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Ch. 6: The Politics of Evasion: Debt, Finance and Oil 
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Post Ch. 6: The Politics of Evasion: Debt, Finance and Oil
Ch. 6: The Politics of Evasion: Debt, Finance and Oil

Please use this thread for discussing Ch. 6: The Politics of Evasion: Debt, Finance and Oil.



Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:33 am
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DWill:
Quote:
Want to Engineer Real Change? ............
"We will restore science to its rightful place," President Obama declared in his inaugural address.


Real change? In this chapter Phillips makes us feel that real change in government is not possible regardless of who is put in office. Obama has represented to the American people and to the world a significant shift in political direction, but in reality it may just be new window dressing, that in order for real change to happen the whole structure has to come down and be rebuilt...with new material.



Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:08 pm
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Phillips does stress nepotism and dynastic politics at the end of this chapter but I don't think it's anything new. Everyone knows nepotism is wrong and in some cases it's illegal. It definitely hurts our government.

He spends a little time saying how it's different today than it was yesterday - how it's evolved into something more dangerous than it used to be. Fuck that. Nepotism and cronyism have been around forever with the same negative effects.

Like a supermarket product - names/labels count to voters and consumers.

What are you going to do but demand more laws favoring the voices of the masses - not special interest groups, government entities, or a single person.

Do you think the ex-governor of Illinois should have been able to fill the senate seat vacated by the President? Maybe you might have before the scandal but today your answer may be different. Giving Governors the power to choose whoever they want to fill senate seats is a bad thing for (now) obvious reasons. It created a tasty opportunity to sell the seat, give it away to a close friend, or maybe someone who would be sure of returning the favor. It's unwise.

Today, we should be using the technology at our disposal to make voting easier for everyone. We should be using some wireless method to enable voters to be heard on almost every issue that passes the floor of the Senate and definitely the floor of the House. Why we haven't is because people are just now starting to get concerned over the welfare of our state.

This is probably George Bush's greatest legacy. He has actually got people paying attention to government. It took an idiot running the most powerful country in the world for the citizens of that nation to realize the consequences of a shitty leader.

I honestly don't know what would worry me more - the consolidation of both parties or the fact that they're so so so so much at odds with one another. It's like we're getting torn apart. That the nation is at such odds with itself is a clear signal to me that we all need to get on the same page.

If Bush's policies didn't work - um - we should try something different???

The voters need not concentrate on the hard stuff, in my opinion. All we need to concentrate on is policing our government. We need to make sure they don't attach earmarks to legislation, that they aren't shifting wealth away from the middle class, and that they keep their word. We need to demand accountability.

A good place to start is the Bush administration.

You know things are bad when married congressmen are soliciting homosexual relations in public bathrooms and fight for their political survival after they're caught.

Time was, the shame would be enough to drive them into exile. Today, they wear that shit with a badge of honor. Holding leaders accountable is a good first step to making things right again.



Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:08 pm
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President Camacho wrote:
Phillips does stress nepotism and dynastic politics at the end of this chapter but I don't think it's anything new. Everyone knows nepotism is wrong and in some cases it's illegal. It definitely hurts our government.

Phillips might have been partly hoping that H. Clinton would win the White House. It would make his claim stronger. As it is, well, I suppose there could be something to what he says about dynasty. I'm more impressed with a few other points he makes in the chapter. These points speak to what you are saying about the huge difficulty of real structural change.

1. Entrenched interests become more and more like cholesterol clogging the veins of the republic as time goes on in centers of government. The U.S. may be a young country, but its central government in Washington is exceptionally old. Over the decades, a permanent class of lobbyists and others seeking to influence what government does has settled in.
2. The image of Republican fat cats might not be appropraite anymore. Phillips documents the close ties between the Democratic party and the new masters of finance. He says Barrack Obama's campaign, especially, benefited from the fiancial companies' largesse. Will he be able to, or even be motivated to, reform practices in the industry?
3. Energy policy comes under the politics of evasion, too. An energy security policy is essential with peak oil either here or just a few years away, but we don't have a policy. Talk of green energy as a solution to our energy needs in any but the longest term, is essentially irresponsible. Simply put, we do need to develop as much of of our carbon-based fuels as we can. I don't like to say that he's right, but I'm afraid he is. Where this leaves combatting global warming is anyone's guess. But with Asia expecting to get a pass while it catches up to the rest of the developed world, the world's carbon load is very unlikely to decrease in time to limit the damage from warming.


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Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.

Clifford Geertz


Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:25 pm
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True.

We need good leaders that are more interested in the welfare of the nation than their own back pockets and political survival.

If we could stop importing oil, turn coal into liquid, and use it to produce solar panels, wind generators, and the like - we'd be set almost forever. The problem with this is our very weak leadership.

If this were to happen - if coal was to replace oil in the short run to produce alternative energy generators - the coal companies would immediately take over and gas would be replaced by coal and that would be that. Alternative energy would be scrapped because of how much coal America holds and how cheap it would be just to mine it instead of invest in new technology.

Then, to make matters even worse, we'd even start exporting it - yup, we'd take a huge step backwards by exporting raw materials. We'd do it for sure.



Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:22 pm
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Funny how supposedly free-market individualists would turn to a leader when the future requires an expensive investment and foresight. "Damn them for not doing what I say they shouldn't and determining our actions by regulating the fossil energy sector and investing tax dollars into green energy." - The Americans

You have to notice the particular timing of this ironically selfish paradox here.

:book:



Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:57 pm
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Camacho: "If this were to happen - if coal was to replace oil in the short run to produce alternative energy generators - the coal companies would immediately take over and gas would be replaced by coal and that would be that."

I don't think "that would be that". There's too much buy in to global warming, and Obama has addressed it strongly. If cost effectiveness were the only consideration, coal would be a no brainer. Our carbon footprint is now a large enough concern in the public's eyes that our leadership must take it seriously. What type of weakness would a leader be said to possess if he allowed coal companies to dominate energy production? It's not a weakness any more than a strategy in the political game. Money from Big Coal would go toward the campaigns, which produces votes. On the other hand, the stance a politician takes on global warming would count for as many or more votes. The problem is, who knows how the global warming thing will play out. Massive hurricanes, drought, and dead people are likely needed to keep the public's eye on the problem. I say we strap some rockets to the 'daylight' side of our planet and kick us further from the sun a few hundred thousand miles. That would solve the warming problem!



Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:13 am
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Yeah, rockets could work or we could continue to rely on smoke and mirrors!

:book:



Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:16 pm
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Interbane,

I do not think that a moral political stance by politicians nowadays, like a staunch advocacy of enivronmentalist policies, would win votes. You have to remember that the media can assassinate characters anytime it wants to and the main controllers of the media are those big businesses that have no respect for any type of regulation. So by taking a political stance FOR environmental regulation you might just invite the wrath of the business elite who have MANY ways to dominate you. Indeed, Obama already knew this and went to the ends of the earth to make thise "elite" happy and that is why the media was in staunch support of him simply because he alleviated any fears they had that he might go against their interests. Unfortunately, our executive has limited power nowadays. This power is in the hands of a globalized power elite. Read CW Mills "The Power Elite" to learn more about this power elite. It is truly enlightening.



Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:42 am
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President Chamacho,


You have to be careful of what you hear in the media. The Blagojevich scandal is very fishy. The only reason that he was "deposed" of is because he did not have anymore firends and pissed everyone off on capitol hill. He was not deposed of neccesarily beacuse of the scandal for if he was really useful to his friends on capitol hill they definitely would've let his screw-up slide. Also, if you think about it, he was impeached before any sort of trial began. He was never even charged with anything. Also, if it really went to trial I assure you that he would have been innocent. The media is just a tool that the powerul use to hide the truth and to rid themselves of enemies by way of "character assassination" so beware of the intentions of the media. That is why I like getting my information from booksthat are written by experts and that are deemed credible by other experts that read the book. This is a better way of really knowing what is going on.



Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:46 am
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bobby408 wrote:
Unfortunately, our executive has limited power nowadays. This power is in the hands of a globalized power elite. Read CW Mills "The Power Elite" to learn more about this power elite. It is truly enlightening.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sir ... 59151.html

While it is true that there are highly influential private citizens the executive powers of the president have never been stronger.

:book:



Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:38 pm
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Post Powerfully weak executive
I do agree with you the executive has power that has not had its equal with the executives of past. The executive has more resources at its disposal than at anyother time in history. But these resources, especially for the past 30-40 years or so, have been mobilized to make the rich richer. The executive truly used to be a check on the other powers or an emergency seat of power (like Lincoln and FDR's respective situations). But that is not the case anymore. I don't know how, but I am vigorously beginning to search for this answer in many books, but the "power elite" has a stranglehold on the presidency. Just look at campaign contributions. The percentage coming from corporations is amazing. Also look at the media, which should be understood as closely related the powerful corporations, because these corporations own bigger pieces of market media share than they have ever owned in the past. Just like they did with Bush and Clinton, the media will destroy credibility at will if the executive is not working in the interests of these rich and powerful people. That is what I mean by limited. They can do so much, only if it is in the interests of the rich. Remember that the media is also the strongest its ever been and has so much resources. Correlate this with the fact that most media outlets are owned by big business, you have a tool that can be used politically by the rich and powerful to make sure their interests are manifest by the executive. Also, remember that corporate executives slide in politics sooooo much nowadays. That should also give evidence to the hand-in-hand cooperation of business and politics. Under Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld, Cheaney, and even Bush himself, ALL ran corporations. Anyways, I appreciate your insight and knowledge and I appreciate everyone's ability to speak with reason ad knowledge in these discussion boards.



Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:13 pm
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