• Watch the Shiny Object

    April 13, 2013

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    I fully support marriage equality. I support gun control. I support a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion or not. I am not this guy.

    But, I’m beginning to think politicians are distracting us. The big issues in every election now are gay marriage, guns and abortion. Say something out loud about any of those and you’ll pull a crowd, with people aggressively taking stances on each side. How many people voted for a presidential candidate based on his views on one or more of those topics while ignoring his views on drone killings, endless war in Africa and the Middle East and the destruction of personal freedom in our country? Better yet, did any voter notice that the views of the two main presidential candidates on the economy, rhetoric and Bruce Springsteen aside, differed very little in practical terms?

    Marriage equality, gun control and abortion rights are important issues—rights are rights—but mention a word about income equality and raising the minimum wage and either no one seems to care or worse, you’ll be blasted by business owners (gay and straight) calling workers lazy, while somebody who labels themselves pro-life refuses to support more food aid to children. Among the wealthy, only forty percent think the minimum wage might be too low; for the rest of us, 78 percent support a raise.

    Side Note: In 2012, the median overall pay of corporate CEOs rose eight percent, to $9.7 million. The value of CEO salaries, stock options, bonuses, and perks all rose in 2012, in most cases by double digits.

    Between 2008 and 2012, enrollment in the US government’s food stamp program rose by 70 percent. It is expected to rise again this year.

    It’s almost as if they want us to be preoccupied with some things that don’t affect their profit margins to the exclusion of others that do, a kind of modern version of Rome’s bread and circuses.

    Businesses can think about profits and seek to lower wages any way they can, but someone also needs to think about the society we live in, and the effect those business decisions have on all of us. I’ve visited the Third World, where income disparity is displayed at its worst, and it is not a place any of us want to live. But I think we better start thinking about getting used to it.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Yes, politicians are distracting US with these issues but it’s CNN and the other “news” sewers that use them to pander to its dwindling, senile audience, gauging by the geriatric commercials. Do your self a big favor and stop watching that crap.

      04/13/13 2:01 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Significantly, Peter, although I disagree with you about gay marriage and abortion being “rights” (although I have reservations about the “right” to own Kalashnikovs), I agree with you emphatically about those matters being deliberately concocted distractions from economic injustice.

      As I’ve mentioned on previous threads on your blog, despite being a self-described Burkean “conervative” (well, I’m around 60 percent Edmund Burke and 40 percent Thomas Jefferson – BTW today is Jefferson’s birthday!), still a big part of me admires and agrees with Karl Marx, especially his earlier writings. (Marx got boring after middle age, as most leftists do.)

      The tragedy – or rather, the betrayal – of the American Left, is that for the past several decades it has jettisoned concerns for economic injustice in exchange for effete ephemera, the Leftist Trinity of Race, Gender and Sodomy. (And those are in declining order of real victimhood: I remain very sympathetic to the plight of Blacks, unsympathetic to Feminism, and indifferent to homosexuals as long as they don’t frighten the horses in public.)

      What better way to keep a class of serfs in their place, than to misdirect their attention to factors which have almost nothing to do with the real causes of their enslavement?

      Time for a reprise of THIS cartoon, “The Communist Manifestoon”, text by Karl Marx, and I agree with THIS around 70 percent:


      04/13/13 2:24 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      PS to follow my above comment, about how “race” (let alone gender or sexual habits) is NOT the REAL basis for enslavement of Americans today…

      …I especially love, and agree with, this clip from “Matewan” (1987):


      04/13/13 3:41 PM | Comment Link

    • Michael Murry said...


      Mr Van Buren, apropos of your topic, you might want to check out something written by George Orwell in The Road to Wigan Pier (1937):

      “… It greatly confuses the issue to assume … that social status is determined solely by income. Economically, no doubt, there are only two classes, the rich and the poor, but socially there is a whole hierarchy of classes, and the manners and traditions learned by each class in childhood are not only very different but – and this is the essential point – generally persist from birth to death. Hence the anomalous individuals that you find in every class of society. … you find petty shopkeepers whose income is far lower than that of the bricklayer and who, nevertheless, consider themselves (and are considered) the bricklayer’s social superiors; you find board-school boys running Indian provinces and public school men touting vacuum cleaners. If social stratification corresponded precisely to economic stratification, the public-school man would assume a cockney accent the day his income dropped below £200 a year. But does he? On the contrary, he immediately becomes twenty times more Public School than before. He “clings” [scare-quotes and emphasis added] to the Old School Tie as to a life-line. And even the [“h”-mispronouncing] millionaire, though sometimes he goes to an elocutionist and learns a B.B.C accent, seldom succeeds in disguising himself as completely as he would like to. It is in fact very difficult to escape from the class into which you have been born.”

      “As prosperity declines, social anomalies grow commoner. You don’t get more [“h”-mispronouncing] millionaires, but you do get more and more public-school men touting vacuum cleaners and more and more small shopkeepers driven into the workhouse. Large sections of the middle class are being gradually proletarianized; but the important point is that they do not, at any rate in the first generation, adopt the proletarian outlook. Here am I, for instance, with a bourgeois upbringing and a working-class income. Which class do I belong to? Economically, I belong to the working class, but it is almost impossible for me to think of myself as anything but a member of the bourgeoisie. And supposing I had to take sides, whom should I side with: the upper class which is trying to squeeze me out of existence, or the working class whose manners are not my manners? It is probable that I personally would side with the working class. But what about the tens or hundreds of thousands of others who are in approximately the same position? And what about that far larger class, running into millions this time – the office-workers and the black-coated employees of all kinds – whose traditions are less definitely middle class but who certainly would not thank you if you called them proletarians? All of these people have the same interests and the same enemies as the working class. All are being robbed and bullied by the same system. Yet how many of them realize it? When the pinch came nearly all of them would side with their oppressors and against those who ought to be their allies. It is quite easy to imagine a middle class crushed down to the worst depths of poverty and still remaining bitterly anti-working class in sentiment; this being, of course, a ready made Fascist Party.”

      04/13/13 9:27 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Paul Fussell straightened the class thing out very clearly in CLASS. Orwell’s take on class may apply to Britain but not to America. I’m in the X class of course and will always be in the X class even if became very wealthy. My son is an X classer and of course married an X class. My daughter is a completely different story. Any acquired wealth would be completely undetected since most of it would be given to notable medical research.= I’d still be living the X class life.

      04/13/13 11:28 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote:”PS to follow my above comment, about how “race” (let alone gender or sexual habits) is NOT the REAL basis for enslavement of Americans today…”unquote

      NOT the REAL basis for enslavement. Of course not.
      Try advocating not paying your income tax. SHTF notwithstanding, come April 15th, think about it.

      youbetcha. Those dudes who met on Ellis Island 1913 decided to form a BIG CLUB, and we ain’t in it. And if you ain’t in it, your ass belongs to them. And so do your progeny for the next 1000 years. Just ask the IRS, the Federal Reserve notwithstanding. youbetcha..REAL basis..called the 16th Amendment..otherwise known as ENSLAVEMENT-R-US. And if somehow ya’ll get wise to the scam and a litte too uppity by advocating for denial…well..they got a few statutes for that too..and Judges who own stock in those Corporate prisons where they’ll fill the empty beds with as soon as you open your mouth…if they don’t blow your brains out first via the IRS “enforcement” dudes. After all, THEY’RE the REAL basis. Just ask the Browns. They learned the hard way. yesireebob..REAL BASIS=SMITH & WESSON on steroids.

      04/14/13 2:22 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps..there’s only TWO classes. Either your in the BIG CLUB or your not.

      04/14/13 2:26 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      what I’d give for an edit button.
      George had it down.

      04/14/13 2:30 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      One other thing. The unknown inventor of BITCOIN figured it out. Central bankers are having a meltdown now. So is the DOJ. Afterall, whoever wrote the axiom.. “he who controls the money”..
      did too.


      04/14/13 2:37 PM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...


      “But, I’m beginning to think politicians are distracting us.”

      Without calling you a complete idiot for JUST now reasoning a politician’s job # one is to bullshit the public and continually direct focus to fluff issues, will take some time to word it correctly so I don’t cause you irreparable harm.

      While I could blow my brains out and to solve my issues, such a loss to society would be nothing. However, I’ve decided not to. This way my living is payback to the illegal system located in W.DC.

      Making comments is not therapy for me, nor do I enjoy spending my time posting things few bother to contemplate. I’m nearing close to 2,000 numbered comments in the past 9-10 months. Some do make sense, 99.95% are without vulgar words, and so on.

      The highlight and greatest topic being completely ignored has to do with our missing / withheld representation in the House. Fantastic is 99.9995% lack of query and discussion on this issue.

      To think not having a say so in our federal government is of no interest to the People, confirms both the high degree of citizen insanity, and their self-delusion.

      04/15/13 5:59 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Pitch, I see you’ve been quoting from my favourite George Carlin performance. He was mostly wrong about religion, but mostly right about politics.

      04/15/13 11:19 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Mr Poole wrote: “Orwell’s take on class may apply to Britain but not to America.”

      It’s true that England’s (Scotland is different) class system differs considerably from America’s, and having been a culturally upper-middle-class American who lived in England for some years, I’m inclined to prefer the latter for its greater class mobility than America’s.

      Yes it’s true that in SOME ways, in England one remains identified with the class one was born in. However, that’s never a bar to most kinds of social acceptance, as long as you’ve got talent and use it well. Despite my being non-upper-class even in American terms, I’ve been more accepted AND HELPED by England’s TRUE upper class (literally the aristocracy and those of their set) than by any American nouveau riche OR American old money (what’s left of them, which isn’t much.)

      In other words, in England social mobility goes: First they place your social class, but then they evaluate you on what you have done and can do well, regardless of money. In America it goes: First they place your social class, then they keep you there while PRETENDING to be egalitarian.

      04/15/13 1:01 PM | Comment Link

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