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50 Years of US (no)Progress

by rdf Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 01:16:51 PM EST

For all the discussions about the liberal agenda what has actually been accomplished over the past 50 years?

Liberals have been going after the same targets since the end of WWII with, in my opinion, limited success. The one important exception being the progress of blacks in public accommodation access and career options.

I'll leave it to commentators to take the positive position. I'm going to discuss the other side below. Here are some of the persistent failures:

Crosspossed at dKos:


Use of tobacco: It is over 50 years since all doubt of a link between smoking and health issues was established (and publicized). The rate of smoking has declined since then, but two whole generations were allowed to become addicts nevertheless.

Gun control: The US remains the most deadly country on the planet when guns are considered. There are still over 20,000+ gun deaths per year. Just looked at from a public health point of view nothing has been done to make guns "safer", or to keep them out of the hands of those who should not have access.

Healthy eating: The US is now in the midst of an obesity crisis. This has led to a public health problem including diabetes, heart disease and a general lack of physical fitness. Attempts to get the food industry to sell healthier products have had only token success. Offering a couple of salads at McDonald's is not really progress.

Illegal drugs: The "war on drugs" has been a total failure. We now have over one million people in prison, a good percentage because of drug-related crimes. The demand for coca- and poppy-based drugs has led to the development of failed states such as Columbia and Afghanistan which have soaked up huge amounts of military spending and distorted our foreign policies, all with no effect.

Rise of the super rich: For a society which prides itself on the ideals of equality, the society has been trending in exactly the opposite direction. While the average standard of living has increased for all during the period, the gains have been increasingly unequal. The result has been that the super rich are now able to influence economic policy to benefit themselves even as it makes the entire society less efficient and unable to compete in the world.

Consolidation of business: The "level playing field" has vanished. Anti-trust laws are no longer enforced. Most economic sectors are controlled by oligopolies, from autos to software there is hardly an industry that has more that ten significant firms. The claims of improved efficiency and the need for greater market share as justification for this trend have never been demonstrated. As proof, in most cases when firms announce a merger or buyout of a competitor, their share price drops. Investors don't see there being a benefit. The downside is the same as always: less innovation, price controls and extraction of wealth from the firm's capital and diversion to the deal makers.

Economic security: The shift away from employer funded benefits to personal responsibility is nearly complete. As a consequence the level of economic security is at a fifty year low. Pensions have vanished, health care has become unaffordable, jobs have been outsourced, downsized, or just continued with pay cuts. One small stumble and a family can find itself destitute. Welfare has been almost eliminated and the base wage has lagged behind inflation. Rather than a society based upon the common welfare we have a dog eat dog ethic.

Peace: Since the end of WWII the US has fought a continual series of discretionary wars. These have shifted economic resources away from the civilian sector and into the military one. The cumulative cost is now in the trillions. In addition tens of thousands of lives have been ruined or damaged both here and abroad. What have we to show for it? Most of our prior enemies are now are friends. The regimes that we wanted to topple have been replaced, in many cases, with ones just as bad. In point of fact we haven't actually "won" a single war in the past 60 years, at best we achieved a standoff.

With a record like this isn't it time that those who want to see these issues resolved design a new strategy? The existing one certainly isn't working.

Display:
i agree with you, but what liberal agenda?

there's a wish-list, and a fear that things will get much much worse before they get a little or a lot better, but i don't think a really liberal agenda has been at the forefront of any political movement except maybe the greens in germany.

pretty scary to thik that lbj and fdr are the only big leaders in the usa to have had such an effect, and much of what they did 'for the least of us' is being rapidly dismantled.

tony benn was great, but i don't see any pols around europe who reflect a truly liberal agenda, more's the pity.

perhaps someone will clue me in to why this take is wrong...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 06:08:56 AM EST
 "With a record like this isn't it time that those who want to see these issues resolved design a new strategy? The existing one certainly isn't working."

 Agreed.  The in the U.S. the "Left" has always been a very tenuous thing.

 I'm sorry to have to bring even more bad news to your review, but, I believe that when things get right down to the hard cases, in the U.S., many simply do not and shall not stand up and defend democracy.  It's as though they're ashamed of it.

In making that assertion, I refer of course not to the vast numbers of people who really take no interest in politics, but, rather, the liberal leftists who supposedly do .

 There appears to be some new grounds for hope that some modest advances may at last come after centuries of "deterring democracy," as Noam Chomsky describes it.

  Beware, however. Among their arsenal of counter-measures, the right-wing has an ultimate one: that of letting the social order dissolve into complete chaos, which should mean that when the dust settles, once again, the wealthy minority should have inordinate power over the great majority--and whatever gains had been in the offing, simply wiped off the horizon.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 08:43:35 AM EST
Among their arsenal of counter-measures, the right-wing has an ultimate one: that of letting the social order dissolve into complete chaos
If the right-wing can let the social order dissolve into chaos, does that mean that the right-wing is necessary to prevent the social order from dissolving into chaos? Why is that?

Or do you mean they will make the social order dissolve?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 08:55:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 

"If the right-wing can let the social order dissolve into chaos, does that mean that the right-wing is necessary to prevent the social order from dissolving into chaos? Why is that?"

"Or do you mean they will make the social order dissolve? "

 There is some of both, actually.  Keep in mind that all this refers to the U.S. scene.

 Yes, on one hand, like all such matters, if the social order dissolves into open and protracted widespread violence--a mix of unorganized and organized violence--it shall be partly because the right-wing refrained from helping prevent that; on the other hand, factions among what must be admitted is a diverse collection of groups on the right, can also directly contribute to provoking a violent reaction and then taking advantage of it.

 Both together or separately, in any conceivable mix.
The conditions are already, I fear, very volatile and prone to worsen with many potential and unforeseen episodes setting things in deteriorating motion or, perhaps I should say accelerating that motion already under way.

 The main point I wanted to make is that, as the prospects for any genuine popular democracy may gain and flourish, those who are opposed can do what their pro-democracy opponents cannot: simply pull down the whole structure creating chaos.  That inevitably advances their interests and frustrates the interests of their pro-democracy opponents.

 Civil order is always based on some degree of common cooperation between factions which are opposed on many particulars but who agree that there is enough interest in common to prevent the social order from being completely wrecked.  The converse--simply wrecking the social order-- can be accomplished by unilateral actions provided that there is a large enough base of militants in favor of it.

 I believe that behind some, if not much, of some of the right-wing's reasoning is the fearful view that in the years just ahead, with the contributions of such uncontrolled freedoms of expression as the Internet offers, there is the danger of democratic interests and popular desire for them reaching a kind of social "tipping point" which shall directly and seriously threaten to overcome a formerly powerful minority control of most important power centers; rather than allow that to happen, I can conceive of some parts of the right-wing preferring to "pull the whole thing down" and take advantage of the mess.

 For some time, I've intended to write up such a viewpoint as a diary.  Just haven't had time.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 09:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 this should be re-phrased as per the italics:

 "The main point I wanted to make is that, as the prospects for any genuine popular democracy may gain and flourish, those who are opposed to democracy can do in opposing it what their pro-democracy opponents cannot do in promoting it : simply pull down the whole structure creating chaos.  That inevitably advances their interests and frustrates the interests of their pro-democracy opponents.


"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 09:26:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good think you're saying these things so I don't have to sound paranoid.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 09:27:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Don't imagine that any of this would greatly shock or surprise many Americans.  There are many rather well-informed and influential Americans who are deeply worried and who are even afraid of making much of a public discussion of these issues.  They look on in horror, they speak inside their own personal and professional circle and they don't know what to do, or how to do it, or where to apply their efforts --if they knew what efforts to apply.

 And, you may ask: why should they have no useful ideas? no means to stem the deterioration?

 And the answer brings us back once again to the point above.

 They do not, at bottom, really believe in and support popular democracy.  The most obvious and direct way to restore civil society to better political health is to at last give the majority of the ordinary public its rightful place and stake in making that society work--fairly, responsibly.

 That directly threatens the present distribution of power, of privileges, of self-serving rewards and of material benefits.  While it is too simple to see it as a pure and uncomplicated case of class war, there are interests at work and they must not be simply dismissed as insignificant.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 09:37:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They look on in horror, they speak inside their own personal and professional circle and they don't know what to do, or how to do it, or where to apply their efforts --if they knew what efforts to apply.
As you say, this is because it's not for them to do anything form the top down. Enlightened despotism has its limits.
There are many rather well-informed and influential Americans who are deeply worried and who are even afraid of making much of a public discussion of these issues.
What exactly are they "deeply worried" about?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 09:45:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 They're afraid that the enormous breach, the incredible "disconnection" between the ruling authority and the public, shall finally reach a critical stage and provoke a collapse of order when, at last, too many of the public conclude that officialdom cannot be reached by any other means.

 There is now almost nothing in common between those who are in power and those who are not.  It is two alien worlds which have zero intercourse with each other.  Meanwhile, the Democrats are squabbling about which of five or six multi-millionaires or multi-billionaires should head their presidential ticket and oppose the Republicans' chosen million- or billionaire.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 09:54:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And when the collapse of order does come, who will lead to pick up the pieces, a new FDR or a new fascist? I couldn't bet either way.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 11:40:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody will pick up the pieces. They hope to be able to retreat to their castles... er... gated communities defended by mercenaries like Blackwater.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 11:51:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the Great Depression, even the rich were jumping off buildings. Roosevelt's policies saved their asses though they hated him for it.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 12:26:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Notice, for example, how Robert's cross-post in the DailyKos site has drawn only one reply so far, while here, there are now already seven.

 That doesn't surprise me in the least.

 The problem is not that this diary lacks pertinence; the problem is just the opposite.

 In writing and posting his observations, rdf is giving voice to one of the very most important and un-discussed matters.  For its centrality, for its all-encompassing nature in taking in what ails the U.S. (and so many other western nations) politically, there is hardly a more important topic.  He has put his finger on the very core of so much else that is discussed.

And look: people there, in Dailykos, don't discuss it.

Perhaps that's because they cannot; they do not know how.  They lack the basic components with which to understand and analyze the matter, and of course, doing that requires taking a direct look at just what they do not want to look at.

 This is a case of classic denial helped enormously by general ignorance and, among too many, incredible as it may seem, indifference.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 09:48:37 AM EST
Robert's diaries totally lack pertinence to Daily Kos, whose purpose is to further the Democratic party. They always sink like lead balloons, I admire Robert's tenacity trying to find an audience over at DKos. He has tried at Booman's, but his diaries also tend to attract very few comments there.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 09:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Please explain to me how there could possibly be a more pertinent and topical matter for the Democratic Party to take up than the fact that the government is neither of the people, by the people, nor for the people.

 How is there any more urgent political problem before the Democratic Party or the American public?

 Look, the fact is very simple: unless a party--existing or yet to be created--does something about it, representative government in the U.S. is now, for all practical purposes, dead.

 It might be restored to some level of weakling or robust health, if an organized and long-term concerted effort were to be made at that; but, without it, the only remaining question is exactly how the remaining liberties shall be destroyed or reduced to no more than a cipher.

 Can consumer delights substitute for real and meaningful political participation?  Personally, I'm not sure.  I hope they cannot but there are now technological potentialities open which the world has never before known.

 I think that at last, the crying emptiness of a crass consumer society which ultimately cannot and does not offer something spiritually nourishing for its people shall be recognized as not sufficient for self-respecting people.

 We have to figure out how such self-respect is restored and help to restore it.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:05:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, that's easy. The Democratic Party is part of the problem. Exhibit A: they put more effort (and some imaginative shenanigans) into denying ballot access to Ralph Nader in 2004 than into fighting the Republican voter disenfranchisement machine.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:09:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Ask yourself--and then tell me the answer:

 If it were your country and your fellow-citizens we were discussing here, how would you regard it then ?

 Not "pertinent"?  Or pertinent! ?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:19:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not pertinent to the Democratic Party. After spending 4+ years in the US I decided if I were a citizen couldn't vote for them.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:22:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 Interesting!

 As I am a citizen and thus am in that predicament, I wonder who, then would you vote for?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:25:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 that is, if you were in my place?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge
by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:26:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For probably similar reasons as Migeru, I would have voted for Nader, and prepared for worse times regardless whether Bush or Kerry wins (and much worse times from 2009 on under a broadly elected Republican if Kerry wins in 2004).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:31:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo, what is your connection to the US?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:32:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading news, being dependent on the Empire?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:04:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find you surprisingly well-informed for not having been there. Maybe it's all the blogging.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:08:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Blogging had a lot to do with it -- and I suspect you read of the anti-Nader shenanigans on blogs, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, no. Mostly on Counterpunch and Common dreams. And I was an avid listener to Pacifica Radio.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:16:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Were you still in the US during the elections?

If so, you probably havencaptured the globalk mood: it was discussed by people everywhere as if it were their own. IIRC there was even an international poll asking people whether they wished they had a vote in the US elections (or was it just in an article on an international poll? I don't remember anymore).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:07:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I left in mid-December.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:09:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When thinking about like-minded American friends, I have given a lot of thought to the fact that exile is a very personally painful choice. It was all too easy for me to leave and consider my stay in the US a closed chapter.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:29:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I were in your predicament, I would have found the death of Paul Wellstone even more depressing than I did as it was. Then, in the 2004 democratic primary I would have voted for Kucinich. Then I would have sent him an angry letter for dropping his peace plank without putting up a fight. Then I would have voted for Nader/Camejo in November. Just like I would have voted for Camejo [and against the recall] in the Davis recall election.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 12:42:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Wellstone's death--the loss can't be calculated.

 He used to say, "I'm from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party!" but in that he was overly modest.

 Wellstone was the Democratic wing --and the conscience--of the Democratic Party.

 The party is now a waste-land.

 Popper wrote that "every minority has the majority it deserves."  One more example of his genius.

 Similarly, the public gets the political parties it deserves.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:05:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hear hear! Wellstone was the last US politician I had unreserved respect for.

Regulars may have read this from me numerious times, but I repeat for you that on that fateful day four years ago, I saw the headline "US sSenator killed in plane crash" in the videotext, instantly thought: "oh no, have they assassinated Wellstone?..." ...and can't get away from conspiracy theories here after my hunch as to who was killed proved right. (Though officially they blame pilot training and say there were precedents and ignored warnings.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:12:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My recollection is that the news was broken by the White House, but that can't be right, can it?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:15:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 No, I doubt it.

 In the White House they might have broken some champagne out, but not the news.

 He had a scheduled campaign stop far up north in the middle of nowhere; the weather was lousy.  But in November, it's always treacherously cold in Minnesota.  He was determined to fly and to make his campaign stops--and several of the family were with him.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:21:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the suspicious part was that (a) there was no emergency call, (b) at Wellstone's special insistance, unlike in normal practice nowadays, the plane had two pilots. That such a plane will crash head-first into the forest way off the homing-in radar beam without giving any signal seemed highly unlikely.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:30:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 That there was no radio distress call is perfectly consistent with the circumstances of the crash--as the instruments indicated it happened.


"During the later stages of the approach," the Board said, the flight crew "failed to monitor the airplane's airspeed and allowed it to decrease to a dangerously low level (as low as about 50 knots below the company's recommended approach speed) and to remain below the recommended approach speed for about 50 seconds." The airplane then entered a stall from which it did not recover.

The Board judged that while cloud cover might have prevented the flight crew from seeing the airport, icing did not affect the airplane's performance during the descent. Cockpit instrument readings on course alignment and airspeed should have prompted the flight crew to execute a go-around.

http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/uscongress/a/wellstonentsb.htm

Once the stall occurred, at the final approach altitude, they'd have had no time to radio anything more than a "My God!"


Reviewing the results of the extensive investigation into this accident, NTSB Members concluded that the flight crew failed to maintain an appropriate course and speed for the approach to Eveleth and did not properly configure the airplane at the start of approach procedures.

 The above offers a conspiracy theorist her best indication.  And even it is completely within the ordinary everyday type of non-suspicious error.

 The pilot's records indicate that they simply weren't very skilled.

So, if you want to imagine foul play, here's what's in your favor:

 both pilots had poor performance records; and that's a shame and a really unlucky draw.  The fact that there were two in the cockpit does not by itself lend weight one way or the other.  In a stall, there is no advantage in there being two pilots as, below a certain altitude, it  can't be corrected anyway.

 The other factor is the possibility that the guidance equipment was purposely set incorrectly prior to take-off.  That, though, is the pilots' responsibility to verify before leaving and a good pilot would not overlook it.  So, you have to imagine something like their setting the directional controls, leaving the plane, and someone else coming aboard and changing them--if indeed that plane used such equipment--and then taking off w/out rechecking the compass heading.

 I would think that these are not as likely to be the real causes as are the reported poor flying skills of the pilot in command.  No icing of the wings was found, though, of course, if you're trying to rule things out, you have to consider the possibility that, if it was a sabotaged flight, and done with high-level involvement, then of course, there is the possibility that the NTSB investigators reported as they were instructed to do, not as the evidence actually indicated.

 My view--we can't know, given the present state of the world, and the state of it at that time.  I'm not personally persuaded that the cause was other than genuine pilot error with other potential factors, also purely accidental in nature.

But, really, I don't know that, either.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:57:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read of this before, what I wrote were my suspicions before the NTSB report.

BTW, I don't know the technical details involved, but would tampering with the homing-in radar beam be a way to fool the pilots? (As in Die Hard II?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:18:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"...would tampering with the homing-in radar beam be a way to fool the pilots?"

 If the plane had that sort of guidance equipment, yes.  That's the gist of the scenario I wrote of.  

Whether it does or not, I don't know.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:27:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the gist of the scenario I wrote of.

Haven't you written about tampering with on-board equipment?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:30:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Yes, on-board instruments.

 Oh--- I see your angle.

 You're talking about the ground control at the little remote airport?

 If so, that would only be effective if the visibility were so bad that the pilots couldn't see it--or much else.

 It also greatly multiplies the number of people your conspiracy requires--unless there was one lone person at the ground controls--on the other hand, normally, this sort of flight is managed by the nearest regional control-- so, that would mean lots of people at risk of discovering a plot.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Area_Control_Center#ARTCCs_in_the_United_States

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:51:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're talking about the ground control at the little remote airport?

Not the human-operated: the pile-in signal, which is not just a beam of radiation but communicates information (position, speed) to the airplane, which is then displayed. But I guess we have to ask our resident aeroplane specialist Elco B about whether it is possible that this explains what the black box recorded or not.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 05:10:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
About the lack of interest at dKos:

My impression of the dKos community is that they are mostly newly energized, political novices who woke up when Bush was elected in 2000. Kos himself is a good example of the type, he was not politically active until after the election and was then inspired to set up his blog.

Since these people have little prior contact with government or the electoral process they are mostly motivated by outrage. That's why diaries which allow for comments about how bad some condition, or action, by the administration is get so much traffic. Jerome's diaries on foolish energy polices are in this class, for example.

Kos, himself has moved beyond this and his book shows that he realizes that the interaction between the politically active and the party leaders needs to be reformed. Whether or not this is just another type of political naivete only time will tell. Historically the liberal movement within the Democratic party manages to get control from time to time, but then loses the election anyway.

I continue on my Quixotic mission of posting essays dealing with fundamental issues because they do sometimes put new ideas into the milieu and because there is no downside to being ignored except a waste of my time. Challenging conventional wisdom is always a slow process, but needs to start someplace.

Just in the past year there has been more understanding of the limits to growth, the perverse effects of the current US tax policies, the false assumptions of US foreign policy and the need for a new energy policy. I'm not saying that I contributed anything significant to this change in attitude, but one never knows when something one says will slip into general consciousness and become part of the next version of "conventional wisdom".

So far ET is the only site I've found which has frequent, intelligent discussions of long range policy issues. If this is the best spot, so be it. We have to start someplace.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:50:57 AM EST
Re: the Kos thing...

I was going to write a long diatribe about how Kos is more action oriented and interested in real-time change and increasing the power of an already established party in an already accepted system, whereas ET is more about ideas and philosophy and more big-picture, more about long-term solutions...

But then kos posted this.  I don't really know where to begin, other than to say that if this is future of progressive politics in America, we are screwed.  Hope Jerome knows he's about to talk to a group of self-proclaimed libertarians...  Eeek.


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:14:28 PM EST


Libertarian Dems are not hostile to government like traditional libertarians. But unlike the liberal Democrats of old times (now all but extinct), the Libertarian Dem doesn't believe government is the solution for everything. But it sure as heck is effective in checking the power of corporations.

 Yes, indeed-y!  Have you failed to notice how government has the power of corporations down on its knees and begging for mercy?

O-k-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y-y-y-y-y-y!

 Waiter, check, please!


"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:22:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After I read it: double-eek...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? What's so awful apart from it's half-assedness? It doesn't seem that bad for the mainstream US.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:34:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean by "for the mainstream US"?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:35:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For position being advanced by someone who is wired into the mainstream US horror of anything actually faintly socialist it doesn't seem that awful.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:43:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Grrr.  Those kinds of lowered expectations are not going to help.  Besides, I'm willing to bet that this mythological "mainstream US" doesn't even know what the hell it believes anymore.  They are going schizophrenic oscillating between their beautiful ideas (God, family values, small govt., rugged individualism, optimism, religion, bootstraps) and the reality that keeps kicking their asses (job loss, Katrina, dead kids being shipped back from Iraq, medical expenses, Terry Schiavo...).  

And of course, this mainstream US also considers Kos the face of the liberal left.  

Anyway, regardless of our expectations, the reason this is a bad idea:

  1.  When everything is broken and they system doesn't work and it become apparent that the very values that this society has been built upon have failed us, the solution should not be to change your label, especially to one already in existance and comfortably in use by a significant portion of the population...

  2.  who have a totally diff. definition of the label.  Real life libertarians are the epitome of small govt. worshippers.  You can want them to be whatever you want. I want the Republicans to truly be pro-life.  But if I call myself a Republican most people are going to assume I am pro-war, pro-death penalty and anti-govt. funding for planned parenthood.

  3.  Markos says he believes govt. can solve a lot of things but not everything.  I agree.  But unfortunately, that's a catchphrase, a codeword used by those who really want to say, "I don't believe in paying taxes to help some welfare queen."  The same way I can say "Some of my best friends are black."  They are.  It would be true.  But I'd never put it in a mission statement because it has historically been code for "Some of my best friends are black, but I don't want them moving into my neighborhood."  In my opinion, one of the main things wrong with this country is lack of social investment and sense of public responsibility and we need to scream it from the rooftops, not hide behind the veil of libertarianism for fear someone will acccuse us of being a commie.

  4.  It displays the very lack of imagination and intellectual curiosity that is responsible for most of our problems in the first place.  We're looking for a way to save our country, not a hip advert jingle.  We need a good "product" before we go looking for a way to "market" it.


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 06:05:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I note Mutualists make a much more disciplined argument for this type of libertarianism.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:25:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Okay, here's the plan:

  You pop over to the nearest Borders, or Barbara's or wherever fine books are sold, and snap up a copy of the Popper The Open Society and Its Enemies,(I'll help you with the costs, trust me ;^) ) and then you mail it to Kos with a note-- " Urgent Reading  for Libertarian Democrats!"

 

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:33:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 PS--

 pick up a copy for Colman.

  ;^)

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:35:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Popper was a Mutualist?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:46:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 No, he was Austrian by birth, "Catholic" by conversion, probably atheist by conviction, and British by the time he died.

 Don't really know what means "mutualist".

 Doesn't matter!  Kos ought to read him, mutualist or no.

 ;^)

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:54:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mutualism can be characterised as a kind of what you could call socialistic libertarianism, or individualist anarchism, or anarchistic socialism, or individualist socialism. The crucial feature of its present permutation is the recognition of corporations as just as much a threat to freedom as the State, from which surprisingly socialistic consequences follow. Main figures of its origins were Frenchman Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and American Benjamin Tucker in the 19th century, their present champion is one Kevin A. Carson who runs the rather good Mutualist blog, with the telling subtitle "Free Market Anti-Capitalism". (I think both you and Migeru shoulkd like it.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 05:22:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, I started off today in a bad mood and it's not improving any as the day wears on.

Why don't we agree that I haven't read any Popper, being a mere finite mortal and not having read everything on the planet despite my best efforts and why don't you explain why his position is so much more awful that the other positions taken by Democrats?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:47:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 "You know, I started off today in a bad mood ..."

Amazingly, no, in fact, I wasn't aware.


 "Why don't we agree that I haven't read any Popper, being a mere finite mortal and not having read everything on the planet despite my best efforts..."

 Okay, agreed.  Not having read Popper is certainly not something to feel a need to explain or excuse.  I hadn't read him either until a year or two or three ago.  And, my ignorance is no less than yours: infinite, just like everybody else's. (Hence my inability to forecast or know your mood at any given time.)


 ...and why don't you explain why his position is so much more awful that the other positions taken by Democrats?"

 Popper advocated as much oversight and control of government authority as necessary to defend public's  
rights against powerful interests, whether these were in the public or the private domain.  Thus, he wasn't a libertarian in any ordinary sense of the term.  And he saw as vital the need to dispense with distinctions about whether power was held and wielded by public or private authorities and that, to protect freedoms of the weak--that is, of ordinary people--against the powers of the strong--that is, in whatever measure one wants to define strength--that it is necessary to place some institutional controls on the use of all power--to guard against its capricious use.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 03:06:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 Though, I don't mean that these are points against Popper. His positions, so far from being awful, let alone worse than those of Democrats, are actually ones I strongly favor.

 There's a good chance, I suppose, that some Dems approve of Popper's political philosophy--perhaps some Republicans, too.  In that case, I really wish they'd show themselves.  This would be a great time to do that.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 03:21:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By "his position" I meant Kos's position.

Though thanks for the summary of Popper.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 03:47:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Oh, I see now.  Well, you're welcome --regarding the thumb-nail sketch of Popper.

 Why are Kos's views so much worse than those of other Dems?  

 They're really not, I think; comparatively many of them are perhaps a good deal better. But they are, I fear, far below those on which many people who read him and participate have invested very great hopes.

 To that he might say, "If so, it's a shame; I never promised anyone I'd unite the workers of the world in some class struggle."

 Fair enough.  He didn't.  But, as Bill McKibben wrote in his New York Review of Books profile on DailyKos, there has been nothing as hope-inspirng on the American political scene for some twenty-five years or so.

 For so many hopes to come to so little would be--I know only too well--another huge blow of disappointment for the tattered remnants of the American Left(-i-ness ).

 Another such huge disappointment is now in the making with the announced coronation of her highness, Hillary.  As I've often asked lately, "How many times can the political hopes of millions of Americans be raised up, only to come crashing down again upon the recognition that it is again another case of a self-interested political ambition callously using people for career advancement and personal glory and very, very little else?"

 At last, something has to give.  And it could be very ugly.  The responsibility in such a case should be squarely on the shoulders of the elected and other élites who took care first of their own selfish interests and the public's last, or, more often, not at all.

 

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 04:14:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Adding to proximity1's point, yes, one "eek" is because this doesn't seem like a program to reform the Democratic party, this sounds like something Bill Clinton could have said.

The other "eek" is in connection with what poemless also got at with the role of the State - Kos speaks abbout policies that maximize individual freedom, no word here about collective action and responsible behaviour necessitating issues like Peak Oil, global warming, third world poverty etcetera.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 05:34:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...necessitated by issues like...

I wonder what readers think about all these major errors in my comments... the truth is I constantly re-write everything even before I finish writing, and often forget to do a final clean-up.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 06:27:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 "I was going to write a long diatribe about how Kos is more action oriented and interested in ..."

 I think you ought to write it anyway.

 Is it another "lightnin' rod" piece?

 "Define 'action-oriented', Define 'Big picture'..."

  ;^ù

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 03:25:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll pass.  It should be obvious, anyway.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 05:41:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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