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    why not

    Email Fisticuffs

    by | 5 | Sep 19, 2016
    • Author's Note: This is an edited and expanded version of one of my posts in an email exchange with a... well, someone with whom I disagreed, who had been enthusiastically equating Islam with terrorism (the exchange for me was an attempt to build a bridge rather than yell across the chasm... predictably destined for the futility file for all I got back were loud insults):

    Offshore - editorial comic by Tom FergusonThis is where we agree, I think: we both oppose people who harm others, who want to dominate, deny liberty, lie to make themselves look good and others bad, deny people their rights under the constitution and the bill of rights and also our rights under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed I think by all member nations (this latter item provoked immediate condemnation).

    This is where we disagree, I think: the things that we agree on up there should be the focus, we should hold ALL citizens to those principles. It isn’t ALL Muslims who violate them and it isn’t ALL U.S. citizens who follow them. We need to go after those who violate those principles whether they are in Saudi Arabia or the U.S.

    And by we, I don’t mean the U.S. I mean anyone on the planet who cares about those principles.

    And by “going after” I don’t mean with violence. I mean with law and persuasion, and patience for we ourselves are not so enlightened that we might not be violating the rights of others without being aware… and if we are patient and prepared to listen as well as speak we might be persuaded and change our behavior when we realize we are mistaken – if we expect it of others then we must expect it of ourselves.

    I started out to itemize where we disagree, now I’m finally getting to it. The source of the malaise and economic insecurity felt across our culture is not illegal immigrants, nor “lazy minorities”, nor lack of prayer in the schools or the ten commandments displayed at city hall, nor a liberal press and government. It’s not even Isis.

    It is in the long struggle between democracy and tyranny, typified in this country by that portion of the wealthy class who pour resources into undermining democracy and favoring oligarchy. It can even be argued that Isis would not exist were it not for the policies that have grown out of the success of these oligarchs.

    Were it not for so-called free trade agreements, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), GATT (Global Agreement on Tarrif and Trade) etc; immigration from the south would not be so unmanageable. NAFTA favored U.S. subsidies to agriculture, driving small farmers in Mexico and Central America out of business. They then flocked to the cities to try to find jobs in the sweat shops, created by the same agreements, or took the more appealing option of getting to the U.S. (the belly of the beast) where sweatshop wages have not yet prevailed.

    The oligarchic response is to instruct their media pundits (actually to hire select personell based on their capacity to anticipate the correct line) to demonize these victims, blaming them for taking “our jobs.”

    When in fact what has taken our jobs is the wholesale migration of once profitable industries abroad, seeking the greater profits of cheap labor and loose environmental regulations. This is a runaway situation where once started it becomes not only more profitable to relocate, but uncompetitive to stay. William Greider points out in his book, One World, Ready or Not, a strong country like the U.S. could take the lead and demand environmental and worker protection. Instead, it goes with the flow, downward and off-shore.

    This brings us to another point of disagreement. One doesn’t have to approve to understand the capitalist’s reasons, profit after all is what they are by definition about. But why would a government betray its own people in this manner?

    Government is by for and of the people, right? Well, wrong. It’s by, for, and of corporate and wealthy “citizens.” Given the way politicians are required to raise money for electoral campaigns, given who donates and supports or opposes their campaigns, and of course, who the elected then owe. Whose telephone calls do you suppose they return? The politically active portion of the 1%, by and large, according to Jane Mayer’s book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, are ideologically committed to ends that are far from democratic and basically reduce to the advancement, as they see it, of their interests, which basically reduces to money. The whole world as Third World to the oligarch for some reason beyond my psychology, seems to be the best of all worlds.

    A completely ridiculous and modest proposal: why not put our great brains to work figuring out how we can divert the energy presently going into chasing money into creating a system that provides food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare for all the inhabitants of the planet, in a way that doesn’t despoil the life system on which we all depend?

    Outlandish as this proposal may seem, if we don’t make it our main priority, along with a commitment to non-violent resolution of conflict, then we will have war and with the kind of weapons available and developing, the planet and its people will perish in nuclear holocaust, if not directly then in the aftermath when the life-system breaks down, from radiation, nuclear winter and also from the pollutants that our life choices are more slowly but definitely disbursing – are we on the same page or are we still in different books?

    ###
    Tom Ferguson

    Tom Ferguson

    Tom is a painter, a cartoonist, a musician, a thinker and more. View some of his web sites:

    • www.thinkspeak.net (Painting)
    • toons.thinkspeak.net (Political Cartoons)
    • thinkspeak.bandcamp.com (Music)
    • tfthinkspeak.blogspot.com (blog)

     

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    • Good4U

      Your blog appears to be just another rant against capitalism. It ignores a huge chunk of history. It contorts a very basic premise in terms of how humans interact with each other. If you don’t appreciate the way capitalism works then the burden is upon you to explain why the opposing system, i.e. communism, has brought nothing to this world except misery and destruction. You need to study up on the legacy of Marx and Lenin, then Trotsky, followed by Stalin and his barbarism which still prevails in Russia today. Explain to your readers how the Chinese were so much better off after 80 million of them were purged by Tse-Dung Mao. You need to read more and expostulate less. As a starter, I recommend McCullough’s biography of Harry Truman. It describes how the American political system worked to preserve human existence by withholding the employment of nuclear annihilation tactics in the face of communist aggression in Korea. You need to consider that while American companies have exported their manufacturing bases to China, the world could actually be better off for having done that. This process of offshoring American jobs has rendered China and the U.S. quite interdependent upon each other economically, which is a much better place to be than facing off militarily. How exactly can you represent your position as being anywhere near responsible in terms of protecting environmental integrity when the prior situation, when manufacturing was done in the U.S., was so environmentally destructive? Frankly, I can see very little negative net impact from offshoring the manufacturing base to China (or anywhere else) because the manufacturing facilities elsewhere are more modern and efficient than those that were shut down domestically. And, in the end, China is no longer the monolithic, dictatorial regime that it was before they emerged to serve the world its commercial goods & materials. Its communistic vestiges are rapidly disappearing, and its humanity is improving: they don’t intentionally kill their girl babies as frequently as they once did when Mao was in charge. If you want me to pay any attention to any more of your posts in the future, get real.

      • tom ferguson

        most of what you say here falls apart with your false assumption that the only alternative to capitalism is communism -- why is a dog-eat-dog, environmentally destructive, unsustainable economic system preferable to you over this idea: why not put our great brains to work figuring out how we can divert the energy presently going into chasing money into creating a system that provides food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare for all the inhabitants of the planet, in a way that doesn’t despoil the life system on which we all depend? would you still support out-sourcing if it were your livelihood shipping out? capitalism as practiced = greed… why should we accept that as the best or only way to organize ourselves? regulation of business isn’t negative, it’s one of the ways democracy is used to increase well-being… i understand why Koch bros. object since they are addicted to wealth and regulation, tho it doesn’t threaten their survival nor even their ability to have a very comfortable life, it does put survival of the life system above their self-aggrandizement.

        • Good4U

          You should be an advisor to the despots of the world. Start with Puffy Un, then move on to Vlad Putin. If you survive them, have at it with the Maduro fellow in Venezuela. Let us know how well your advice is taken by the bully boys who love ruling with an iron fist while their people starve. Your bias against the Koch brothers pales in comparison with what these communist totalitarian despots have done to the world.

          • tom ferguson

            i see you’ve absorbed the lessons of books like you recommend… try though oliver stone’s Untold History of the U.S. for a “real” look at the way the world looks. i use “real” to tease you with your own statement to me but seriously, take a look at that book… he also did a parallel film… my review, that I of course highly recommend is here… in 2 parts http://tfthinkspeak.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-untold-history-of-us-review-of.html

            • Good4U

              You lost me at Oliver Stone. I don’t take any advice from a Hollywood style movie mogul whose sole objective is to sell you tickets to the theater (at extremely inflated prices nonetheless) just to titillate your fears in a dark hole. I prefer being outdoors, in the light of day, where fraud is more clearly evident. Stone(d) is aptly named. Go back to school, and get a job!

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