn't an academic exercise in basic logic. I think Ray is writing for a different readership than those still debating whether the denial that we don't have a functioning democracy is absurd, or not.

        He likes to cut through the crap. Those who are getting hung up on the proper use of terms of logic are using that as a digression, since Ray is simply writing to his readership who understood him immediately.

        And as I recall, Ray's previous diaries, as well as countless others here by varied writers, have elucidated endlessly the dysfunction of our alleged democracy.

        This state of dysfunction is the status quo. The old political solutions of working for, and thus within, the system, are also part of that status quo.

        I think what bothers people is that they don't want to be though of as status quo supporters, and so they argue over what this means and they get snippy and defensive, and hide behind a facade of sophistry and digressive analysis, and quibbling over everything as a way to combat that.

        This, for example, just makes me smile at its academic pretentiousness and opportunism:

        It's also true that Ray's reference to the "absurdity" around us doesn't inspire confidence in his grasp upon the definition of "reductio ad absurdum."
        What's odd is just about anyone paying attention knew immediately what Ray was communicating with this. Few of these really care is he was using the term correctly. If communication is what is important,and if Ray's intended readership understood him, why does it even matter if it precisely fits the model or not (although I think it did)?. Some here (notice I said some) are just making the act of critiquing Ray a kind of opportunistic, meanignless nagging, revealing more a desire to "get Ray" than honestly critique his efforts.

        And this is blatantly obvious, to the point that denying it is absurd, and an insult in itself to continue with the ruse.

        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

        by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:48:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's a run-of-the-mill character assassination (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZhenRen

          campaign; it's been going on for several months.  The memes they're trying (desperately) to spread are: that I mistreat people for merely disagreeing with me; there have also been a constant drumming on paranoia, narcissism, dishonesty.

          It has been relentless, and it has been the same 4 to 6 users (by an large).

          They've also engaged in blatantly attacking people who are perceived as supporting my views, and in thread-jacking filling many of my diaries with hundreds of circular arguments posts... That also has a negative effect.

          I just now see it for what it is and won't engage these handful of folks any more.

          I'll stay the course writing with passion, commitment, and truthfulness...

          Thanks for plainly describing what you see.
           

        •  I think I put it better (3+ / 0-)
          I think the real and only point here is: the status quo is intolerable, and We Must Act. Ergo, any criticism of the diary constitutes a defense of the status quo.
          OK, you don't give a flying goddamn whether it makes sense, as long as you can tell he is on the right side.

          "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

          by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:05:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What, specifically doesn't make sense? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Pensador

            His use of the reductio ad absurdum phrase? It simply doesn't make sense to you, a notion which you haven't really supported. And you seem to think your vicissitudes of understanding apply to everyone, as if they are facts, rather than opinions.

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:53:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was quite specific (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Hey338Too, WB Reeves

              However, I can't force you, in this thread or any other, to respond to the substance of any comment that you nominally reply to.

              And you seem to think your vicissitudes of understanding apply to everyone, as if they are facts, rather than opinions.
              For what it's worth, I almost wish I felt that way. But as far as I can tell, that is far less true of me than of either you or Ray. As you said, "For many of us these arguments have been long settled."

              "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

              by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:29:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ray has made clear (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ray Pensador

                as have a large number of others, the basis to the view that our "democracy" is not functioning as advertised. Ray is not at all alone in this. Brilliant academics and scholars have the same view. Ray quotes them all the time.

                Your criticisms are actually, on close inspection, vague. You seem to have more of an attitude than a well supported argument.

                "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:37:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Since you've described the specifics as "vague" (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Hey338Too, HudsonValleyMark

                  you shouldn't have any trouble demonstrating that is the fact. Unsupported characterizations are simply hand waving.

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:22:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  (ducks goalposts) (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  serendipityisabitch
                  the basis to the view that our "democracy" is not functioning as advertised.
                  As if anyone had said that our democracy is functioning "as advertised." That's not just an excluded middle, it's an excluded most.
                  Brilliant academics and scholars have the same view. Ray quotes them all the time.
                  Umm, yes, brilliant academics and scholars agree that our democracy is not functioning as advertised. And if you construe that anything beyond that is small stuff not to be sweated, well, you have your reward in full. Thanks, brilliant academics!

                  "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

                  by HudsonValleyMark on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:04:03 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Heh (0+ / 0-)

                    More playing with words, once again. "As advertised" is an expression. This is not a court of law, wherein every statement is on trial.

                    I'm the author of my words, so I get to have the last word on the intended meaning.

                    Anyway, that you quibble with my words reveals your mindset. You don't like Ray's suggestions that the claim we have a democracy is absurd.

                    Why not be honest and admit that, and defend the "democracy" as you see it, rather than attack Ray's use of the English language.

                    "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                    by ZhenRen on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:39:39 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  almost funny (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      serendipityisabitch, WB Reeves
                      I'm the author of my words, so I get to have the last word on the intended meaning.
                      And everyone else's, too. We've seen it more than once.

                      Certainly I can't say what you intended the words "as advertised" to mean. However, unless you maintain that obviously you intended the words to mean precisely nothing whatsoever, my point stands.

                      Anyway, that you quibble with my words reveals your mindset.
                      We should all program that sentence into a keyboard macro: it would really save a lot of time around here. By all means let's stop paying attention to each other's words and talk about each other's mindsets, instead.

                      Just for the record, I think the proposition that "we have a democracy" is too vague to be worth discussion, except perhaps to clear the ground for a better discussion. The notion that I'm trying to fend off challenges to that proposition is, well, astonishing.

                      I'm done here. By all means continue talking to yourself.

                      "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

                      by HudsonValleyMark on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 03:19:09 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  With all of your dissembling (0+ / 0-)

                        It's hard to know what you're even arguing about. This often happens when one doesn't want to come right out and clearly state what their real underlying criticisms are, and instead hide behind arguments over everything else, such as whether or not a phrase from the study of logic was used properly.

                        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                        by ZhenRen on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 12:12:52 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

  •  Albuquerque, New Mexico's police are trigger (5+ / 0-)

    happy. Not only are they under federal investigation, but our Republican mayor is paying out tens of millions of dollars because cops here shoot first and ask questions later at their drinking hole.

    Many times I’ve returned. Never was I the same in any of my guises. I feel inside, my times before, with no memories of each journey. My soul’s shadows haunt all the paths it has traveled.

    by Wendys Wink on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:50:40 AM PST

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