Saturday, May 12, 2012

Empathy Wars: Mitt Romney and the Republican Party's Bully Politics

This is not rocket science.

Mitt Romney likes firing people. Mitt Romney drives with terrified family pets on the roof of his car. Mitt Romney assaulted a gay student while in prep school. Mitt Romney tricked a blind teacher, apparently one he "liked," letting the man walk into a glass door. He is a bully. Mitt Romney is also the presumed Presidential nominee for a political party of unapologetic bullies. Ergo he is a near perfect leader for the Tea Party GOP.

American politics in the Age of Obama is beset by deep divides in partisanship, ideology, and political values. These debates are about more than policy. They have devolved into disagreements about the very nature of empirical reality, facts, and science. For example, is global warming real? Do tax cuts for the rich pay for themselves as they trickle down to the rest of us? Can one cut a country's budget in a time of deep economic crisis and somehow miraculously produce economic growth? Is Barack Obama a United States citizen? Is the President a closet, Muslim, Manchurian candidate Socialist? Are white people "oppressed" in America?

As cultivated by the Right-wing media echo chamber, Democrats (and those "evil" progressives) are not just wrong on almost every major political and social issue. No, they are treasonous, deserving of death and extermination, and want to destroy the country.

The diametrically opposed worldviews of conservatives and liberals are also a function of differences in biology, brain structure, and political personality types. For example, researchers have discovered that the fear centers of conservatives' brains are over-developed. This in turn makes them highly susceptible to anxieties about social change, threat, and creates a hostility towards those people who conservatives perceive to be the Other.

Moreover, conservatives tend to be deferent to authority and hierarchy, fearful of change, closed off to new experiences, possessed of a binary world view, attracted to simple moral appeals ("right and wrong"; "good guys and bad guys") and highly intolerant of ambiguity. These traits are a formula for authoritarian thinking, which as the book Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics demonstrates, has a broad impact on public opinion regarding such topics as immigration, privacy, women's reproductive rights, national security, gay marriage, and matters of race and racial inequality.

In all, these differences in political worldviews can be crystallized down into one key divide: conservatives and liberals are radically different in how human empathy impacts their political decision-making.

The University of Southern California's Ravi Iyer incisively demonstrates this divide with the following chart:
The more empathetic a liberal is, the more likely they are to be interested in politics. The opposite holds true for conservatives: the less empathetic they are, the more likely a given conservative is to show interest in political matters. This is a damning reveal; it explains much of the Ayn Rand, dystopian, destroy the social safety net, one against many, politics of the Republican Party. By implication, those who show little empathy are rendered grossly incapable of even working through how either the Common Good or the Good Society should be values in the political calculus of governance, citizenship, and leadership.  

The Republican Presidential primary season has provided ample evidence of how the GOP, a group I have described as a death cult, has become a  party possessed by a deep lack of empathy.

For example, during the debates audience members laughed at the prospect of uninsured people dying. They mocked a gay soldier who was serving his country abroad. It was also suggested during their debates that Muslim Americans should be openly harassed and racially profiled (not one candidate intervened or suggested this was unconstitutional) and that undocumented citizens should be deported and/or the United States surrounded by electric fences.

And most recently, black people have been described as parasites on white America. And "inner city" children, what is code for black and brown youth, should follow through on a Dickensonian fantasy as they pick up mops and serve as school janitors, in order to learn the value of hard work

The policies of the Republican Party are demonstrative of a deep deficit in empathy. The poor are surplus people who are "unproductive," a "drain" on American society, and who leech off of the rich and "normal" Americans. The social safety net should be destroyed as "entitlements" like Social Security and unemployment insurance, encourage laziness and sloth. Support for hungry children, public education, the unemployed, and the poor should be cut to ensure tax cuts for the rich.

While income and wealth inequality is at record highs, inter-generational mobility is stifled, and the middle and working classes are being eviscerated, it is in fact the wealthy who are being held under siege by "class warfare."

The Republican Party has been practicing "bully politics" at its best since the election of President Obama. 

The Republican leadership has proudly vowed to destroy his presidency at any cost--even if the country suffers because of it. The Republican Party has worked to obstruct legislation at every turn--even popular bills supported by the public. There is a concerted effort to destroy the public's confidence in government with the hope that anger and rage will be distributed equally at both parties--as opposed to those in the Republican Party who are most responsible for these impasses in procedure and voting (even opposing legislation they previously supported in order to spite President Obama).

The foot soldiers of the radical political faction otherwise known as the Tea Party have prided themselves on holding the country hostage (as they did during the debt ceiling crisis), repeatedly demonstrating that zealotry holds precedence over good government and the public interest.

Richard Mardouk, who defeated Senator Dick Lugar in Indiana last week, summed up the bully politics of the Tea Party GOP perfectly when he stated that a lack of compromise " the definition of political effectiveness. The fact is you never compromise on principles. If people on the far left have a principle they want to stand by, they should never compromise. Those of us on the right should not either. Compromise may come in the finer details of a plan or a budget. We are at the point where one side of the other will win this argument. One side or the other will dominate."

Ultimately Mardouk notes, "what I've said about compromise and bipartisanship is I hope to build a conservative majority in the United States Senate so that bipartisanship becomes Democrats joining Republicans to roll back the size of government, reduce the bureaucracy, lower taxes and get American moving again." 

Compromise is their enemy. They must bend others to their will not through negotiation, moral and ethical clarity, or persuasion, but through hardheadedness and intimidation. Compromise is not give and take, or political horse trading: it is forcing Democrats to always agree with Republicans

Mitt Romney, bully, is a perfect candidate for a political party of bullies, a collective both refined and gross. The policies offered by the Republican Party are a one against all, state of nature mix of Ayn Rand's love of personal selfishness and unbridled corporate greed. Here, the government should be drowned in the bathtub and the social safety destroyed in order to transfer more resources to the rich.

Radical libertarianism, deregulation, and a free market unmoored by any restrictions of common sense, humanity, or reason will separate the weak from the strong. The rest of society be damned in this Mad Max view of Americans' obligations to one another and the social compact. We are all just individual agents, lacking any rights of citizenship which cannot be secured and protected by radical free market capitalism, the bankers, financiers, and plutocrats.

This America, the one of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party's dreams, is a bully's paradise.

Mitt Romney, prep school bully of the weak and vulnerable, corporate raider bully who takes pleasure in terminating employees, nominee of a political party of bullies and "real Americans," and he who wants to be President of the United States, has made it abundantly clear that empathy is not a public virtue to be cultivated or encouraged.

What does that mean for the rest of us who don't get to sit at the cool kids table or have enough money to hang out with Mitt Romney and his exclusive clique?


nomad said...

Liberals have empathy. Conservatives don't. I wonder what Democrat blue dogs have? And what about conservatives that pretend to be liberal? Do they have some kind of faux empathy to go along with their faux liberal policies. There's not a whole lot of difference between Robama and Obomney. Actually, it might turn out better for the nation if the Republicans won the presidency. Maybe the left would awaken from its Barack induced stupor and put up an actual fight against the right wing rogue regime.

chaunceydevega said...

@nomad. the story is a complicated one.

those reagan democrat, yellow dog, blue dog, etc types are most likely leaning one way or another because of a combination of psychology, reasoned choice strategically, commitments to party ID that doesn't necessarily mate with voting choices consistently, and that they are independents who have chosen a party affiliation that doesn't fully capture their political beliefs.

this stuff is complicated. but, there are some baselines, such as what I alluded to above, that are hard to ignore as they have high levels of explanatory power across multiple dimensions.

nomad said...

Yeah, I agree with that dialectic, basically. Conservatives a whole lot less empathetic than liberals. It's them damn chimeras that make things complicated. I just wish the liberals had spines.

Do you recall an episode of the original Star Trek where Kirk was split into two, one good, one bad? The good Kirk was too weak to be an effective leader. Those qualities rested with the bad Kirk. The Democrats are "good" (empathetic) but they got no balls. The Republicans got balls. But they're evil.

And, of course, Obama is a shape shifter. A Republican in disguise.

CNu said...

No one dare give voice to the underlying fact of declining available net energy, which translates directly into a perpetually contracting economy for the foreseeable with no conceivable remedy in view - and - profound population overshoots and massive ecological degradation - which translates into several billion of these humans gotta go, gotta go, gotta go....,

Throcky said...

That's a nice red herring you've got there.

AlterEgo said...

Methinks the author overplays the reports to make a point. Romney did say he likes to fire people -- people who don't do what they are paid to do. (Obama fired his top Middle East commander over comments made to an embedded reporter). Terrified dog? Not according to those who were there, who said the dog enjoyed going on trips. Assaulted a gay student? That student, who was not acknowledged as gay until years later, never mentioned the incident. Conservative mocked a gay soldier? Two anonymous voices out of several hundred yelled "boo" for two seconds after a political question was asked by the gay soldier, then Santorum was ripped for only addressing the moderator's question.

And about that "blind" teacher who Romney pranked. That "blind" teacher drove a VW Beetle. Maybe he didn't know he was blind?

CNu said...

What does that mean for the rest of us who don't get to sit at the cool kids table or have enough money to hang out with Mitt Romney and his exclusive clique?

Since neither candidate can/will tell the truth about the situation, it means that an Obama second term will usher in, in earnest, something socially and economically resembling the Victorian era in England, while a Romney presidency OTOH would mark the beginning of a return to something far more akin to the American version of the Victorian era...,

sledge said...

Cnu said...
"an Obama second term will usher in, in earnest, something socially and economically resembling the Victorian era in England, while a Romney presidency OTOH would mark the beginning of a return to something far more akin to the American version of the Victorian era...,"

Ahhh, for us who grew up a little less enlightened can you elaborate what that means please? I scratched my head but it didn't help clarify it for me. :)

chaunceydevega said...


Stop playing. Facts are your friends. Easy picking. The dog who so enjoyed himself strapped to a speeding vehicle which then shit all over itself in terror? I love my dog, would never strap him on the top of a moving vehicle for hours. Unsafe. Cruel. Dangerous.

Romney joked about closing down companies and firing people. Just a fact.He made his money partly by being a hachet man. And no this didn't "create jobs" as the lie goes.

The gay student who was held down by a gang of prep school bullies who then cut his hair? From the Wapo story, and others who were interviewed, it seemed quite memorable and cruel. That is assault. Unless you think such things are funny.

The teacher was legally blind. Do you find such antics funny?

There were many people in the audience mocking the soldier, just as others mocked dying people and cheered the death penalty. Never mind the candidates' silence on unconstitutional racial profiling. Or were you watching a different debate than the rest of us?

I think you proved my point on the right wing echo chamber and detachment from reality. I hope you run from your overlords in the idiot box called fox news and the right wing echo chamber. not good for your health.

The man has an empathy gap. It isn't rocket science; his upbringing, social circle, and cold behavior (and lack of contrition for his high school meanness) is proof of this.

I have to ask, so firing an insubordinate officer who insults and mocks the C in C is somehow a reach by Obama? Are you that drunk on the right wing kool-aid?

I hope not.

nomad said...

So I was wondering. Have any of these studies been done on the politicians themselves. Or just the populace.

"researchers at University College London found that self-described conservative students had a larger amygdala than liberals."

There may be some exceptions, some genuine liberals among elected Democrats. But a study was done on our elected officials, especially at the state and national levels, I'd bet you'd find the same reptilian brain in both parties. Remember liberal is not synonymous with the Democratic party. Here in the US, in fact, we are blessed with two conservative parties, an no liberal one at all. That's why both predatory parties are courting austerity. One has no empathy. The other only pretends to.

nomad said...

But IF a study was done on our elected officials, especially at the state and national levels, I'd bet you'd find the same reptilian brain in both parties.

CNu said...

Sledge, the Victorian era sucked for the overwhelming majority of the British embedded in it - but this same time span 1837-1901 - was arguably even more hellish for all people of color in America.

Something very definitely along these lines is in store in the contracting American economy. Under the Brookings/Obama schema, the misery would pretty much be equal opportunity. Under a conservative governance regime, given the inescapable fact that contemporary conservatism is white identity politics - that equal opportunity misery is out the window in favor of racially segmented levels of misery.

Muslims, mexicans, blacks, others...,

CNu said...

Every truth-seeking American should have the eye-openingly Dickensian experience of a week or two wandering a few megacities - especially at night...,

sledge said...


I see. Yes, I agree with most of that. Although, I think regardless of who wins the elections, they won't be able to stop the deterioration at this point. And it will spread across everyone pretty much equally.

Even the majority of the rich are going to be hit which may provide some entertainment as they toss themselves out of high rise buildings much like what happened in the 20's.

Of course there are those protected wealthy who will have taken steps to ensure their domination and life status.

I think your eye-opening Dickensian Experience advise is well taken. Although, I doubt even that would awaken most people to what drastic steps Governments under pressure will take to maintain control, authority and power.

We've already been given a window into what that will look like by the laws, regulations and Executive Orders being created almost weekly by a government well aware of what's coming. But that is of little concern to the average American intoxicated by the latest episode of The Voice or American Idol while they await the return of Hell on Wheels and The Walking Dead.

My curiosity runs to what will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. The recent EU votes? The report issued by the Mujahedin-e Khalq listing the names, addresses and affiliations of the Iranian scientists assigned to working on a deployable bomb? Some kind of a real or false flag attack?

What ever it is you can bet it will enable politicians across the spectrum to blame the collapse on that event rather than their mishandling of our economy.

I know CD likes to blame conservatives for all evils. That isn't actually the case though. At some point it will dawn on everyone that we are all in this sinking boat together and we're all going to get wet. Well, except for the captains, who by the way, don't plan on going down with the ship that they ran aground.

chaunceydevega said...

@Sledge. No. I blame those parties most responsible. Our political system is broken, both have sold out to the corporateocracy and much of these fights are a con game and smoke and mirrors.

But on practical matters, and choosing my poison, much of the hot garbage and creeping fascism in this country, what we call inverted totalitarianism, is right on the door of the GOP, a party in its death throws at present.

Demographic changes will render them obsolete--now is the time to do something new and radical. This will likely not be in the interest of the common good.

The Ayn Rand false populism of the New Right and the Culture Warriors will be the final chapter when some historian years in the future writes about the collapse of this moment in American democracy. Bank on it.

There is a very Wiemaresque mood in the air and a marked fatalism and desperation among the tea party take our America back crowd. Watch out for them. Coupled with the Depression 2.0 we are in, the formula is explosive.

I respect old school true conservatives. I even respect the Burkean types. The "conservatives" of the present are dangerous radicals. Total outliers in their own intellectual tradition.

nothispanic/latino/spanish, BSc. JD said...

What It Means
There is a big unknown underlying these findings. Supposing that the size of one's amygdala really does increase the likelihood of being a conservative. Is the size of the amygdala determined at birth, or does it perhaps increase with frightening childhood experiences, such as authoritarian parenting and corporal punishment?

What's it mean? I have been saying for years that the amygdala impaired in on its evolutionary way out. They intrinsically feel it and are fighting, clawing to remain relevant. Even to the point of destroying us all to "save" their silly asses!

AlterEgo said...

@Chaunceydevega: Legally blind is not the same as blind. Sometimes the death penalty is called for -- and to be applauded. Were you inside the dog's head (and cage)?

As to Romney's empathy, which you claim does not exist, see:


As to McCrystal: Kindly provide any direct quotes from him in which he insults or mocks the C in C. (And you might ask Sledge about the realities of war...)

chaunceydevega said...

@Alter. I will humor you. I suspect you are new here; we have never chatted. I am a pragmatist. This is the big kids table. My politics may surprise you.

Some basics on Obama and his general; why deny the obvious? be consistent. if one of Bush's generals flapped gums like this you would have supported him being sacked:

You mean the Romney who drummed out his gay adviser? Stop the talking points. We likely agree on quite a few things; but, you need to mix up your game to score points here at WARN.

Realities of war? Your point? Don't make assumptions about me either btw.

chaunceydevega said...

@Alter. That sounds nice. Don't make up straw men. He showed "empathy" for a friend's kid.

That indicates nothing about empathy for whole groups of folks who are the Other; excuses away his treatment of his social "lessers" in prep school; and has little to do with the claim that empathy is a powerful independent variable in regards to political behavior where conservatives are deficient.

Up the game.

Fun either way.

AlterEgo said...

@Chaunceydevega: You're right. This is fun. You need to up your game. I just read your linked article on McCrystal, as well as a number of others. Again, I ask:

Kindly provide any direct quotes from him in which he insults or mocks the C in C.

I note that you failed to do so. Any particular reason, since you made the charge? Perhaps you cannot back it up because your charge is false? (Or are you going to claim your answer was only "legally blind"?)

chaunceydevega said...

@Alter. Meh. If you cannot see that he was insubordinate given all that he said about Biden, ambassadors, his commanders and the like there is little to discuss. His behavior was thoroughly insubordinate. Public complaining about the C in C, describing him in poor terms publicly, cultivating a command atmosphere where this was permissible. His fellow officers felt so as well.

Why invested in defending him? Or is this part of a general strategy where everything Obama does is wrong? And by your suggestion everything I suggest is not true?

CNu said...

All of the above.

Once enjoined, this scholastic pseudo-litigation would become absolutely exhausting...,

and considering that it has the real-world grip and punch of a session of dungeons and dragons, i.e., it's all distracting personality conflict with no application to solving pressing and calamitous challenges facing you humans..., absolutely exhausting and useless.

AlterEgo said...

@ChaunceyDeVega: I'll try again: You stated that McCrystal insulted or mocked the C in C. This will make the third time I will ask you for your sources. Your referenced article quotes other persons and unnamed advisers. Yet you blame McCrystal. I'm suggesting that you have no backing for your charge against McCrystal. And you keep proving this charge correct. Please, demonstrate that your own charge is true.

chaunceydevega said...

Alter. In the interest of killing time. McCrystal said that Obama looked intimidated by the generals, and that he wasn't impressed when he met the President. Those there said this was done in a mocking tone. The Rolling Stone interview suggested as such with the environment the general cultivated.

That a general does not have the good sense to avoid such loose lips, and then to give an interview to Rolling Stone, and his attitude regarding the VP and his civilian commanders is more than enough reason to kick him to the curb. Shockingly bad judgment that likely overflows to other things.

What is your dog in this fight? He was clearly insubordinate? Is the good general a cousin or friend of yours? Or is this just hard headed narrow minded partisan sniping where you try to focus on silliness as opposed to substantive matters of concern.

Is this some trolling audit where you are going to annoy me by picking out little parts of bigger claims in order to discredit my arguments? There is much here on WARN, and interestingly you have nothing to say about my rebuttal to your Romney mr. empathy talking points. Curious.

The populist fox news right wing crowd is so exhausting--and counter to the common good--because they waste time on foolish matters. There is much to substantively critique the president over. You don't need to make things up.

AlterEgo said...

@ChaunceyDeVega: Good point:

"You don't need to make things up."

You chide me with "up the game". If you lived up to your own game, I would have had no reason to comment. I only wrote because you made things up -- and have yet to demonstrate otherwise.

CNu said...


You only wrote because you're a poster-child for "conservatism as white identity politics" desperately out to score political points.

Thanks for exemplifying so persuasively and setting your own cause back in the process.

sledge said...

Don't ask me about war because I'm not going to talk about it. The only people who talk about it are liars or psychopaths. Most of us put a lot of effort into trying to forget.

Obama has made several missteps, either intentional or not, in regards to the military. He has tried to make some advances to rectify some of the mistakes he's made. I don't think it has had the effect he was hoping for.

Most of the military looks at Obama as a weak CIC. It is especially evidenced in the lower ranks.

Those in the upper ranks who are warry of the CIC's abilities and motives, after General McCrystal, keep their mouths shut out of fear for their careers.

It's created a paradox problem in the military. It's ingrained in the military to follow the CIC's orders unquestioned. They still feel this sense of duty but it's conflicted with a sense of distrust of the CIC's and those he has surrounded himself with, abilities and agendas.

McCrystal's command made the mistake of voicing what the vast majority other commands think. CD is correct in saying that giving the interview to Rolling Stone raised questions as to his judgement on public relations perceptions and matters.

But make no mistake. General McCrystal's judgement as a warfighting commander was and is unsurpassed. He was one of our very best in military conflict and strategy planning. His loss due to the situation that occurred was and is a serious blow to our national defense on several levels.

To another subject. CD I take it that you don't believe that compassionate conservatism actually exists. That those who claim to be part of compassionate conservative movement are just paying lip service for political reasons?

For myself, I feel that compassion for those in need is what good people feel and do. The bad part is that even when you feel compassion, that if you don't have the funds to do anything about it it makes you feel even worse.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the person who is bound by color has found an alter ego.

CNu said...

The epic military fails of the catastrophic G-Dub administration, the rise of overpaid mercenary forces like Blackwater et al, make any criticism of the Hon.Bro.Preznit Double-O sound disingenuous as hell.

Arguments on behalf of American warsocialism and predatory militarism must always be a losing proposition.

The military is the single most wasteful and non-productive institution known to humankind, and the Pentagon's - military in search of missions to justify its massive general staff bloat - is the worst offender of ALL TIME.

This has been true since 1947, the chronological and economic inflection point, after which warsocialism became the primary institutional mechanism for income redistribution and welfare in the U.S.

sledge said...


I don't know that I would refer to him as Hon.Bro.Preznit. If that makes my criticism of some of his mistakes sound disingenuous so be it. It does little to change the situation.

Although in fairness, I have grave concerns about Romney's abilities as a CIC as well.

These are dangerous times on several fronts, whether created or not by nefarious individuals or groups. All signs are that whoever wins election we are going to be lead by weakness and agenda.

Makes one wonder whether that is an intentional choice we're given.

CNu said...

Sledge, Hon.Bro.Preznit is satirical, much as is the nickname "Double-O" (since the most dangerous thing the preznit has ever personally killed is a sandwich)

It's a spoof on the Hon.Bro.Minister - and honorific frequently bestowed upon Louis Farrakhan. This isn't to suggest that either Farrakhan or Obama could ever be mistaken as Honorable or as Brothers, however, they share in common time served in Chicago, exceptional oratorical talents, substantial fame and personal self-enrichment, and no noteworthy leadership accomplishments for or on behalf of black folks in America.

Anyway, as to the "dangers" - the U.S. is not under any clear and present military threat and quite honestly never has been at any time over the past 70 years.

The only threat to stability and security in the U.S. is failure of sustainable economic "growth" sufficient to drive bank profits over the long term. It is wholly unacceptable to use the military as a form of ritualized welfare for non-productive and unemployed sectors of the U.S. demography and the U.S. economy, and, as the largest single consumer of energy and goods output in the entire economy.

Like "planned obsolescence" warsocialism is central planning using the government as a means to keep an economic bubble artificially inflated. In this case, however, it is using the most wasteful, destructive, and immoral of activities known to humankind - simply to drive growth and sustain profits.

As a society, the only thing this country is objectively and genuinely in danger of, is collapsing under the incredible weight of its habitual profligacy and barbaric immorality.

The U.S. is not now and never has been at risk of being invaded, of having its population starve, or of having its strategic resource interests abroad taken back by others. In fact, at this moment in time, the military is perhaps the single greatest threat to freedom and democracy that has ever existed in historical time.

CNu said...

p.s., that's all a really verbose way of saying phuk that insolent and insubordinate redneck McCrystal whose alleged "greatness" signifies nothing so much as that he forgot his place and that he became an indignant ingrate to the civilian task master who empowered and fed him lo these many years of non-productive posturing....,

sledge said...


Some of what you wrote I agree with and some I don't. China and Russia are both threats and will be more so in the coming years.

It doesn't take much research to find what China's leaders and military generals have been saying for a decade. They totally believe, have stated, and are preparing for a war with the U.S. that they see as inevitable. By the way, the fact that they could win that war today with the right strategy, something they have a nack for, is not out of the question

Russia under Putin's leadership is rearming and has a strategy to rebuild a replacement for the Soviet Union. The EU's problems and economic hardships to follow will fall right in his lap due to the gas and energy Russian sends to the European countries. Turned off for a week would bring Europe to it's knees.

Add to that that our financial position is an arrow in our Achilles heal.

Do you feel comfortable that either Obama or Romney posses either the craftiness of the Chinese, or the strength and internal fortitude of a Putin, or for that matter the total dedication to mission of the Iranians?

Personally, I don't think either of them is up to what's ahead. We need someone with special, historical abilities. Unfortunately, a person with those attributes has yet to arise and isn't on either ticket.

Tom said...

insolent and insubordinate redneck McCrystal whose alleged "greatness" signifies nothing so much as that he forgot his place and that he became an indignant ingrate to the civilian task master who empowered and fed him lo these many years of non-productive posturing....,

Second that. Ever since the Clinton years Republicans in the armed forces have been flirted with a bizarre petulance toward elected leaders that in a nation that was truly under civilian administration should have been addressed with prison terms not press conferences.

CNu said...

Add to that that our financial position is an arrow in our Achilles heal.

Sledge, money is a proxy for power.

The U.S. has the means to increase its wealth against both Russia and China - and any other contenders at present - through inflationary and deflationary currency manipulations.

Russia under Putin's leadership is rearming and has a strategy to rebuild a replacement for the Soviet Union. The EU's problems and economic hardships to follow will fall right in his lap due to the gas and energy Russian sends to the European countries. Turned off for a week would bring Europe to it's knees.

and I'm giving a dayyum about that because.......? oh yeah, and they can have Israel too. None of these garrison states mean a dayyum thing to me. All of them are perfectly capable of defending themselves and it's long overdue time they begin to do so.

The U.S. has all the food and weapons (the true wealth) - and either contender would have to take that from us (a complete impossibility)

Do you feel comfortable that either Obama or Romney posses either the craftiness of the Chinese, or the strength and internal fortitude of a Putin, or for that matter the total dedication to mission of the Iranians?


You place MUCH greater stock by the electoral office of preznit than I do. The preznit has not enjoyed that level of genuine executive autonomy and authority since Eisenhower.

Two presidents have gotten out of pocket since then and the first got his head blown off in Dealy plaza, and the second resigned the office in disgrace under threat of impeachment.

Frankly, both Russia and China are in rather desperate straights population wise, the former too few, the latter waaaaaay too many - with the consequence that each has serious and systemic governance problems that can easily mushroom into complete instability.

Nah, I'm not concerned in the least little bit by the imaginary and contrived strategic "threat" posed by the BRIC, rather, I'm far more concerned about the profit driven move toward economically Dickensian fascism in the U.S. not brought on by objective necessity, rather, brought on on a purely discretionary basis by powers that be striving to preserve their elite and hegemonic claim on profitability.

You see, from the perspective of the bankers who truly rule the U.S. and by extension, the world, you're only as useful as you are profitable.

We haven't been particularly profitable for some time now, but then, neither really have the Russians or the Chinese for that matter...,

Tom said...

And Alter this careens past disingenuousness and collides with foolishness. If the dude wasn't to some degree blind how'd he walk into the door?

Anything can be debated endlessly, and on the net it usually is, but arguing the definition of blindness when you know to begin with that the prank involved sight impairment ... that is simply trolling.

Tom said...

I'm with CNu on the military "threat" posed by countries facing an alliance (counting only NATO+Japan) that spends 75% of the world's military budget.

They may indeed feel that war is inevitable, but the war I'd plan for in their shoes would be purely defensive.

Anonymous said...

You obviously have an 'education' yet are a poster child for the cheated generations. The government education you received lacked several important things. HISTORY, for one. Economics #2 and the ability to tell the difference between communism, socialism, marxism, and a free republic with a constitution and laws. You should be able to get all of your college tuition refunded because they cheated you terribly. Not only by indoctrinating you to be a useful idiot for the Cloward - Pivens crowd, but by not giving you a well rounded education. Since I don't have time to un-program each and every person that has been indoctrinated into believing America is evil, I will follow this with a little story. Some of you may find it frustrating because there is no denying the facts.

Anonymous said...

I am not trying to hide behind anonymous, it's just easier than signing in.

My name is Jeff Bennett. If I state something that is not TRUE, I do want to hear facts in return so I may consider them.

Father/Daughter Talk

This gently explains the difference in thinking
between people with opposite outlooks.

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many
others her age, she considered herself to be very liberal, and among other
liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more
government programs, in other words, redistribution of wealth. She was deeply
ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative, a feeling she
openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the
occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years
harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes
and the need for more government programs.

The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the
truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she
was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let
him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a
very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no
time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because
she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?" She
replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she
never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus;
college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties and lots
of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."

Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office
and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only
has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would
be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired
back, "That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really hard
for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey
has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my
tail off!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the
conservative side of the fence."

If you ever wondered what side of the fence you sit on, this is a great

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and Jesus silenced.

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for
it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a
good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he's "offended."

sledge said...

LOL Anon. You've got it all wrong. CD is a closet conservative. He just hasn't figured that out yet.

I can imagine the headline and what I'll be reading here once he does. LOL!

chaunceydevega said...

@Anon Jeff Bennett. Did you enroll in the Glenn Beck university or simply here about evil Cloward Fox Piven on Fox News?

I like your story/spoken word poetry. I would like to commission a story from you. Something I can put on this site. Would you do me the favor? Alternatively, you could record yourself performing this magisterial art on Youtube and we can embed the video. Where do you get your inspiration from? What style are your appropriating?

Please offer up your cv or artists biography.

chaunceydevega said...

@Anon Jeff. What fun. You are a conservative ventriloquist's dummy or parrot with someone's hand up your butt. Your interesting story is some right wing crap chain letter posted all over the Internet. Do you have any original thoughts? Is this the best you have to offer?

Sophie said...

I really don't know how Mr.Devega can tolerate the Stupidity A Anon, etc., trolling on his site.
From the article: "Compromise is their enemy. They must bend others to their will not through negotiation, moral and ethical clarity, or persuasion, but through hardheadedness and intimidation. Compromise is not give and take, or political horse trading: it is forcing Democrats to always agree with Republicans..."

Perfectly stated, and this is exactly what wingnut trolls will never understand. And, this is also why America may not survive.

Anonymous said...

If a conservative thinks you should follow his religious teachings, he passes laws that say a doctor can stick a probe up your vagina before you make any decisions about what to do with your body...