Monday, July 13, 2009

Open Thread



What do you want to say?

RENEGADE EYE

41 comments:

nanc said...

still trying to figure out what's "on topic" on an open thread...

anyhoo - ren, have you seen this? from the article:

"Michael Ledeen has reported that the release of the Irbil Five is part of the price Iran has demanded for its release in May of the freelance journalist Roxana Saberi. Again, that’s only part of the price: Iran also has demanded the release of hundreds of its other terror facilitators in our custody. Expect to see Obama accommodate this demand, too, in the weeks ahead."

i'll be semi-curious to get your response to this.

FJ said...

???

Clint said...

Congress upset that it didn't get to OK all of Cheney's nifty secret programs. Prosecutions to follow?
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/13-0

The Sentinel said...

I saw this little analogy / 'parable' the other day that I found quite interesting, and I wondered what a socialist's take on it would be?


“An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class.

This particular class had insisted that socialism really worked: no one would be poor and no one would be rich, everything would be equal and ‘fair’. The professor then said “Okay, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. Instead of money, we’ll use your grades.”

All grades were to be averaged and thus would be “fair”. This meant that everyone would receive the same grade, which meant that no one would fail. It also meant, of course, that no one would receive an A…
- - - - - - - - -

After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who had studied hard were upset, but the students who had goofed off were quite happy with the outcome.

As the second test rolled around, the slackers studied even less now - they knew they’d get a good grade anyhow. Those who’d studied hard in the beginning now decided they wanted a free ride too. Thus, going against their own inclinations, they copied the slackers’ habits. As a result, the second test average was a D.

No one was happy.

By the time the third test had been graded, the average was an F.

The scores never increased but bickering, blame, and name calling began to be the environment in which this class operated. It had been their own quest for “fairness” which had led to this unintended result of hard feelings and grievances. In the end, no one was willing to study just for the benefit of everyone else. Therefore, all the students failed…to their great surprise.

The professor explained that their experiment with socialism failed because it was based on the least effort by all. Laziness and resentment were the outcome. There would always be failure in the situation they’d agreed to in the beginning.

“When the reward is great”, he said, “the effort to succeed is great, at least for some. But when government takes all the reward away by taking from some without their consent and giving to others without their effort, then failure is inevitable”.

The Pagan Temple said...

That's a racist picture.

nanc said...

and ugly, too!

Renegade Eye said...

Nanc: Iran is friendly to Maliki in Iraq. They love him, and are glad the US is in Iraq.

Iran's main goal for Iraq, is stability. They don't want refugees from Iraq.

Some on the left, and right think Iran is an enemy of US imperialism. They are scared of the US withdrawing from Iraq. They gave intelligence through Chalabi, help in overthrowing Saddam.

It's over the top, to say Obama wants mullahs in power. His politics are not secret, only some don't listen.

Obama is not happy with the movement in Iran against the government. He doesn't care who is in power, but wants stability. The election fraud, makes it harder to negotiate with Iran.

Abstract art is a rib.

Sentinel: I'm glad you brought up that question.

The idea of equal wages for all is not Marxist. There is a short book Marx wrote called Critique of the Gotha Programme. In that book he demoished socialists that believe such a thing.

Marx made it clear, that skilled labor should be paid more, because society invests more in a skilled persons education. He called skilled labor compound labor, while unskilled was called simple labor.

Clint: Thank you for visiting. I think you should get your old blog active again.

I think Cheney was involved with the CIA spying on civilians. That issue is important to me. According to the Church Committee, I was spied on during the Vietnam War by the CIA.

FJ: Kech's work is better than the random abstract art piece I picked. If a painting has no message or emotion, its not art.

Pagan: It's an enigma.

FJ said...

I thought perhaps that Kech painted the work, along with all the other works in this folder... perhaps I didn't follow the directories properly, or they're an associates work.

Larry Gambone said...

Re your little parable, Sentinel, one would have to ask how humanity survived for a hundred thousand years without any great economic differences? Class division, and thus great inequality in wealth - is recent historically, dating from abt 6000 years ago

And of course, Ren is right. It is a straw man. Socialists do not believe that we can go to absolute equality of incomes.

Clint said...

Renegade Eye,

"I think you should get your old blog active again."

Ah, you made me realize my Blogger profile is horribly outdated. Check out -- www.whyweworry.com -- been writing there.

"I think Cheney was involved with the CIA spying on civilians. That issue is important to me. According to the Church Committee, I was spied on during the Vietnam War by the CIA."

Oh absolutely. I've heard someone comment that the CIA essentially exists to provide plausible deniability for the executive. I think that's roughly true.

"According to the Church Committee, I was spied on during the Vietnam War by the CIA."

Hope they didn't find anything too bad.

nanc said...

so, ren - essentially, you're agreeing that it is right for this administration to release known terrorist masterminds in exchange for the release of saberi? and more to come later? where do you draw the line on a "life for a life"?

The Sentinel said...

Ren,

I am glad that you dont support that lunacy, I thought you had far much too sanity about you too, but unfortunately most of the socialists I know and have spoken do not appear to have read the Critique of the Gotha Programme.

In fact I recently had a drink with an old colleague who is certainly no fool and who has always claimed to be a life long socialist (but does seems to enjoy the high life more then most) and he was talking about how taxation is not high enough (but luckily only for the threshold just above his) and when I listed a few things off the top of my head that tax money was being poured away on he claimed that it didn't matter really what it was being spent on so long as the wealthy / bosses didn't have it, but ideally it should be given to people who have less money.

When I pointed out that these people would be benefiting from someone else's effort and that would discourage not only the person who has been gratuitously taxed (or robbed) but also others that realise they didn't have to put in any effort in to get money he shrugged and said that's socialism!


Larry,

My 'little' parable is not really about economics or class per se; for instance, you will note that money was substituted for grades in this analogy as there is always a point of communal exchange between socialised beings and always has been; primarily it was food in the past.

It is really about the fact that people may have equal rights but that is where equality ends; people do not have equal abilities, and whilst everyone excels at something, the varying abilities bring varying rewards.

To try and artificially dictate otherwise is counter to nature and counter to advancement.

Renegade Eye said...

FJ: I started another post, where that abstract picture might have fit in. I changed my mind on that post, but kept the picture.

Larry G: I believe Sentinel believed before he was told by us, that it was how socialists saw the world.

Nanc: It is all small potatoes, in light of the Iranian regime, executed hundreds of protesters, these last few weeks. A celeb prisoner is a mute issue.

I don't know how true that article is. I disagree with its direction. Why would the regime free Roxanne, without something in return? Isn't that how things are done in politics?

Clint: I had a big FBI file in high school. I read it with the FOIA. It was colorful. Much was untrue. It sure made me seem militant.

Sentinel: I'm for a real progressive tax. I dislike the tax the rich slogan. It diverts from nationalization of the commanders of the economy under worker's control.

FJ said...

There's nothing wrong with the picture, I was simply trying to figure out who might have painted it.

Clint said...

"Clint: I had a big FBI file in high school. I read it with the FOIA. It was colorful. Much was untrue. It sure made me seem militant."

I hope you framed it.

Renegade Eye said...

FJ: I'm rethinking abstract art. I've seen at galleries, paintings of just a solid color.

Clint: Today it's harder to use the FOIA.

Larry Gambone said...

Here is my topic:
When I was younger I used to believe that the people who governed the US created a propaganda of paranoid fear about “communism” and the “Soviet Menace” to fool the rubes. I thought that among themselves they would speak the truth, that “communism” was not the problem for imperialism, but trade unions, reformists and economic nationalists were. But later, when reading declassified FBI and CIA documents plus the bios of some of the people involved, it is evident that these paranoid ravings were not for show, that this is what they actually believed.(And with a change of bogeymen, this is still the situation.) Now it is an error to believe your own propaganda, so it is no wonder the US state is so often taken unawares by events. It is also worrisome having lunatics running the world.

FJ said...

Either that or perhaps the level headed "governors" simply weren't the imperialists that the insanely delusional and paranoid communists believed them to be...

The Sentinel said...

"a propaganda of paranoid fear about “communism” and the “Soviet Menace” to fool the rubes"

I would think that it is obvious that any state that is prepared to murder 61000000 of its own citizens, is entirely totalitarian, militaristic and imperialistic in nature and with the agenda of taking over the world to recreate it in its own image, IS clearly a real menace and not really the stuff of paranoia.

Larry Gambone said...

The idea that Russia wanted to "take over the world" is paranoia. Any examination of Stalin's policies, and those subsequent, show the state was interested in dominating its sphere of influence and protecting itself from attack by attempting to surround itself with neutral governments. Stalinism was a conservative force in terms of "spreading revolution."

Canadian and European politicians, while "anti-communist" never shared the US paranoia, indeed regarding it with ridicule.

Then there was the US propensity for highly inflating Russia's military might as well as the state of the economy. But this could well be a means of helping the US military industrial complex.

The Sentinel said...

"The idea that Russia wanted to "take over the world" is paranoia"


Really? What about Comintern then? Or its immediate successor the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Cominform or the role of the World Marxist Review?

Why did the USSR occupy the whole of the Baltic states, the whole of eastern Europe (including an invasion of Poland at exactly the same time as the Nazis that prompted Britain and france to declare war on Germany but not the USSR) and pretty much all of central Asia as well as being the de facto power in North Vietnam after 1975 and interfere, agitate and attempt to annexe just about every country it could?

And the USSR was hardly just Stalin; and whilst Stalin was attributed with 43000000 of these murders that still leaves the unimaginable mass murder of 26000000 its own citizens to other Soviet leaders.

I think it is obvious that a state that is willing to mass murder its own people, has a huge military and secret service, bristles with nuclear weapons and has the agenda of world domination and the imposition of uniform political tyranny needs to be treated as menace and with extreme caution.

You are wrong about Europe's position on the Soviet menace, it was taken extremely seriously (the USSR once said that the UK was an aircraft carrier for the US and an aircraft carrier that they could sink anytime they wished) and especially in Germany; I was based there for years and even after the collapse of the USSR the Germans were still grateful for NATO presence in their country (though not so much now!)

The major miltary function of all western allies aarmed forces - largely NATO - was to slow the anticipated invasion of the Red Army for long enough so that the politicians might seek a way out without recourse to MAD.

Larry Gambone said...

Sentinel - the Baltic and E bloc states were part of the USSR"s sphere of influence, just like W. Europe was part of the USA's sphere of influence. Almost everybody knew and accepted that at the time. The Comintern under Stalin was the worst enemy of revolution - just ask Ren.
Certainly Europeans were worried about the USSR. Having such a military force next to them was of course, of concern, but among the educated, this concern was tempered by the knowledge that such an invasion was unlikely, NATO or no NATO. Think of this - the Stalinists had enough trouble holding on to the E. Bloc nations. Imagine them trying to hold Germany, France and Italy. These countries would have been the Stalinists death bed and they knew it.
One clarification. I do not consider "anti-communism" per se, irrational. It is only the extreme version that equates every reform movement, economic nationalism and all the non-stalinist left as being somehow part of some grand conspiracy manipulated from Moscow.

Larry Gambone said...

The American's paranoia created a self-fulfilling prophesy. Nationalist or reform movements would arise in some country, be branded "Communist", undergo attack both economic and military by the US. These countries, having no other choice, would then turn to the USSR for help. A more sophisticated approach would have accepted the need for reform and a friendly social democracy would have resulted - like the US did with Costa Rica. (But even then, they almost blew that as the CIA twice tried to overthrow Pepe Figueres, the social democratic President.)

FJ said...

The idea that Russia wanted to "take over the world" is paranoia. That was their original intention/ purpose. "Socialsim in One Country" only became the fallback position after the smartest amongst them (Stalin, et al) realized that their utopian dreams of a world revolution were just that... utopian dreams. The head-in-the-clouds Trotsky-wing STILL believes in one worlder communism... right Ren? And they're still so paranoid, they refuse to acknowledge the possibility of "socialism in one country" and so repress the very idea from mind by calling it "state capitalism" (or fascist national socialism NAZI and even attempt to attribute it's origins to right wingers)...

"Will it be possible for this revolution to take place in one country alone?

No. By creating the world market, big industry has already brought all the peoples of the Earth, and especially the civilized peoples, into such close relation with one another that none is independent of what happens to the others. Further, it has co-ordinated the social development of the civilized countries to such an extent that, in all of them, bourgeoisie and proletariat have become the decisive classes, and the struggle between them the great struggle of the day. It follows that the communist revolution will not merely be a national phenomenon but must take place simultaneously in all civilized countries—that is to say, at least in England, America, France, and Germany. It will develop in each of the these countries more or less rapidly, according as one country or the other has a more developed industry, greater wealth, a more significant mass of productive forces. Hence, it will go slowest and will meet most obstacles in Germany, most rapidly and with the fewest difficulties in England. It will have a powerful impact on the other countries of the world, and will radically alter the course of development which they have followed up to now, while greatly stepping up its pace. It is a universal revolution and will, accordingly, have a universal range."
– Friedrich Engels, The Principles of Communism, 1847

The Sentinel said...

"The Comintern under Stalin was the worst enemy of revolution"

Not really, just opposed to one offshoot of it.


"but among the educated, this concern was tempered by the knowledge that such an invasion was unlikely"

I'm really not sure where you get this information from; in fact my dad was a soldier based in Germany when the Cuba missile crisis kicked and was rolled down to the border to face waves and waves of Soviet tanks - enough to roll straight through to France - that were already present on the eastern border; NATO planners gave him a 9 minute life span, down around 15 minutes overall from his usual position further back and estimated that with the combined forces of NATO they could only slow the Russians for two weeks at the absolute maximum without losing the whole of Northern and Western Europe and the recourse to nuclear arms.

That roll down to the border was a famous one but less well known is that it took place at least once a year with the Soviets 'exercises' - fully loaded - testing the reactions and force of NATO; the Soviet military was geared almost exclusively to aggressive operations, not defensive ones

Pretty much the only thing that stopped the Soviet steam roller wasnt NATO - they couldnt give a toss how many troops they lost - but the spectre of MAD.

And ultimately, as the biggest mass murderers in history - 61000000 of their OWN people - tells us of the utter contempt they held for human life, rights and conventions.

They were extremely dangerous.

And FJ has explained the real agenda perfectly

Larry Gambone said...

The Cuban Missile Crisis was the point where the Cold War almost became a hot one, but I will repeat there is no evidence that the Stalinists sought to conquer Europe militarily as anything more than a plan iof they themselves were attacked. Stalin had the opportunity to take over in Greece, Italy and France after WW2, but did not - as he recognized these as US spheres of influence.

As well as this the Stalinists blew the possibility of revolution in Germany and Spain. In the former case by their sectarian refusal to unite with the Social Democrats against the Nazis and the latter in their counter-revolutionary attacks upon the POUM and the anarchists.

Stalin just wasn't opposed to his opponents making revolutions - he was also opposed to ther various Stalinist Parties making revolutions. The Chinese revolution was made against his advice, as but one example.

To say that the Stalinists were not revolutionary, nor not the threat the Americans made out, does not in any sense negate the horror that they were, I should add. Nor do I mean to imply that the US alone was responsible for the post WW2 situation. The Soviets certainly played their role as ogre figures.

Renegade Eye said...

On July 19th, this blog will host the next Carnival of Socialism. A socialist blogger, picks the best socialist writing around blogdom.

Sentinel: Stalin abolished the Comintern, as part of his strategy of united front against fascism. Even when the Comintern was functioning, its influence was overrated. The relationship between parties was at times dialectical. World Marxist Review was an obscure Stalinist journal, only found at Communist Party bookstores.

FJ: Engels was correct. That's a good quote.

Socialism in one country turned out to be utopian. It led to the downfall of Stalinism in Eastern Europe. It contributed to losses in Egypt, Indonesia, Spain, and what Larry listed as well. In Iran it led to mullahs taking power.

Because revolution was stopped in Germany, it was inevitable that a poor country like Russia, would have a deformed economy. I never believed Russia was state capitalist. That was from the group that left Trotskyism, and became the neoconservatives. Russia even in a deformed way, had a nationalized, planned economy that made great gains, as well as sending up Sputnik. Stalin's government had a nationalized economy, without political democracy. The term is workerist-Bonapartism.

Larry G: It has dawned on me, Obama is the worst hack in political history. Worse than Clinton or Bush. When you listen closely to Obama, really listening for the substance, you find the biggest hack maybe in political history. His base are the marks. His speech in Africa sounded on the surface like Franz Fanon wrote it. Listen closer it's imperialist with all that it encompasses. He studies what the base likes, and picks out phrases.

I think politicians in the past, were more honest. One joke on conservatives, is the abortion issue. Not even Reagan would address an anti abortion rally in person. The cynicism today is different than the past.

nanc said...

effjay - you know that is one butt-ugly painting! *;]

FJ said...

You mean you can tell that the artist was self-taught? That's all the rage... it's what makes her authentic.

Authenticism uber alles, I always say! Not.

Ducky's here said...

Hey Sentinel, have you ever seen the Bob the Angry Flower cartoon critique of your main squeeze, Ayn?

Look it up, you may enjoy it.

It's too bad none of the students continued to learn in the class ... must have been one dumb boring prof, no? That's what happens when you let these guys out of their specially enclosed Libertarian sandbox.

nanc said...

i'm going to go sit in a pan of paint and then carefully place my naked hiney on a canvas to see if i can come up with a butt ugly painting! thankx for the inspiration effjay!

Larry Gambone said...

"That was from the group that left Trotskyism, and became the neoconservatives."

Isn't that a tad below the belt, Ren? After all the Swappies and the followers of Dunayevska and CLR James also believe same. I think you are referring to the Schacmanites, low hanging fruit of the ex-Trotskyist tree.

Mehmet Çagatay said...

"It has dawned on me, Obama is the worst hack in political history. Worse than Clinton or Bush."

It seems that Obama has undertaken the job of conducting the dirty works of American corporate elite with providing the most resilient appearance to withstand against criticism. In Africa, he blamed corrupt governments for economic catastrophes, in America recently he put the responsibility of racial discrimination to African Americans for not aspiring after a career other than entertainment and sports. I recalled an old Nasreddin Hodja joke: when he informs the fellow villagers that his donkey was stolen, everyone starts to blame Hodja for not securing the stable with a proper lock, for how he failed to hear a thing, etc. etc. Then Hodja loses his temper: Does not the burglar have a responsibility here?

Renegade Eye said...

Larry G: I don't put the Marxist-Humanist trend with rightist Schachtmanites. I have disagreements with their workstyle.

Nanc: I'm rethinking what I think of abstract art. If it fails to communicate, then it's not art.

Ducky: I never linked abstract art to "libertarianism." I'm wrestling with is something that has a color scheme I like, that looks good on the wall, is art, if it has no meaning? Art is supposed to communicate.

FJ: Authentic for sure.

Renegade Eye said...

Mehmet Çagatay: I'm with Louis on that subject. I probably am more over the top about it.

Nevin said...

Mehmet, :) I am not sure anyone will get it?

Renegade Eye said...

Nevin: It's a complicated subject. The burglar is responsible. The problem is that Obama picks and chooses which burglars to blame. Mugabe is easy to attack for corruption. Why is he quiet about Nigerian corruption.

Tonight at midnight is the carnival of socialism.

Regards

The Sentinel said...

Ren,

"Stalin abolished the Comintern"

He did, but as explained he immediately replaced it with his own organisation called International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; and then there was Cominform also, all doing the same job as Comintern.

And that was just the public face.


"World Marxist Review was an obscure Stalinist journal, only found at Communist Party bookstores."

It also played a role in played an important role in coordinating the communist movements of the world.


I don't think it can really be honestly contested that the USSR was bent on extending its influence to every corner of the globe and would d have had no qualms whatsoever taking on global domination if it could have.


Duckys here,

"Hey Sentinel, have you ever seen the Bob the Angry Flower cartoon critique of your main squeeze, Ayn?

Look it up, you may enjoy it."

Say again? 'ayn'?

FJ said...

Ayn Rand is one of mr. ducky's favorite windmills....

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