Page 113 of 130

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 13:02
by Snardbafulator
Mr. Minnow wrote:As for this being a democracy, it isn't, and it hasn't been for years. We have a veneer of democracy concealing a political system now almost entirely bought and paid for by corporate interests.

We're living in a post-ideological age (what Francis Fukayama famously called the "end of history") where there seem to be no viable alternatives to the neoliberal orthodoxy that all major parties have to support. Because our FPTP systems have been chosen for *cough* "stability," any kind of opposition has been doomed from the outset. Like if the Scots wind up choosing independence, that will only weaken the anti-establishment vote for you guys in England. Or if enough good people like Bubby just -- understandably! -- say the hell with it, the whole system needs to be shaken up, and vote Green, all this does is further incentivize Labour to become even more Tory Lite. The only possible correction is PR and/or AV.

Bob

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 13:44
by Bubby
I think for me one of the most infuriating things about this drift to the right is the willingness of the general public to be propagated to and to not merely accept, but actively support the merciless sanctioning of those unemployed sinners and reject the idea than any good has ever come from immigration. These aren't just old or middle-aged people by the way, you hear the same shit spouted constantly by the young too, as if they are unable to imagine themselves ever being out of work or sick/disabled. That's the real legacy of the tories i reckon, the fact we now blame the poorest for our troubles and become increasingly apathetic and self-serving. This is what happens when you have a government which believes poverty is people's own fault, and a media that backs that message up every. fvcking. day.

I've said it before but the worst thing about all of this is the fact we are held responsible for every bad thing that happens to us while those in power who can actually do something about the state of the country and economy take no responsibility whatsoever. The ideology of 'personal responsibility' is total bullshit but it encourages people to stop thinking about the government's actions and to blame themselves for things that are often beyond their control.

Anyway, enjoy your life of luxury on benefits. I can't hang around here shooting the breeze, I'm busy doing my sixth job which is cleaning rich people's underpants with my tongue.

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 14:59
by eadric
I don't know if it's a consolation, or just weird, but even as a 'classical liberal' I can't disagree with anything Bubby said. This focus on immigration and supposed benefit cheats is just stupid and harmful. There's nobody I can vote for either!

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 16:02
by Bubby
Vote for Snardbafulator!
Image

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 16:30
by Mr. Minnow
Snardbafulator wrote:We're living in a post-ideological age (what Francis Fukayama famously called the "end of history") where there seem to be no viable alternatives to the neoliberal orthodoxy that all major parties have to support. Because our FPTP systems have been chosen for *cough* "stability," any kind of opposition has been doomed from the outset. Like if the Scots wind up choosing independence, that will only weaken the anti-establishment vote for you guys in England. Or if enough good people like Bubby just -- understandably! -- say the hell with it, the whole system needs to be shaken up, and vote Green, all this does is further incentivize Labour to become even more Tory Lite. The only possible correction is PR and/or AV.


There's the problem - are the Tories or Labour really going to dump an electoral system that guarantees them a virtual duopoly on power? Of course not. There may be support for PR in Labour up to a point, but almost certainly not to the extent that a Labour government could actually introduce it. And the right-wing press will scream blue murder about it, as PR would mean every vote counts equally - which in turn would mean those papers would lose their influence, which is currently based on (supposedly) being the voice of floating voters in the marginals, that tiny sliver of the electorate that effectively decides the result of the entire election. No marginals = no need for the parties to tailor their policies to what those papers say those voters want. And we can't have that!

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 16:54
by Mr. Minnow
Bubby wrote:I think for me one of the most infuriating things about this drift to the right is the willingness of the general public to be propagated to and to not merely accept, but actively support the merciless sanctioning of those unemployed sinners and reject the idea than any good has ever come from immigration.


Indeed - the lack of compassion and empathy is now portrayed not merely as justifiable and respectable, but even necessary and morally virtuous.

These aren't just old or middle-aged people by the way, you hear the same shit spouted constantly by the young too, as if they are unable to imagine themselves ever being out of work or sick/disabled.


And it's a virtual certainty that at least some of those currently in angry mob with pitchforks mode will find themselves sick or unemployed at some point: no matter how much life seems to be ticking over just fine, most people are never more than a single life-changing accident or illness away from being in real trouble. At that point they will find out the hard way just how much the Daily Mail and its ilk has taken them for a ride. Of course, it will be far too late then, it's no good saying, "but...but....I didn't mean decent people like me, I meant people like those lowlifes on Jeremy Kyle!". Only then will it sink in that that's how they're now viewed by the rest of the baying mob.

That's the real legacy of the tories i reckon, the fact we now blame the poorest for our troubles and become increasingly apathetic and self-serving.


We've gone back to the Victorian era. Then it was the deserving vs the undeserving poor, now it's "workers vs shirkers". Oddly enough, there appears to be no corresponding concept of the deserving vs the undeserving rich. By an extraordinary coincidence, we have a PM and chancellor who enjoy a life of privilege into which they were born.

This is what happens when you have a government which believes poverty is people's own fault, and a media that backs that message up every. fvcking. day.


I'm afraid that on this point Goebbels was right: repeat a lie often enough and most people will start to believe it. So much so in fact, that even if they are told the truth, the chances are they will refuse to accept it and carry on believing the lie.

I've said it before but the worst thing about all of this is the fact we are held responsible for every bad thing that happens to us while those in power who can actually do something about the state of the country and economy take no responsibility whatsoever. The ideology of 'personal responsibility' is total bullshit but it encourages people to stop thinking about the government's actions and to blame themselves for things that are often beyond their control.


As Rory Bremner said when impersonating Major when the latter was peddling that "back to basics" cobblers, "rest assured, this sense of personal responsibility will extend from the bottom of society all the way up to not quite the very top."

Anyway, enjoy your life of luxury on benefits. I can't hang around here shooting the breeze, I'm busy doing my sixth job which is cleaning rich people's underpants with my tongue.


On the rare occasions when MPs have tried to show that they could live on benefit levels of income, they've failed dismally. Who'd have thought it?

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 17:18
by Snardbafulator
Hey, you Brits may have invented piss-on-the-poor even before Dickens was writing about debtor's prisons, but we Yanks made it into an art form after WW2. We allowed you to develop your cradle-to-grave welfare states so the postwar trauma wouldn't turn you Communist. And I do mean allowed -- all those strings attached to the Marshall Plan, NATO and the Bretton Woods agreement. And then we sneered at you and called you pinkos for decades afterward.

Now a good generation after the collapse of the Wall, when the domino theory and all the other paranoid appurtenances of the Cold War lie in its wreckage, all of a sudden nobody's allowed to have a decent social safety net, let alone a Scandinavian-style full-blown welfare state. And that includes dismantling our own pathetic half-of-one the Democrats managed to get through in the 60s, in no small part because of the outpouring of sympathy for our martyred president JFK. Apparently with no guns, there is no butter. Jesus f'cking Christ.

Again, not to pat Russell Brand on the back or anything, but the hard left who are now more anarchist than Socialist have this correctly. The enemies of the people are the IMF, GATT, the World Bank and all other institutions which view globalization as perfectly natural and employment as merely the means to accrue capital as opposed to a positive social good.

Bob

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 18:08
by Snardbafulator
Mr. Minnow wrote:
Bubby wrote:These aren't just old or middle-aged people by the way, you hear the same shit spouted constantly by the young too, as if they are unable to imagine themselves ever being out of work or sick/disabled.

And it's a virtual certainty that at least some of those currently in angry mob with pitchforks mode will find themselves sick or unemployed at some point: no matter how much life seems to be ticking over just fine, most people are never more than a single life-changing accident or illness away from being in real trouble. At that point they will find out the hard way just how much the Daily Mail and its ilk has taken them for a ride. Of course, it will be far too late then, it's no good saying, "but...but....I didn't mean decent people like me, I meant people like those lowlifes on Jeremy Kyle!". Only then will it sink in that that's how they're now viewed by the rest of the baying mob.

Very well-stated, you guys.

Egg-fucken-zakley.

Bob

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 19:07
by Snardbafulator
Mr. Minnow wrote:There's the problem - are the Tories or Labour really going to dump an electoral system that guarantees them a virtual duopoly on power? Of course not. There may be support for PR in Labour up to a point, but almost certainly not to the extent that a Labour government could actually introduce it. And the right-wing press will scream blue murder about it, as PR would mean every vote counts equally - which in turn would mean those papers would lose their influence, which is currently based on (supposedly) being the voice of floating voters in the marginals, that tiny sliver of the electorate that effectively decides the result of the entire election. No marginals = no need for the parties to tailor their policies to what those papers say those voters want. And we can't have that!

Before I totally slide off the deep end into foam-flecked ultra-radicalism (and the NSA algorithms start to sniff me out as a potential subversive -- Hi guys! How's the coffee over there?), let me throw in a plug for a book which deals precisely with the tyranny of the marginals as you so call them -- the eloquent Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith's The Culture of Contentment. Even though it was written in '92 and is about the US, his points are salient. He explains how a large, disaffected underclass serves precisely the interests of those in power, making it even more difficult for them to address issues of long-term concern:

Here's a good general thumbnail.

And here are pithy extracts from it on an Aussie's blog.

This is still the best, most well-balanced analysis I've seen of the underlying problem.

Bob

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 12:17
by montoid
John Oliver (Bugle podcast, Smurfs movies 1 and 2!) makes a sound point on climate debate :)

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 14:57
by Bubby
Bob wrote:Before I totally slide off the deep end into foam-flecked ultra-radicalism (and the NSA algorithms start to sniff me out as a potential subversive -- Hi guys! How's the coffee over there?), let me throw in a plug for a book which deals precisely with the tyranny of the marginals as you so call them -- the eloquent Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith's The Culture of Contentment. Even though it was written in '92 and is about the US, his points are salient. He explains how a large, disaffected underclass serves precisely the interests of those in power, making it even more difficult for them to address issues of long-term concern:

Just ordered that, thanks for the tip.

Hopefully bringing the political discourse back into the realms of "fleetingly amusing", try the Iain Duncan Smith Welfare Benefits game!

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 17:03
by Batesy
A wife asks her husband, "Could you go to the shop and buy a carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get half a dozen" A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk. The wife asks him, "Why the hell did you buy 6 cartons of milk?" He replied, "They had eggs."

:|

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 17:45
by psparky27
Batesy wrote:A wife asks her husband, "Could you go to the shop and buy a carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get half a dozen" A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk. The wife asks him, "Why the hell did you buy 6 cartons of milk?" He replied, "They had eggs."

:|


Tommy cooper would be proud and thanks for getting the thread back on track.

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 19:07
by Snardbafulator
montoid wrote:John Oliver (Bugle podcast, Smurfs movies 1 and 2!) makes a sound point on climate debate :)

Hey, who is this John Oliver guy? He looks like your answer to Jon Stewart ::lol:

Climate "debate," yeah right. Even calling it "climate change" is wimping out. It's anthropogenic global warming. Hee, I love Lord Monckton and his stupid cowboy hats, the UK's go-to climate change denialist and UKIPer (He's no doubt the UKIP's liaison to the Flat Earth Society as well). I love how the UKIP have written denialism into their platform: "the slight warming trend over the past hundred years is part of a natural cycle," as if scientific facts are like political positions, John Oliver's point. 1 out of 4 Americans think 5 is greater than 15.

I've shared my favorite denialist anecdote before, but it's always worth repeating. The Heartland Institute, an astroturfed "citizens lobby" actually funded by scumbag industrialists like the infamous Koch brothers, used to sponsor those big annual denialist fuckfests, where "all the leading climate change skeptics" gather around and debate videotapes of Al Gore.

Well, a couple years ago they jumped the shark. Remember Theodore Kasczynski, the Unabomber? A rising star math professor who went off the Luddite deep end and began mailing letter bombs to technology professors from a little shack in the woods? He looks like Grizzly Adams crossed with a serial killer. The Heartland Institute put a billboard of bearded, disheveled, scowling ol' Ted over an LA highway captioned "He believes in global warming."

Which is like putting up a billboard of Adolf Hitler captioned "He hated cigarette smoking."

A week later, two thirds of their sponsors bailed from the self-inflicted bad publicity and the Heartland Institute had to abandon their climate change denialist project altogether :lol:
Bubby wrote:Just ordered that, thanks for the tip.

Well, it's a little dated, but the basic idea is this: About half the electorate doesn't vote. They're disenfranchised. They don't think either party speaks to them and they're right. Of the remainder, about half of that are the Contented Minority. They "vote for the man, not the party." They like winners and they climb on the bandwagon. Truthfully, which party wins is irrelevant to them, because they like things the way they are just fine. What's left of that are the loyal opposition. They may have gripes here or there, but they believe in the system and they always vote. So, in order to win an election in a FPTP system, a candidate has to cobble enough votes of the loyal opposition without alienating those who like things just the way they are. So that makes it literally impossible for them to address the concerns of the majority.

Oh incidentally, I was dead wrong about the Lib Dems. They aren't like our Looneytarians at all, more like a cross between Fabian socialists and our Progressives of a century ago. They're good-government reformers but they also have a strong social conscience. I read the Lib Dem platform and go "yeah ... I can go for this. These are my views exactly." But there's also a strain growing ever more strong, especially since the Clegg / Cameron dalliance, of, as eadric says, "classical liberals" called the Orange Bookers. And these are the ones more interested in "incentivizing the poor" than in concretely helping them out. They're not quite like Libertarians, but they are like Libertarian-minded Republicans and Democrats. But truthfully, everybody save unreconstructed Socialists since Blair and so-called New Labour (and Clinton and the so-called New Democrats over here) have bought into that neoliberal frogwash.

The Libertarians are our most well-funded and organized third party. But they're still a grotesquely elitist affair, with no Reps or Senators and no more than 1% in national elections. They're darlings of the tech sector and well-to-do college campuses. And no wonder ... it's a philosophically consistent ideology with a one-size-fits-all answer to every problem: Less government. But it also lends itself to freakazoid conspiracy theories. Frank Zappa was asked to run on their presidential ticket; he took one hairy squint at their platform and decided they were totally insane. The most well-known almost-Libertarian to make a splash in national politics was Ron Paul running in the GOP primary. The Libs thought he was too insane for them.

I've been reading about it, and it doesn't seem the UK has a strict equivalent to our nutso Yank scourge-the-government streak. Maybe the UK Pirate Party? The anti-bureaucracy talk seems pretty evenly spread around but it isn't made into a fetish that government is the problem.

Or maybe that's just my US perception and it's percolating through all UK ideologies ...
Hopefully bringing the political discourse back into the realms of "fleetingly amusing", try the Iain Duncan Smith

Yeah ... "fleetingly amusing" as the contents of a colostomy bag for breakfast ...

Jesus Christ, you guys really are becoming more like us in all the worst ways imaginable.

Heh. Makes me yearn for the good ol' Cold War days of Class Struggle: The Board Game

Bob

Re: Links to Fleetingly Amusing Stuff

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 19:15
by Mr Technique
John Oliver was a correspondent on The Daily Show for 7 years, then last summer, Stewart went to direct a movie for 3 months and Oliver filled in and his performance got him his own show on HBO, still based in the US, which is pretty similar to DS from what I have seen.


Climate change, Creationism as a science....there are so many non-debate debates at the moment.