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Amen. Signed, overeducated, underpaid and sexually frustrated.

A tad more serious, a half decade ago, I got the vague vision that I wanted, in fact, needed to "drop out." I felt like a crazy person because I hated the world I found myself living in and the systems and relationships I found myself a slave to. Everyone else seemed to be happy enough in it, why couldn't I be?

I hated the the fact that I felt more like a two dimensional avatar then a three dimensional person. Most people seemed happy enough to live out a life on social media. Maybe they made peace with their fate? When the average person can't afford to have children, to own a home, to afford land to grow things or raise things, to afford to be able to try to launch a business or several businesses, or even to run for office--- all accomplishments in the real world... I guess doing things in a digital world is satisfying enough? It wasn't for me, I felt like I was wasting away.

I deleted my social media accounts and felt better but it still wasn't enough. I felt infected with the shallowness of relating that is an effect of over a decade of hollowing out of possibilities, topped off with people failing to actually develop real lives and real personalities... so surprise, surprise they don't have much interesting to say in conversation, except to repeat memes.

As fate would have it, I found a way to drop out. I'm moving to an 11 acre rural property in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in South East Ohio. It's a decidedly unhip place (I tried Austin and Los Angeles) that no one is rushing to move to. My neighbors will be Amish families, antiques collectors and other characters, who still live in the analog world.

I love it. My goal is to ween myself as much off digital life as I can. And live some kind of neo-romanticism and try to rebuild an off-line life and community as much as possible with like minds.

As I shared my crazy vision with others, I was shocked about how many other people had the same longings...

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❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

(but don't forget that it started with TV. Decades of brainwashing to replace sensory, bodily reality with virtual reality. for years, it bothered me that at dinner parties people would talk about the movies and TV series episodes they'd seen. Didn't they have any actual experiences of their own?? Social media provided the mirage of a great leap forward because at least it was INTERACTIVE. You could talk back to it, talk with your friends through it, turn yourself into a more ideal, TV character of yourself on it. It was more real than TV but less vulnerable than reality.)

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Yes, the Eisenhower and Kennedy years were marked by rampant Marxist ideology. Lol

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Did it though? We didn't have "anarchists" bombing things in 1919?

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Awoman

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Cringeworthy! Cringeworthy! Most cringeworthy Libtard virtue signal since the 90's "namaste sister, namaste"

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I don't get it.

Is this some new term being bandied about?

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Oh, I get it. You're injecting sexism. Got it.

The word "amen" is derived from Hebrew "true".

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Oh for crying out loud at least try looking it up before getting snarky:

https://lmgtfy.app/?q=awoman&iie=1

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Congrats. Community is underrated. Most of my siblings live near each other in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. Most of their grown children live there as well. They get together and play board games, have meals, etc. it’s a wonderful thing.

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founding

Matt you are very on point as usual with this piece. It is a good historical viewpoint.

The elite are hoarding power and money in this country in a nearly unprecedented way. Democracy allows for a some ability for the people to push back, and they did that by electing Trump. Trump's election was the attempt of a democratic populace to take control. And we saw what happens: the elite utilize every possible tool to hold and take back said control: the intelligence communities, every gov't institutional position they hold, the media, etc.

Democracy is under threat, not because of silly election challenges, but because of the fact that the elite classes will be VERY reluctant to give up a hold on power. Trump was the electorate's experimental chemotherapy to attempt to cure what they see as the disease. They accepted his toxicities for four years in the name of curing the country. We shall now see how the disease progresses and what they do next.

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Democracy no longer exists even as sham.

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Bullshit. You just need to expand or completely transform your definitions of key terms, use more drugs or both. It's not a credible sham in my case but almost hints at one, hence my insistence on breathing for a bit longer yet.

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I shall search for the proper terms to find the definitions that allow us to be democracy. If I succeed I will become a political consultant.

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Oh, wake up.

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founding

To some degree all stable democracies naturally weight the balance of power towards the elites - that's what makes them stable. Otherwise the elites would disrupt them to get more control (preferring a monarchy or another arrangement that benefits them).

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Not to disagree.

But we’re no longer a democracy of course, we’re quite disrupted and the Davos Social Justice League of Extraordinary pronouns has arranged the benefits to themselves.

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which is pretty much what the Trumpists are trying for right now

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All cars will now drive on the Left side of the road, because the right side is racist.

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After which the flood of resulting fatal accidents will be blamed on the patriarchy of engineers who built the Whiteness-poisoned infrastructure.

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founding

In some sense, Trump's election represents a weakening of the power of the elites... historically, the elites have controlled the nominations processes within the parties. Due to the idealistic push throughout our society for purer democracy (despite the known historical problems with pure democracy), the parties have done things like hold primaries instead of caucuses and more recently open up primaries. This has progressed to the point where we almost had two candidates (Trump and Sanders) in the general who weren't even part of the party they represented a few years before.

The answer to this issue, even from the perspective of said elites, is hardly more pure democracy. Yet they naively push for ending the electoral college. That would help them in the short term, but only until their excesses make the lives of more working class folks bad enough to overcome the identity politics plays that keep the coalition viable. Then it works terribly against the elites. Sooner than the elimination of the electoral college they will revert to greater central control within the parties over nominations, it's fairly obvious. It would be stabilizing, to be honest, removing the chances for demagogues like Trump to be successful.

And thus the forces that keep the country sleepwalking in the two-party elite two step will reassert and keep on keeping on, and things like immigration and job loss pressure will work out through more traditional candidates and slower releases of pressure.

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Indeed, it was representative of a weakening of the Establishment in the internet age.

Now... witness as they grapple for and take TOTAL control of it. You'll probably still get to see plenty of free porn though.

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«only until their excesses make the lives of more working class folks bad enough to overcome the identity politics plays that keep the coalition viable»

My guess when I read this king of argument is that many people are out of touch, as the critical factor that makes the neoliberal kind of politics viable, whether Republican or Democrats, is booming share and real estate prices that benefit also the middle and upper-middle classes.

The role of identity politics (which is currently largely based on "property rights" and "freedom of contract") is to aggregate some others too on that base, but also to create an ideological climate where debt servitude becomes legal again, which is the big prize for the finance lobby.

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You're on here a lot.

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LOL "reluctant".

Not even close. They're going to make sure people suffer for this and they will squeeze the people until they get the grist for their mills.

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founding

Thanks for the germane example of the content driving the conditions in my other post

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founding

the other top level post by me in reply to this Taibbi story, sorry if that wasn't clear

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founding

Thanks for all of the relevant and constructive contributions to the dialogue.

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founding

Hi there e.pierce... As promised, I sent you a thesaurus as a Christmas gift. Did you receive it? I see you're still using "cargo cultist" with about the same frequency as before, so I'm a bit concerned. Can you check your front porch?

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Here’s an idea, why don’t you geniuses try not being assholes.? Too obvious.... hahahahaha

You’re doing great. Really. No problem fucking with the half of the country that hoards guns and ammo

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Psssst - we know your policies are a load of crap. Just take education, instead of conceding your failures like normal people, you double down on the stupid shit that doesn’t work

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But you must admit... it's comedy.

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Hahahahaha

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This highlights a great, 21st century American irony. Matt is, I believe, a Progressive and I am a Conservative. While that sounds as though we are close to polar opposites politically, based on this piece we seem to see a similar landscape. The irony is our presumed differences will keep us from uniting to fix our mutual landscape.

Those differences can be understood by acknowledging Progressives, not necessarily Democrats, using Yang as an example, want to pile new policies on top of the existing pile of failed policies, making an already massive government more so. Conservatives, not necessarily Republicans, want to jettison the failed policies, trim government, and create a level playing field for all.

It’s too bad we allow the differences to be used, by the status quo crew, as the whip to keep us separated, and them in power. Might this mean the only cure will possibly one day be attempted via violence?

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Those definitions are laughably self-serving. Progressives, not Democrats, want a government that provides benefits for the working class, universal healthcare enjoyed by every other first world nation on earth, and reigns in the worst excesses of corporate America. None of that should really be all that provocative.

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Oh really? Since when? Progressives wants benefits based on identity politics, despises the white working class, and display a distinct lack of humility and a pronounced propensity for patting themselves on the back while giving off strong whiff of sanctimony.

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Not this one, Sherry. Talk to a few of us before you convince yourself that the worst stereotypes of progressives are in fact the norm.

I don't assume every Trump supporter is some MAGA-hatted racist because I know plenty that aren't. Maybe give that a try before tossing people into convenient buckets.

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Progressives don't mix with conservatives. I figured you knew that what with trying to run us out of restaurants and all.

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"Conservatives don't mix with progressives. I figured you knew that when you were running us over with your cars while your fellow Proud Boys cheered you on."

See how easy this is? Grow up, Sherry.

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You're wrong, Sherry. Many of us do mix. Or maybe that makes us something other than Progressives. Bull Moose or something. Anyway, progressives are needed to keep business from getting too big and unrestrained, and conservatives are needed to keep government from getting too big and unrestrained

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Proud Boys are NOT conservatives unless you think ANTIFA are progressives. They are extremists. I'm talking about the insufferably mainstream Democratic/Progressive brownshirts who felt perfectly entitled to steal people's hats, punch them, push old people over and steal their banners, and YES, run them out of restaurants. You can try to justify your behavior til the cows come home, but there is no justifying it. Viva la Resistance, remember?

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Interesting comment considering the rightwing party in Canada is called the Progressive Conservatives (PCs), who have governed center-right and support single-payer healthcare. There are examples of functional governance and policies everywhere, just not in the USA.

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It didn’t take long for the differences to eclipse where we agree. I guess since Progressives want/need government to impose their ideals on everyone, and Conservatives don’t, everything else is moot.

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Do you think government should provide healthcare to all its citizens? I do. Most other people on earth enjoy this benefit. This isn't "imposing ideals." It's legitimately helping keep people alive. We're not talking about arts funding or drone striking here, man. Be less defensive.

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Defensive? Hmmm. To your point, why would I want some inept, as opposed to ept, (🎩 Newton Monroe) bureaucrat telling you what doctor to go to?

Of course, a lot of people are afraid to fend for themselves.

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Do you like the system we have now? What's the difference between public schooling and public healthcare?

Nobody's afraid to fend for themselves, bud. Been doing that for about 40 years and have been through the ringer a few times. I'd simply like a government that takes care of its citizens instead of its corporate donors. I'd like my tax dollars to make schools better and not used to prop up big business and buy more shit from Raytheon.

Past that, you're just arguing against a strawman of what universal healthcare would be. Currently, most Americans have an illusion of choice: which employer-provided care will I choose? Which doctors are in that network? Some people pretend that's "freedom" because they don't know any better. It's not. And you can always, always choose to pay for the doctor and care you'd like to receive. You're free to do that in most universal systems if you're willing to pay.

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You make some good points but if there's an argument to keep government out of healthcare, then the example of public education fits the bill. The better example (i.e Sweden) of public healthcare relies on the private sector to deliver services. Here in the US, we have barriers to entry and feather-nesting in the form of anti-trust protections for insurance companies that limit competition. I'd like to see a discussion on that before we look at creating another government monstrosity.

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If you think “... nobody’s afraid to fend for themselves...” you must have some twisted sense of reality. As for current system, it’s far from perfect and much of that is due to governmental bureaucratic red tape. Government is a massive weight chained around people’s neck. And amazingly, these days that’s what many people need/want.

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I don't think you want to compare public healthcare with public schools. Public schools don't have a very good track record of preparing students, even with their budgets astronomically have increased the past 30 years.

Many public schools are controlled by teacher unions and their sycophant politicians, and look at the shitshow right now with many districts not opening up, largely affecting poor and minority students.

If we had public healthcare, that would pattern after public schools, then it would be a disaster.

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you mean, as opposed to a private-sector bureaucrat from a health insurance company telling us what doctors to go to?

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Sure, I select my insurance company, it isn’t imposed on me; they are more efficient, until they have to comply with governmental bureaucratic red tape.

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The UK, with the wonderful NHS (mine and family experience) has already vaccinated more than 1 million, 2 million per week goal. Meanwhile, our nonsensical, crony capitalist system limps along!!

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People who can’t see the forest for the trees are funny. UK - approx 68 million people, US - approx 330 million; a slight difference. Plus many in the UK have sheep like tendencies, with their Judas goat they gladly, blindly follow.

If you like your UK you can keep your UK! (🎩 BO)

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Progressives want government programs to cure their neuroses about whatever their pet cause is -universal health care , global warming, “gun violence”, blah, blah, blah. It’s like taxpayer funded, budget busting, freedom trampling therapy. Note-progressives might give lip service to a BLM type agenda, but race relations generally aren’t in their wheelhouse of angst, imo.

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I want healthcare for everyone because I think all lives matter and it’s the humane thing to do in the richest country in the world.

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So the rest of the developed world, most other countries have uni health, and thus are neurotic? The problem is US has a huge mental health crisis to go along with the physical one.

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What are neuroses if not mental health issues? Progressive politics are a manifestation, as I stated above.

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The American War on Drugs has hardly been all about triumphant Progressivism imposing its ideals on everyone. It's indisputably the most oppressive and pernicious Federal public policy regime of the last 70 years.

It's ironic that both Conservatives and Wokists act as if it's some minor side issue compared to examples of Real Oppression, like the prospect of a carbon tax (Conservatives), or people of unmixed European ancestry quoting the "n-word" (Wokists.)

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( lol!!! silence. the usual non-response. )

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Under the guise of "religious freedom" you certainly do want to impose your ideals on everyone.

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That's just a progressive fantasy to justify why they hate religion.

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I'm not going to waste my time proving the obvious to religious nutters.

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except you also wanna provide it to all of South and Central America with the one caveat that they apply it for in person after crossing the border in defiance of international asylum law dictating they must apply at the first stable country they encounter which would be Mexico.

For Gawd's sake Sasinsea, do the math! It is not workable. there is no such possible growth pattern to sustain such a policy.

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Why can other first world countries provide universal healthcare but America cannot? I'd suspect we both have the same answer here. There's no reason we as a society need to subsidize insurance companies that provide no value except extracting money from people who just wanna see if they're healthy.

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the ACA was the biggest boon to Insurance companies. I support the effort if you get real.

The VA is the closest system we have had and it was a disaster.

Currently, the fraud in Medicare is unbelievable.

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I'm expressly not arguing for the ACA because I'm not some sort of partisan hack. We're on an ACA plan. It sucks bad!

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we agree! :)

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As opposed to fraud and outright denial of coverage by private insurers?

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the reason I find that doubtful is: 1) I never met anyone for whom that was true and 2) pretty sure MSNBC and CNN would be running it twenty four seven during healthcare legislation focus days.

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The VA is a disaster because protracted war is disastrous, and Iraq II was not the easy hit-and-quit walkover for our side that Iraq I was.

I had occasion to visit the rehab facility of Walter Reed hospital on the eve of the invasion. The place was in peacetime mode.

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The VA is a disaster because it is continually underfunded.

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check the balance sheet in Europe! After Angela Merkel threw open the borders, they can't!

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80 something percent of those immigrants are still unemployed on their welfare systems 5 years later.

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I didn't bring this up but you're really fixated on immigrants, man. Kinda weird.

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Many first world European countries were able to put money towards universal health care and unemployment since during the Cold War they didn't have to allocate any resources to defense since the U.S. provided that. The guns vs. butter argument.

This has started to change in many of the countries as their bills are drastically rising and they cant allocate enough tax revenue to fund it.

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It is workable. It's just not workable with the amount of money we spend on defense and forever wars. Which is why it won't happen. I'm not a socialist, and I don't necessarily support universal healthcare, but if I had to pick between forever wars and healthcare, i'll take healthcare any day. At least then my tax dollars are giving life to others instead of death.

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well, the last two Presidents ran on ending the wars and both failed to do so.

I am raising waste and fraud issues. If we don't curtail them any expansion of the medical benefits we try to provide will result in crappy care for patients and bogus services by billing providers.

We can support both. WTF. Admitting the fraud and waste and targetting it would get Americans on your side. We know it's bogus and our care has turned to crap - unless we are millennial or whatever and have no prior healthcare to compare it to.

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Mexico has uni health, and Mexico has been controlling its southern border. Almost no one wants to come to the US. Get real.

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hahahahahahahahahaha

that's why controlling the border is such a big deal.

Hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors flooded our borders during Obama years.

The hopey changey compassionate crowd jus released em to who ever answered the phone and never followed up on their wellbeing.

with America's already overburdened Foster Care "village" trying to raise all dem unwanted children,

What the fuck could go wrong wit dat you morally superior progressive geniuses?

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I've lived within 150 miles of said border for 40 years. How about you? Why are you obsessed with this topic?

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and it is not hateful or bigoted to refuse to sign up to pay for it. It's a stupid experiment. We know refugees and immigrants are not a net positive economically. We know NYC is not rolling in the excess cash generated by the extraordinarily good fortune of being immigrant rich.

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You need to enroll in some economics courses and stop with the Social Justice crash course to destroying the most enviable countries on the planet in which to live.

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you need to support your smug assertions with facts.

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No more than you geniuses do, as if it would matter to the genius class. Hey, really impressed with what y’all have done with half the country, you know, the half that’s been hoarding guns and ammo for 30 years. Impressive governing there for the elite geniuses

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The government privatized certain services under Reagan and Bush, then awarded government contracts to enrich private companies. While Republican presidents shrunk government they didn’t shrink the dollars spent but instead ran massive deficits. Military spending increased massively under Reagan. So much for smaller government.

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I agree completely, that’s why I don’t, and for years have not, identify as a Republican. Plus I am not delusional enough to think we will ever witness our government, in a well thought out and controlled manner, see government shrink. The horse is out of the corral and it will be impossible to put it back.

But I refuse to sit back, watch and say nothing. I’m sitting back, watching and pointing out what seems obvious to me. As far as I am concerned the best 20th century president was Eisenhower, and only because of the warning he gave as he was leaving office:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist."

He might as well have stuck his head out of a car window and shouted it to nobody, because nobody pays it any heed!

What a drag!

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Au contraire amigo. I’m retired, more than 25 years, from the largest government contractor and I was right there in the middle of if. The stories I could recount.

Who has been having your 50 - 60 years of active discussions? When do they expect to announce their solution(s), in 40 more years? They could call it the 100 years solution(s).

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Right u r. Now tell me who is having your active discussions.

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There is no party that follows your belief system at this point and there likely never will be. Neither the Democrats nor Republicans have any desire to stop giving out favors and paying out government money to the corporations that keep them coming back into office. The Republicans at the federal level have never been financially conservative and they do the same thing the Democrats do when it comes to government intervention in the economy, they refuse to help workers and at the same time do everything they can to aid corporations. Federal spending for the military under Republican administrations has always increased.

This idea that there can be any sort of free market where the playing field is level without government intervention is a fallacy. Without government creating laws that enable workers to organize and collectively bargain we would be living completely under the boot heel of corporations. In 1900 the average USA factory worker put in 60 hours of work for very little pay in dangerous conditions with no paid medical care and no provision for retirement other than what they could put away in savings, which wasn't much. Their young children worked right beside them. That's your free market.

Characterizing progressives as wanting to pile new policies on top of existing failed policies is convenient if incorrect. This perception that government is always inefficient is another fallacy. The Federal Government has massive leverage if it wants to push on the wheels of industry to set fair prices for goods and services. The real reason things go badly for the average worker when it comes to public programs is because that serves the interest of corporations. Making it more difficult and inefficient for people to obtain government services has been the goal of most corporations since those services were created.

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Ok. In what situation has the federal govt not been inefficient?

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Not sure how you'd unite big government with small government

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That’s a difference, but what about something we agree on, consider the power hungry media. Recently Matt called Fox the “rightwing” (whatever that really means?) media, and I’ll assume he considers the rest of the media as leftwing.

Fox is often called conservative, a misnomer par excellence; Republican maybe, but not conservative. And that can be concluded as comparable with the rest on the left.

I have not watched Fox in over 3 years. I long for a non partisan reported news program, sans opinion, or slant. As far as I know no such beast exist. Why couldn’t we unite around such a source?

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For crying out loud, you're talking about Television. The medium dictates the superficiality of the message already.

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Fox News is just another place for establishment Republicans like Lachlan Murdoch to spew. Kinda like the Washington Post is a place for well known humanitarian and philanthropist Jeff Bezos to spew.

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They all live to feed the beast they control.

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The only television that really presents unedited primary source material is C-Span. At it's best, it's unbeatable.

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it's boring

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It wouldn’t be required viewing

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get Rachel the Madcow to wrestle Tucker the imminently earnest Carlson in a grudge cage match center ring and then you got something.

Everyone says they want Walter Cronkite back but no one means it.

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According to Glenn Greenwald, that's not possible. He might be correct

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I dumped satellite several years ago, too far in the country for cable. I’ll stream it and check it out, thanks!

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See Peter Joseph's Culture In Decline, new series!

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Wall Street gave a ton more money to Democrats this election than to Republicans. Can it be that Democrats have become what they hate?

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" Can it be that Democrats have become what they hate? "

When did the DNC ever hate Wall St and corporatism? Hasn't been for at least a generation if ever from what I can tell.

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And Progress ? It incarnated corporate capitalism.

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does that mean the clinton/podesta scheme for govt contracts the world round was new to Democrats?

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Hallo Haiti, you ingrates! We gots lots and lots of money to help you, we can't halp it if you are incorrigibly incapable of raising your standard of living despite our philanthropy.

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"There are populists/reforms that are Conservative, but they don't have much power, and presumably will need to form an alliance with the populist center-left to push real reforms."

See: Sanders and Hawley teaming up on the stimulus bill and the nattering nabobs freaking the fuck out.

See also: them failing.

Maybe it'll work out next time. I'm getting tired of being pessimistic.

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You forgot electric vehicle charging stations in Afghanistan

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Oh waitress, I will try your blue Hawaiian this time

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Thanks Matt. Cynically, in my opinion, the vast majority of elected and appointed people at the federal level are human scum. War mongers and killers. On the take through lobbyists, selling their soul for the highest amount. In spite of that, there are still voters who think those pieces of garbage actually care about them. Incredible.

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This is a really good “big picture” piece; one of Matt’s best. The cultural & media stuff really resonate. Things are so far gone. You can literally look under any blue-check Tweet about almost anything and see comments ref’ing Trump. (Same for comments in WaPo, my hometown paper.) It’s freaking absurd how brainwashed people are. Yang’s attitude as noted was refreshing, indeed. My choice was Tulsi, after supporting Bernie in ’16, and seeing how “The Bern” went last year, glad I made that jump. Not only did he get scrooged by Liz & the CNN gals who kneecapped him in the debates, then he wouldn’t fight back. Poor Bernie. Tulsi’s attitude was good in a similar way to Yang’s, but it was infuriating to me as a supporter how she was treated by the DNC apparatchiks. As a big #MadMen geek, the bit about consumerism & advertising was icing on the cake of this piece. Speaking of which, I just got my damn 600 bucks so I guess I’ll go blow it on some credit-card paydowns that I’ve already spent. “Happy Year to you – in jail!” – Mr. Potter

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Exhibit A, WaPo this morning --

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/perdue-ossoff-loeffler-warnock-georgia-senate/2021/01/05/7d7b5afe-4f5d-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html?commentId=a21adf6c-2dad-4149-bd78-039eba94a331&outputType=comment

Stike9 - 13 minutes ago

🗣️ SHOW ME THE MONEY ❗️❗️

👍

Pedestrian - 12 minutes ago

Sounds like something Trump would say.

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I liked Tulsi but too often found her lacking in charisma and overly wooden in her presentation. Perhaps an unfair criticism, but it was frustrating because like Yang she seems very "real" in one-on-one interviews (e.g. Rogan) and was well-positioned to counter both establishment Dem candidates and Trump with her resume.

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founding

Always remember Tulsi's epic response after Hillary brazenly accused her of being a Russian asset:

"Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton . You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why.

Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly".

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Neither will ever be allowed near the finish line, because the game is rigged.

Your hope has no hope.

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Sexist much?

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That was pretty bot, Doctor.

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With respect, no. If Tulsi's debate presence was as engaging as Elizabeth Warren's, for example, I think she could've had much more traction during the primary.

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Tulsi single handedly destroyed Kamala. She also proposed payments to Americans since March because of Covid, which is very on topic for this article. She also voted against the $600. She's actively fighting for the at-risk to get vaccinated first instead of healthy young people like AOC. She's protecting women's sports. And, of course, she was the only Democratic candidate against the never ending wars.

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Tulsi also proposes taxing big box retailers and big tech on their excess profits earned during the lockdowns and using that money to help small businesses. She seems to genuinely care about the American worker so I guess that’s why she never had a chance. Very sad

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Gabbard made it clear she was only against the regime change wars, but was a hawk against terrorists, so that nuance would have allowed her some wiggle room in promoting some wars which she could define as against terrorists.

There were times when I felt she was a straight shooter, and others when I detected some political game playing and parsing, and, as I remember, she did pledge to support the Dem nominee regardless, a disqualifier for me.

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Destroying Kamala was an awesome moment and certainly one of the primary highlights. I agree with all of your other comments. Her and Bernie were my top two picks for potential nominees. That said, I still found her lacking the charisma of someone like Yang, Warren, or Bernie, all of whom (IMO) were more compelling on the debate stage despite their own various flaws.

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Yet the DNC foisted Harris on us as they desperately wanted her to win IMO.

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Interesting. I find Warren's personality, cookbook offerings, speaking style, fashion sense and gestures weird ah, and I'm not the only one! See UI episode on Large Structural Bailey.

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She definitely had her cringe moments and of course her cynical attack on Bernie was unforgivable, but I did find more her more engaging than Tulsi even though I preferred Tulsi on substance alone.

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her yoga outfits were ... difficult to imagine at Davos or Brussels.

Lordy, just being received by the Queen stretches the imagination.

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It sucks to not be a billionaire. These are the best times to be one. If only I had schemed / lied / stolen more great ideas and then leveraged good will more often for dastardly purposes. Ah well, maybe in my next life...

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Personal responsibility for your own lack of success would've also been nice

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Not all of us have your obvious strength of character and keen insight

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Yes yes...I am flawed. My wife reminds me ;-) But I do have a sense of humor. Millionaire yes, billionaire, no. I only needed to be 1000x better.

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Ah, men.

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What have we done this time?

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I wish I could say I was as optimistic as Taibbi but I'm a good deal older and therefore more cynical. The part that's missing from this overview is the "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore" that a goodly number (even if not a majority) that the American public feels. I lived through the 1960s as a child and I remember the highly chilling emotion that anything, any bad thing, was possible and could happen. I'm having deja vu with that emotion right now. Maybe it's because I'm in a little closer proximity to the white working class than Taibbi (and/or many of you), but I'm getting quite worried about their state of mind. Many have been working to ensure that the white upper class could work comfortably from home without the least worry about the virus, but many others are NOT working at all. And nobody seems to be greatly worried about that. I would just remind those who are too young to remember the Hard Hat Riots from the 1960s, that the working class doesn't play by middle class rules and kind of feels like they built the country and they can tear it down again anytime they damn well feel like it. And do they damn well feel like it right now? It kind of feels like they do.

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I largely agree with you. The entire "DNC-tech-corporate-media-university" axis is the court of Louis the 16th in the 1780s. They see nothing but than themselves and their advantage. And they believe they are divine.

I'm not sure what will produce the crisis or what form it will take - maybe it will begin January 6 on the Ellipse! I can't imagine Mr. Trump will put on a last-hurrah without dropping something "Big". LOL.

Aside from that. The stock market is 50% overvalued, if not more. The economy is broken in shards from Covid and excess debt. Economic data is as real a descriptor of people's lives as a map of the Land of Oz. There is no faith in any institution -- except perhaps the military, since it stays out of politics and gets its soldiers from Red States.

I don't think a military coup is likely, but something big is going to break. I'm not sure what, how or when. It may just be a downturn into torpor and borderline anarchy until some new idea of America forms from the shattered fragments. I know my thinking here is neither original or convincing. Doomsayers are always among us and they're usually wrong. But they are right from time to time. We'll see.

There is one wildcard -- the country's demographic. Recent immigrant waves don't have the same sense of history or anger that multi-generational Americans have about our society. Their history happened someplace else and often it was ugly; that's why they're here. Most feel they're better off here than where they came from and I think they'll make the best of whatever comes their way. I believe this in part from actually talking to them and hearing their points of view. Their kids may be the rebels, and that may take a bit longer to happen.

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I honestly do not know what to expect is going to happen on January 20th for the first time in my life. I feel the kind of tension that precedes a volcanic explosion building, but how that would play out realistically, I have no idea.

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In 2016 I was thinking along the lines that things have to get worse before they can get better (the bipartisan enemy of the people seemed still not apparent to most active voters) and I wondered if we should elect Donald Trump for a better America. Maybe that would help clarify the situation? I think it did but not nearly enough.

Looking back things got a lot worse in 2020 and it was wonderfully clarifying. But that too seem not nearly enough. PMC types I know seem to have their heads in the sand with earnest hope for a Biden/Harris admin. And those in the precariate are, as you said, tired and many have been defeated. The old propaganda supporting this brutal class system still works.

We need to divide the Democratic Party into two genuinely hostile warring factions: corporate vs. populist, using with a persistent campaign of PR and procedural and electoral sabotage (all legal and transparent) to force individuals to choose sides. The terrain is already well defined. The establishment made a big show of how they are actually moderate Republicans at the 2020 DNC in October and that they routed the so-called progressives (including Sanders supporters) up to all but a signed treaty of unconditional surrender.

So what next? The midterms will be a blowout because the party cannot unify around a popular policy agenda and because there's no orange hitler to be better than. So the populists might as well take that opportunity to drive the wedge all the way in and demonstrate that they are ready and willing to make the party completely unelectable for as long as it takes until the corporatists either die off or leave to join the party that better aligns with their politics.

I hope you had a good holiday too. I had staggeringly expensive emergency root canal treatment on Dec 24 and my Obamacare price went up 250% for 2021. It's time to fight the establishment Democrats but this time really fight. None of that pointless polite Sanders nonsense.

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Sadly, progressives and even The Squad have shown they never truly believed in any of the proposals they campaigned on or have become captured by the system, refusing to even demand a vote on Med 4All as a precondition for voting for Ms. Botox to once again lead the Dems to another Waterloo in 2022 and 2024.

As long as the US is the preeminent world power, as long as the dollar remains the reserve trading currency for the global economy, I see no real change taking place from within this country; change will come from without as the country loses its financial and economic advantage that allows the corrupt and incompetent elite to maintain control simply by default in a world that still, despite the PRC's rise, must bow to US power.

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I get where you're coming from but disagree on a couple of points.

1. Idk if Sanders, progressives, The Squad etc. "never truly believed in" X, Y or Z. Maybe they did and have been co-opted. Or maybe they still do but are too timid. And for practical purposes looking forwards it doesn't really matter. If we feel disappointed in certain people (I do, especially Sanders) then that's partly on us for allowing ourselves to be taken in by the celebrity/cult of individuals. It's better to invest hope and other resources in organizations and movements and replace individuals when they stop being useful.

2. I think the USA can change from within. The hegemony of the current neoliberal order depends critically on a propaganda that I think may be getting more and more transparent as bullshit. If enough people doubt the propaganda then the opening for the dissenting political message is obvious. Look what Trump did to the Republican Party despite being a doofus who never actually gave a damn about politics or economics.

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But what comes next? Will Brennan be our Putin?

Jesus.

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2021 begins as 2020 left off. Yesterday I was told that tooth still needs a $2200 crown. And I didn't mention that two days before the xmas-eve RCT I spent $400 on a filling that lasted for exactly those two days.

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Hope your crown doesn’t subsequently need a root canal. That happened to me after removal of a really old filling. It was too traumatic for my tooth I guess. My order full insurance was capped (no pun intended) so I paid for the crown out of pocket.

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Thanks for your concern, Rita. Step 1 of the root canal treatment was done on xmas eve. Became necessary after I broke a filling on the Mon before xmas. The whole xmas week and most of the next were awful. Going for the crown prep next week. Dunno if the tooth is strong enough for it or not so it's a $4500 experiment.

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"things got a lot worse in 2020 and it was wonderfully clarifying. But that too seem not nearly enough." 😂💔

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Yes, 2020 (I first typo'd w0w0) in some form was absolutely necessary and inevitable. Something had to give. Unfortunately, the same exact people got the short end of the stick who always do.

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To elaborate a little, I've been thinking about class in the USA in terms of a ruling class (≈billionairs, modern version of aristocratic land owners), PMC (salaried in the employ of or depending on the the ruling class, the Zoom and brunch) and precariate (wage labor).

I find it useful but if fails in two important ways. If an employee in a while collar office job lives in fear of losing that job and its health benefits then that's precarious too. (And that might even be the main reason why the ruling class' preference holds on to employer paid health care.) There isn't a place for the owners of small business such as car dealers, and franchise owners.

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Yes, sorry. PMC = professional/managerial class. I don't know and so can't endorse that particular article. Barbara Ehrenreich is reliable on class matters.

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founding

Thank you so much -- once again; an amazing overview. Let's try to be optimistic -- although our likely calamity (and soon) is that Hillary's loyal stooge will soon be our President.

Currently, by far the highest need and interest of incoming government and the DNC cabal is that Russia-gate immense hoax and Ukraine impeachment "entertainment" will NOT be exposed -- hence many IOU's to primary propagandists, including despicable Kamala Harris, Neera Tanden, Pete Buttigieg, etc, etc.

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Yes, the young have come out to compete and they are mostly disappointing.

But the Clintons, Shumers, Pelosis, Feinsteins and the Obamas did a heck of a job making sure no one got to close from below.

let's be real. Pelosi elected AOC to get rid of her only viable opponent for Speaker.

In other words, let's let the younger ones make some mistakes and learn some lessons.

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She wore out them there tennis shoes and believes her own hype and now believes she can challenge Chuckie.

haha

dear Gawd, someone help those young ones.

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Great a usual. You reminded me I wanted to resign from the democratic party and why I wanted to resign, so I did, right in the middle of your article. I am now an independent, non affiliated voter. What the dnc did is FAR more damaging to the USA than any "crime" they could pin on trump. There won't be a counterculture, there will be a revolution, it might be ugly. They have pushed too far.

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I hope you are wrong about revolution, but as a species, history (especially recent) proves we usually solve our problems through mass-murder, on way or another, and all bad.

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Welcome to the club of former Dems. It’s kinda silly when you think about it. We get to choose from 2 viable people. DNC and RNC make their own rules. One can hardly say we live in a democracy, much less a healthy one.

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Jim Crow America.

I always say I like MTs honesty, so just say White MT.

Our betters always of course talk Martin Luther King but live Apartheid.

The actual Jim Crow America was a poorer or modest income version of NYC MT, especially for the most outstanding issue NYC schools, the most segregated in America. They just weren’t sanctimonious hypocrites.

The real sundowner laws were just the honest version of profiling and stop and frisk.

The real Jim Crow America honestly and publicly practiced redlining and zoning instead of burying it in paperwork and coded phrases about “good schools.”

As for White America being conquered and put in its place by its betters; For the Leftists reading you did not conquer Jim Crow or Nazi America, you conquered a bewildered Bedford Falls. That is now much clearer in its thinking.

MT try reading a book about American History that wasn’t written by Howard Zinn.

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"Our betters always of course talk Martin Luther King but live Apartheid." BINGO.

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On December 31st, I pulled out the champagne for a toast with my girlfriend only to find out the fridge died hours before and the champagne was lukewarm. Had to toss the chicken we were marinating so we didn't start the new year fighting over the toilet with dueling cases of salmonella poisoning. Eating last minute delivery pizza and having mediocre liquor store champagne on ice was about the perfect coda to a year full of furloughs and precarity.

Today, the landlord's dropping off a new fridge and this call to optimism was a nice thing to wake up to. Here's to a better 2021.

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founding

I once read a sci-fi story where a non-sentient profit algorithm drove a population-wide computer messaging system to increasingly show individuals things that triggered them emotionally to drive engagement in time and ad revenue. The media leaders of this population (it happened all over the world in this story, not just in one country) were the ones the most tied in to this system as natural early adopters of new tech for information flow, and them arriving at groupthink before the others helped drive even wider groupthink for people not even on the messaging systems. It was like unplanned group propaganda, leaving freethinkers in this society bewildered and wondering what to do next. A small band of the freethinkers started to gather in messaging centers but it was not clear what they could do to right the situation.

Oh, sorry, that actually wasn't Asimov, that was just a summary of recent history in modern Earth civilization from 2010-2020.

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In Harlan Ellison's anthology, "Dangerous Visions" there is a story about a struggling news organization that, in covering a town with diminished access (due to some disaster (mudslide, something), contrived to direct a large motorcycle gang to it. When they arrived, assessed the situation and started looting and raping, their reporters on the scene asked who they should contact about it, and received the chilling instruction "Just keep the cameras rolling."

Been years since I read it, so I hope the synopsis is close, but I got the message right. At the time I thought it was shockingly, admirably, cynical.

Now I see it was more prophetic. Ugly times.

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LOL wicked.

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You said that twice already. Your rivets are showing.

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Troll Bot.

I wonder what “ Troll” response is?

Seriously if you are a person step it up, or get help.

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Weird thing is, he's a) posted some thoughtful, if somewhat out there posts, b) posted more of these dumb insults than everybody else combined, and c) posted reposts and more reposts of things that appear to have triggered him, despite, IIRC, counselling others not to be manipulated by fringe Internet content.

Not a bot, but some problems there, for sure.

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Ok bot, we got it.

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Careful or Ralph Dratman will show up for a BOT OFF!!!

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I'll background it with the Mortal Kombat theme music!!

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"what Paul Goodman described as a “style of life dictated by Personnel… to work to pay installments on a useless refrigerator.”

Slightly off topic, but if you want a slice of how true this statement literally has become, I have owned 3 refrigerators in 6 years due to the new ones breaking and Samsung and LG being unwilling to dispatch a qualified repairman/woman to fix them. At least in LG's case, LG refunded the purchase price. Samsung basically told me to sue them. Unironically, there is a class action lawsuit being litigated against Samsung due to their refrigerators.

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Somehow, this has to be Trump's fault. Check CNN or MSNBC.

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Oooookay.

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RepairPERSON, you . . . nonbinaryphobe.

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lol! Well played, although I'm hoping my sarcasm detector is calibrated to 2021.

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Titania McGrath broke my Sarcas-Mo-Meter.

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Man, I can't even detect sarcasm any more. Best of luck to you.

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That'll teach me to be inclusive.

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The inadequacy of your inclusiveness IS LITERALLY KILLING AND ERASING TRANS LIVES!!!!1

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