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Signifyin(g)Monkey

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Signifyin(g)Monkey last won the day on August 1 2015

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  1. Searching for a response of humanity

    There are no other horsemen on this cold earth, Death is not so obvious as that anymore; it has foregone notions of apocalypse, of release and dispensation , unraveled into subtler everyday abstractions--webmd apps on smartphones, threads of Facebook rage, panic on the evening news...all the faded echos of the horsemen, the Balkanization, digitizations and globalizations of Death's supremacy, of that final dark jolt, the one after which there can be no more, the one we must erect a thousand facades, everyday, to forget, deny and repudiate from here to the farthest star--even knowing it is fruitless, pointless, futile as it has always been
  2. The working homeless and the homelessness crisis on the West Coast

    People of all political stripes are hostage to stereotypes about the homeless that are totally outmoded on the coasts. Many of the homeless in these cities are hardworking people who would be solidly middle class in places with cheaper housing.
  3. Why I like living in Iowa, despite the damn winters.
  4. Here's what I think/predict given the information that's trickled out so far: It's very possible that, if Mueller is not somehow removed from his post, that he will determine that Trump aides engaged in some form of collusion with the Russians. But if that turns out to be true, it's not going to be a Watergate scale thing. It's probably just going to amount to some members of the Trump campaign using Russian contacts to get dirt on Clinton, or something like that. It likely won't directly implicate Trump, and thus won't be able to serve as a basis for impeachment. The Republican base will dismiss the scandal using various rationalizations, such as "Clinton did it too, Mueller's biased", and "the issue's overblown, Trump himself didn't do anything", etc. At the end of the day, Trump will still likely get re-elected, unless A.) a recession hits by 2020, or B.) the Democrats produce a strong, charismatic candidate with a really well-organized campaign. I can see A happening, but I don't know about B. The Democratic bench looks pretty weak, although I think a popular, centrist governor like Hickenlooper could be competitive. But I don't see a Sanders, a Warren or a Booker beating Trump. Whatever happens, though, it seems to me that American politics is totally broken, and the balkanizing effects of social media may keep it from ever being put back together again. But I'd love for my cynicism and pessimism to be totally refuted.
  5. Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America, during the Cornerstone Address:
  6. It would be nice, however, if Clinton would stop giving him the ability to do this via her undisclosed skeletons. Btw, just saw a headline that said Manafort is turning himself in. edit: dammit, two posts late!
  7. Do you sympathize with people who kill other people? Note that placing any conditions on said sympathy is, according to your own logic, no kind of sympathy at all. You cannot sympathize with soldiers who kill for their country and people who kill in self-defense but not sympathize with Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. Which is, you know, a *totally* reasonable position.
  8. @Massdriver @sblfilms How do you think this will effect your businesses? Did the storm wreck any of your key infrastructure? What contingency plans/preparations do you have in place? I realize at the moment everyone's rightly more concerned with merely surviving, but I fear the economic toll could be worse than the death toll in the long run, a la post-Katrina New Orleans. I hope your livelihoods survive the deluge.
  9. But those increases in income have been more than offset by increased indebtedness, as well. The middle class makes more now than in the 1980s in nominal terms, but much more of that income must now go to debt service because they are also on average more in debt now than they ever have been. The national savings rate is negative, and the national debt-to-income ratio is far higher than it was three decades ago. (second graph compares this trend in the US to Japan and China) So while the middle class saw income growth in the past three decades, this has come at the expense of debt peonage. Granted, this polarization of the economy and the reduction of the middle class to debt peonage is not all at the feet of Reagan, or even just globalization; it is the legacy of the subordination of industrial capital and investment in new factories and means of production to finance capital and its stock buybacks, leveraged buyouts, and creation of debt as an end in itself--most of which leeches off of the surplus that the industrial economy creates. This takeover is the result of a multifaceted process whose most basic substratum is neoliberal ideology and its attempt to eliminate the idea of economic rent from our economic vocabulary and way of thinking. On top of this are things such as the rise of monetarism, reckless deregulation of debt markets, ill-executed privatization of public assets, and the disintegration of the power of unions both at the hands of union-busters and corruption within the unions themselves. (certain countries, of course, managed to elude these traps--Germany, for example, still has a thriving industrial base, a high savings rate, and a modest financial sector, as well as excellent relationships between capital and labor) Reagan and Friedman certainly helped, but they are also simply part of a much larger movement attempting to reverse the industrial reforms that began with the rise of industrial capitalism from feudalism and continued to the progressive era, and to erase the influence of the ideas originally propagated by classical economists--Ricardo, Smith, Hume, etc.--who recognized the parasitic nature of rentier income and finance capital, and spearheaded attempts to prevent it from overtaking the productive forces of the industrial economy.
  10. Bravo. Subsidizing private debt in a time where excessive private debt is one of the main sources of our economic problems is a terrible policy.
  11. Not if you're a fascist. Wade is merely describing the fascist view of ethics, at the center of which is hardline Social Darwinism. (which is why I always laugh when DVD tries to paint social democrats--who are ardently anti-social Darwinism--as fascists...again, not something anyone who actually knows what fascism is would ever argue with a straight face) I disagree with his system of ethics, as I am not a fascist, but it's not hard to understand where he's coming from if you read fascist thinkers and understand fascist ideology. (And/or Nietzsche)
  12. Again, this argument is logically flawed; it's like saying a Dodge pickup truck, a Chevy Minivan, and a massive Peterbilt flatbed are exactly the same because they both have an engine, four wheels, and a steering wheel. That's straightforwardly false. Indeed, it fails logic 101. It also tells me that you don't know your economic history very well. In fact, your ignorance here is somewhat staggering. You're conflating markets and trade with capitalism; the two are not the same thing, as people like Adam Smith would agree. Market-based trade is an ancient economic process that has existed under many different forms of government, in many different cultures, all throughout history; capitalism is a historically contingent economic system. Societies with markets have existed that lacked anything we could call 'capital accumulation' or any capitalist class; they have existed without wage labor; they have existed with barter and gift systems, as in neolithic gift societies; they have existed without formal profits; without a state to enforce property rights on a large scale; and perhaps most importantly, they have existed without a formal process of capitalization, and without the process of capitalization being the primary means of social and economic organization. And any economic system that lacks such things--or whose markets are defined by a gift or barter system--cannot be called capitalism. This is really basic, economic history 101 stuff. Do yourself a favor and go study economic history; at least read The Wealth of Nations, because it's quite clear you haven't read it. You'll notice that Smith, whom historians call the "Father of Capitalism", wasn't born at the beginning of human history, and that he's not theorizing a system that always existed, but something that emerged as a response to mercantilism--which itself emerged out of feudalism--and the development of modern industry and thus a modern division of labor. Why would historians call Smith the Father of Capitalism if capitalism is just another word for trade and markets? Why would historians broadly agree that capitalism emerged around the 16th century, not in the first market society in human history, if capitalism is just another word for trade and markets? Think it over, and please actually study the history of the system you are talking about before you go lecturing people about it and presume to actually understand it.
  13. Trump calls White House "a real dump"

    It's comments like these that show why your claim that 'only people on the left attack the character and motives of those they disagree with' is quite obviously false.
  14. With all due respect, this simplistic, vulgarian way of thinking about capitalism is totally disconnected from reality. It's like saying there is only one type of car because every car has an engine and a steering wheel. That's nonsense. An SUV is not the same as a sedan, a Nissan Altima is not the same as a Dodge pickup truck. They all share certain characteristics, but they are all quite different from each other. It's the same with capitalism. A capitalist system where finance capital is the hegemon and bankers run the show works quite differently than one where industrial capital and factory owners run the show with the bankers serving their interests, even if both systems share certain elements--markets and capital accumulation, etc. A pickup truck is quite different from a minivan, though they both have an engine, a muffler, etc. This is why your arguments are so weak--they are not based on real world capitalism, but on a stylized, abstract version of capitalism that exists at a purely theoretical level and pretty much nowhere else. Strong arguments start with the world we live in, not in a world of abstraction.
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