Monthly Archives: October 2015

What else Bernie could have said about capitalism

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 10/25/15

In Chester County, in Pennsylvania and the whole country, we’re all capitalists. Even those who live in their log cabin on a remote western mountain are capitalists, because they own, or think they own, their house and land, and any intruder would find that out in a hurry.

Bernie Sanders is not a socialist; he is a capitalist. But see how he answered in the first Democratic presidential debate:

Do I consider myself part of the casino capitalist process by which so few have so much and so many have so little by which Wall Street’s greed and recklessness wrecked this economy? No, I don’t. I believe in a society where all people do well. Not just a handful of billionaires.

And also:

I think everybody is in agreement that we are a great entrepreneurial nation. We have got to encourage that. Of course, we have to support small and medium-sized businesses. But you can have all of the growth that you want and it doesn’t mean anything if all of the new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent. So what we need to do is support small and medium-sized businesses, the backbone of our economy, but we have to make sure that every family in this country gets a fair shake.

I agree and I’d like to add a little more historical perspective.

A lot of ink has spilled over capitalism ever since Karl Marx published volume I of Das Kapital in 1867. But he didn’t invent capitalism. Capitalism flourished in ancient Rome, in the medieval European city states and merchant leagues, in the Renaissance duchies.

But capitalism, like greed and strife, goes back even farther; it is really part of the human condition….

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Filed under 2016 election, Economy, Labor, Tax, History, Nathaniel Smith, US President

Concern fatigue: “Somehow this has become routine”

By Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, October 20, 2015

Syrian refugees are drowning at sea and will soon be dying of cold as they try to make their way across central Europe. Palestinian teenagers are knifing Israelis and being shot down by police and others. Ethiopians are starving while their cows die of thirst. Ninety Americans (including suicides) die from guns every day. Children in Pakistan (and here too) are dying of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Well, whatever, right?

As President Obama said after the Umpqua Community College massacre:

Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this.

It’s only human to develop a self-protective tolerance for disasters, especially when they happen to other people. Meanwhile, we are driven crazy by a barking dog across the street, a too-chatty friend, or a mosquito in the bedroom.

Some people are wired to pitch in to help on causes of principle. But most of us focus on what’s around us or what becomes so vivid that we can no longer ignore it.

Actual progress in this country tends to come when a lot of Americans start seeing a problem in a new way….

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester

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The Ideologue’s Tunnel Vision – An Analysis (24 October 2015)

by Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses

Part I – Ideologues

An ideologue is someone who sees the world in the limiting terms of a doctrine or dogma. It is limiting because the human world does not operate or evolve according to any one dogma. Therefore ideologues must wear blinders that result in tunnel vision – a tunnel which, like a Procrustean bed, tries to force the world to fit their chosen ideology. 

There are hundreds of ideologies out there, both religious and secular, and in every case the resulting tunnel vision eventually results in absurdities – claims about the world that, seen from outside of the ideology, make little or no sense. So it is with the ideology of Zionism and the doctrinaire interpretations its adherents make about their own behavior and the behavior of others who oppose them. 

One such proponent of Zionist ideology is David Harris, the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). The AJC describes its mission as “to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel.” This is a point of dogma for the Zionists – that the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel are bound together. I am often confronted with Harris’s ideological take on events because, curiously, he has me on his mailing list.  

Part II – David Harris’s View of Ongoing Violence in Israel

On 11 October 2015 Harris posted an essay on the ongoing violence in Israel-Palestine. It is entitled “Attacks Against Israelis: The World’s Silence Is Deafening” and the entire piece can be found both on the Huffington Post and The Times of Israel. The essay seeks to promote a picture of Israeli victimhood. As such it opens up a clear window on the Zionist’s view of the present situation and therefore is worth taking a look at….

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Religious Right Activists Argue For Recriminalization Of Birth Control In ‘The Birth Control Movie’

by Miranda Blue, Right Wing Watch, 10/20/2015

A couple of years ago, we heard about a new movie called “Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?” when its director, Kevin Peeples, appeared on the radio program of one of its stars, Kevin Swanson, and Swanson asserted that “wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”

We stumbled on the movie again recently while researching the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, which will feature some of the activists who appeared in Peeples’ film, including WCF founder Allan Carlson and anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood activist Lila Rose. This is hardly surprising, since one of the tenets of the “natural family” ideology promoted by WCF is resistance to contraception in order to create large families governed by traditional gender roles….

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Filed under Right Wing, Women's Issues