democracy of the senses


You know how on Kitchen Nightmares Gordon Ramsey goes to a failing restaurant to try to save it?

Or how on Tabatha Takes Over Tabatha Coffey would go to a jacked up salon and tell them everything they’re doing wrong?

Can we get some country – ANY country better at Democracy – to come over to the US and shake some sense into us? Just give the reigns to some other country’s leadership because I don’t trust anybody in our government at this point.

We’re already a reality show I never asked for being run by a reality TV Cheeto so we can’t do any worse really.

anonymous asked:

What don't you like about the Marxist definition of the state?

theres a historically dominant view among marxists that the state is an instrument or extension of a particular class’ power, another way of maintaining class rule. i have no doubts that the state is intimately related to class, but i feel like in this there has generally been a tendency (especially among orthodox marxists, who posit this as a sort of general theory) to treat all members of a class as a sort of homogenous entity with the same interests, and so the state represents interests in a very singular and mechanical sense. i think thats obviously wrong, since the interests of competing capitals are clearly not the same. capitalists that profit from exports will likely not agree to the same terms as those that profit from imports. of course, both may agree broadly about what we ought to do to rebellious workers, but even still, they would also benefit from empowered worker-consumers in sectors that were not their own, and in fact there are plenty of instances where labor standards that are supposedly “universal” do not touch certain industries such as agriculture, which has a long history of child labor and brutal conditions even up to this day in countries like the united states. imagine how an increase in purchasing power of one sector might affect the profits in another, especially one who is still able to rely on the most disgusting forms of exploitation. in this sense, uneven amounts of social democracy would be beneficial to non-competitiors in different industries, at least in the short term. 

it seems clear to me that there are several issues of this sort on which capitals violently disagree, and this to me makes up the grand divide between the two parties in the united states. this becomes infinitely easier to see in the aftermath of crises when it comes to pointing fingers and deciding who ought to be blamed and regulated (i dont believe this to all be predetermined by a handful of shadowy illuminati-type figures sitting around a holographic map of the world, cruelly laughing as they smuggle vulgarities into disney movies as subtle propaganda). of course in the end, this battleground may still be looked at as an organ of class power, but precisely because of that it must also necessarily react to class struggles and is therefore semi-malliable, as history has shown. of course, this flexibility is not exactly the same as reformability, and so i still think we must maintain that, in the context of capitalism, we cannot vote our way to socialism (whether we ever could is perhaps a different matter, but certainly we now face a very different kind of capitalism (and state, by extension) than we did in the 19th century). we can however, exert pressures which impose limits on capital. whether they would be absolute limits or not is difficult to say. historically, the flexibility of capital has allowed it to overcome all obstacles, but this is where we must retain a bit of optimism and think about how we might approach 21st century struggle, rather than simply dusting off old slogans and ideas. 

in my view, the nature of the capitalist state is contradictory and necessarily involves class struggles. if we decide that we ought to seize state power, then i think it would be foolish to assume that class struggle would not continue into that next system, if it ever comes. if thats the path we take, then i think it would only make sense that we would anxiously await the stateless future that allegedly awaits us on the other side and so we would be very critical and suspicious of a state that in anyway attempts to postpone that grand realization (and there’d be absolutely nothing wrong with that). even a state that supposedly operates in our interests could not possibly represent us fully, only broadly at best, as it does for capital. in this sense, i think even a leninist ought to be something of an anarchist in their socialist society, eager to make the jump from the means to the end, the transition obviously not being the purpose of revolution. 

perhaps there would be some danger in this, as we cant always get what we want when we want it and maybe it would somehow actually be disastrous to call it too early, but at the very least we should expect and respect the attitude within the movement. whether the state will wither away or need to be pushed out of existence (and in truth there really may not be much of a difference), we should be ready for both. 

in short, i dont know if i have a problem with “the” marxist theory of the state (whether there has ever been “a” marxist view of anything, i seriously doubt), but i do question how the state is often represented in the literature. i’m not sure that there can be a general theory of the state or if there are only particular theories of each state. it certainly seems incorrect to suggest that while the economic structure has been transformed over time, it wouldn’t at all alter the function (or perhaps the functionality, if the difference is clear) of states in different societies. of course marxists are aware of this, and this is one of the reasons why it is important in the first place to talk about a “bourgeois” revolution, but then there are immediate problems with how we might stretch our universal categories over particular entities. surely, some do it better than others, but i’m not absolutely convinced that we have to do it in the first place. 

anyway, i’ve still got more thoughts to think on the subject (and this is far from polished) but hopefully this will give you an idea of where i am.

I just feel like I don’t have enough wisdom about myself as a person yet to go out there and say to 20 million followers on Twitter, and these people on Facebook, and whoever else is reading whatever interview I do, “Vote for this person.” I know who I’m going to vote for, but I don’t think that it’s important for me to say it, because it will influence people one way or another. And I just want to make sure that every public decision I make is an educated one.
—  Taylor Swift making actual sense. Democracy is about people making their own, educated choices. Not voting based on who their favorite celebrity likes.
Various French Presidential Candidates
  • Francois Fillon - Republicains : not-Sarkozy, the go-to candidate for the right-wing people that are not yet nazis.
  • Marine le Pen - Front National : wants to leave Europe, NATO, common sense, and that weird thing called democracy. Part of the ultra-conservative equivalent of a royal lineage. Sort of Nazi, mostly populist.
  • Francois Bayrou - MoDem : for people that want compromises but will never get them.
  • Benoit Hamon - Left-Wing : former minister of education, resigned when Hollande didn’t hold up to left-wing ideals. Pro-Europe, pro-European army, wants to put a tax on automated labor to establish an universal income that would balance the jobs they destroy. Kind of our Bernie Sanders, also wants to legalize weed.
  • Jean-Luc Melanchon - le Partie de Gauche : the candidate of edgy college students, against Europe, NATO and possibly private property.

ever notice that the “communists” that toss around the l-word (liberal) hold a lot of crossover liberal ideas that frequently get subsumed into the leftoid blob, democracy being one. democracy is an idea that isn’t horrible by itself but you’re failing to see how what democracy ultimately aims to do is ultimately undermined by it’s own flaws and that you can achieve the same outcome thru far superior means. those anarchists that are opposed to democracy are anti-democratic in the sense that democracy has been an utter failure since it’s inception and we’re disputing the legitimacy of the term outright. that doesn’t mean we don’t think you should have a say in matters and affairs that directly affect you, we just dispute “”“democracy’s”“” methods.

Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page | Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

from Perspectives on Politics, 2014

Who governs? Who really rules? To what extent is the broad body of U.S. citizens sovereign, semisovereign, or largely powerless? These questions have animated much important work in the study of American politics. While this body of research is rich and variegated, it can loosely be divided into four families of theories: Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism—Majoritarian Pluralism, in which the interests of all citizens are more or less equally represented, and Biased Pluralism, in which corporations, business associations, and professional groups predominate. Each of these perspectives makes different predictions about the independent influence upon U.S. policy making of four sets of actors: the Average Citizen or“median voter,” Economic Elites, and Mass-based or Business-oriented Interest Groups or industries.


Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics—which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism—offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented. A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues. Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

So, in case you wondered, the average citizen has functionally zero impact on policy, even when their ‘power’ is pulled together in interest groups. We are not living in a democracy, but an oligarchy.

some selections:

The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.

Our results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.


A final point: Even in a bivariate, descriptive sense,

our evidence indicates that the responsiveness of the U.S. political system when the general public wants government action is severely limited

. Because of the impediments to majority rule that were deliberately built into the U.S. political system—federalism, separation of powers, bicameralism—together with further impediments due to anti-majoritarian congressional rules and procedures, the system has a substantial status quo bias. Thus

when popular majorities favor the status quo, opposing a given policy change, they are likely to get their way; but when a majority—even a very large majority—of the public favors change, it is not likely to get what it wants.

In our 1,779 policy cases, narrow pro-change majorities of the public got the policy changes they wanted only about 30 percent of the time. More strikingly,

even overwhelmingly large pro-change majorities, with 80 percent of the public favoring a policy change, got that change only about 43 percent of the time


In any case, normative advocates of populistic democracy may not be enthusiastic about democracy by coincidence, in which ordinary citizens get what they want from government only when they happen to agree with elites or interest groups that are really calling the shots. When push comes to shove, actual influence matters.


By directly pitting the predictions of ideal-type theories against each other within a single statistical model (using a unique data set that includes imperfect but useful measures of the key independent variables for nearly two thousand policy issues), we have been able to produce some striking findings. One is the nearly total failure of “median voter” and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories. When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.


Overall, net interest-group alignments are not significantly related to the preferences of average citizens. The net alignments of the most influential, business-oriented groups are negatively related to the average citizen’s wishes. So existing interest groups do not serve effectively as transmission belts for the wishes of the populace as a whole. “Potential groups” do not take up the slack, either, since average citizens’ preferences have little or no independent impact on policy after existing groups’ stands are controlled for.


Furthermore, the preferences of economic elites (as measured by our proxy, the preferences of “affluent” citizens) have far more independent impact upon policy change than the preferences of average citizens do. To be sure, this does not mean that ordinary citizens always lose out; they fairly often get the policies they favor, but only because those policies happen also to be preferred by the economically-elite citizens who wield the actual influence.


Of course our findings speak most directly to the “first face” of power: the ability of actors to shape policy outcomes on contested issues. But they also reflect—to some degree, at least—the “second face” of power: the ability to shape the agenda of issues that policy makers consider. The set of policy alternatives that we analyze is considerably broader than the set discussed seriously by policy makers or brought to a vote in Congress, and our alternatives are (on average) more popular among the general public than among interest groups. Thus the fate of these policies can reflect policy makers’ refusing to consider them rather than considering but rejecting them. (From our data we cannot distinguish between the two.) Our results speak less clearly to the “third face” of power: the ability of elites to shape the public’s preferences.49 We know that interest groups and policy makers themselves often devote considerable effort to shaping opinion. If they are successful, this might help explain the high correlation we find between elite and mass preferences. But it cannot have greatly inflated our estimate of average citizens’ influence on policy making, which is near zero.


All in all, we believe that the public is likely to be a more certain guardian of its own interests than any feasible alternative.


Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a wide- spread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

Natural Leader

Prompt: Leader

Hibari had never liked being in the presence of other people. Even from a young age, he found them to be whiny, weak, irritating and mindless. They were noisy, boring and he found every instant he spent forced to interact with another human a complete waste of time. It wasn’t until elementary school that he discovered the perfect terminology to describe how he felt about the populace—herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores. Herbivores were the weakest link in the food chain, more often than not unable to defend themselves and pathetically going about their daily lives. Omnivores were slightly tolerable, as they had the ability to fight and defend their territory, but were partial to peaceful interaction. Carnivores were the top of the food chain, ruthless and dominating and unbeatable.

Hibari was the only carnivore he knew. He didn’t know any omnivores at all. Everyone that surrounded him was an herbivore.

He was five when he first enacted his natural-born ability to lead. He had been sitting alone in the sandbox, building a towering fortress of tightly-packed sand. A couple of kids approached him, wanting to play in the sand as well. Hibari narrowed his eyes at them, opening his mouth to tell them to disappear, when a thought struck him.

“Fine,” he said coolly. “But you do whatever I say. If you don’t, I’ll bite you to death.”

They recoiled slightly at his sneering tone, but did not retreat, which was their mistake. From then on, Hibari realized how to deal with herbivores. He could not change them permanently, but he could control them to behave as he wanted them to. For the next few weeks, as his sand castle grew in size, the children who wanted to utilize the sandbox were forced to comply with his rules. No talking, and they had to do exactly as he said.

There were the foolish ones who tried to rebel. They thought they were strong enough, brave enough to stand up to him. They were swiftly dealt with, one blow would send them flying to the ground with a bruised eye or cut lip. Angered parents would confront him, but they were just as herbivorous as their children.

He would glare at them, indifferent and cold, and they would eventually grow unnerved enough to scuttle their offspring away. His mother ignored the complaints of parents, dismissing his behaviour as playful.

And if a child could not successfully execute his directions, they were promptly bitten to death as well. He had no use for the weak and incompetent.

Hibari was ten when he utilized the full potential of his strength. He was walking the halls of his elementary school, anger twisting through him at the unnecessary noises that echoed off the walls, the pounding of footsteps against the tiles. He glowered at the observing teachers, who seemed content with this lack of control and order. His head began to ache and when one of his students slammed into his shoulder on accident, he grabbed hold of the boy and shoved him against the lockers.

“Running in the halls is against the rules,” he growled.

“Get off! You’re not a teacher, you can’t tell me what to do!”

Hibari removed his tonfas from the inside of his school jacket and sent the boy sailing down the hall. Everyone immediately stopped, eyes widening in fear, and one teacher stepped forwards.

“Hey, put those away this—”

Hibari struck the wall with his tonfa, creating a hole in the cement and sending chunks scattering in all directions. The teacher stilled, Hibari’s dark eyes drilling into him, filled with disgust. “If you will not reign in the herbivores, I will.” Moving his gaze to sweep across the now-quiet corridor, he said, “Better. Keep it silent or I’ll bite you to death.”

The kids turned to stare at Hibari’s victim, who was straggling to his feet, uniform torn and blood trickling down his chin. They hastily continued on their way, heads ducked down and considerably quieter than they were seconds before.

From that day on, Hibari was the unofficial hall monitor of his elementary school. He easily put the herbivores in their place and maintained the peace.
He was a leader, though not quite in the traditional sense. He did not do democracy, there was no teamwork. He made all decisions and enforced all punishments, regardless if his victim believed they deserved it or not. He ruled with an iron fist, and the herbivores either obeyed or were cut down for their insolence. He silenced the rowdy and cowed the obnoxious.

When Hibari enrolled into Namimori Middle, he quickly rose to power. He became the head of the Disciplinary Committee with little trouble and established dominance over the student populace. The teachers kept quiet and left him to do his work, fearful of consequence for their interference. The Disciplinary Committee members consisted of people who sincerely admired Hibari and his strength, and willingly followed him. It was different, not to have to force them to do his bidding, but he came to appreciate them in his own way.

Everything was perfect. There was no resistance. He never had to break a sweat when dealing with delinquents.  

It was very boring. Until he came.

The baby with the fedora. One day Hibari didn’t know he existed, the next Reborn became a permanent presence at Namimori Middle. He was almost always by the side of Sawada Tsunayoshi.

Hibari had encountered Sawada before—it was a common sight to see him being bullied or stumbling through the halls on his own feet. He was a hopeless herbivore and Hibari dismissed him almost immediately. But when he came face-to-face with Sawada, Reborn watching with a thoughtful expression, Hibari saw something he hadn’t noticed before.

There was a spark in Sawada’s brown eyes, a tiny ember of defiance that not even he knew he possessed yet. Hibari paused, regarding the brunette and the baby for a moment, before moving on his way. He knew potential when he saw it. He wanted to see how Sawada would grow.

It was perhaps his mistake that he didn’t bite Sawada to death in that moment, but he believed Reborn wouldn’t have let him destroy him completely. So maybe it couldn’t have been helped, as bitter a taste that left in his mouth.

Hibari watched Reborn’s easy strength, one he wanted to go up against. But the baby held him at a distance, and Hibari knew later that he had unintentionally given him the perfect bait to use against him. If Hibari wanted to fight Reborn, and the other formidable enemies that seemed to now follow Sawada around every corner, he had to participate occasionally in the tasks Reborn arranged.

Hibari was not ignorant. He knew the overwhelming presence the mafia held in Italy. He caught on to what Reborn was trying to do. He resisted, refusing to crowd with such herbivores. He did not fight just anyone because he was told to. He chose his battles. He certainly didn’t want anything to do with the annoying group that suddenly surrounded Sawada. But Reborn still gave him the Cloud Ring, and Hibari kept it.

He had tried to get rid of it, once or twice. But in the end, he ultimately couldn’t go through with it. He wasn’t bored anymore, not with the challenging fights he got to partake in, to watch Sawada grow into his potential. And perhaps, though he would never admit, he felt the magnetic pull of the Cloud Ring, as if he had always been meant to wear it.

Hibari had always been a leader. He was never a follower. He did not follow orders, he gave them. And then Reborn came into the picture, and he got to know the true character of Sawada Tsunayoshi. As the years passed and the battles grew more difficult, Hibari could see that Sawada was no longer a herbivore. He was an omnivore, and eventually he conceded to acknowledge the brunette as his boss. He was praised as being the strongest Guardian, and the others never expected him to follow their orders. They knew who he was, and let him do his own thing (and the more he could irritate Gokudera and Mukuro the better), and in turn he grew content to be step-by-step with them.

With all the herbivores attempting to interfere with their business and break apart his family, he was fine with not being an absolute leader in one aspect of his life.

iskra-chornia  asked:

Not to be all hyper-ultra or anything but why are you so into Iraqi Kurdistan? It's basically a liberal democracy designed to appeal to the US state department and actively hampers Rojava with embargoes and border closures for being "too radical".

Same reason I support independence for Catalonia, Scotland, etc. The political and economic structure of the state does not concern me, I know that it’s a capitalist liberal democracy and isn’t going to be socialist in any sense, but I support the self-determination of any people around the world who are struggling for it

via Dan Rather

And so it begins.

Of the nearly 20 inaugurations I can remember, there has never been one that felt like today. Not even close. Never mind the question of the small size of the crowds, or the boycott by dozens of lawmakers, or even the protest marches slated for tomorrow across the country. Those are plays upon the stage. What is truly unprecedented in my mind is the sheer magnitude of quickening heartbeats in millions of Americans, a majority of our country if the polls are to be believed, that face today buffeted within and without by the simmering ache of dread.

I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course.

I have never seen a transition so divisive with cabinet picks so encumbered by serious questions of qualifications and ethics.

I have never seen the specter of a foreign foe cast such a dark shadow over the workings of our democracy.

I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world.

I have never seen such a tangled web of conflicting interests.

Despite the pageantry of unity on display at the Capitol today, there is a piercing sense that we are entering a chapter in our nation’s evolving story unlike one ever yet written. To be sure, there are millions of Donald Trump supporters who are euphoric with their candidate’s rise. Other Trump voters have expressed reservations, having preferred his bluster to his rival’s perceived shortcomings in the last election, but admitting more and more that they are not sure what kind of man they bestowed the keys to the presidency. The rest of America - the majority of voters - would not be - and indeed is not - hesitant in sharing its conclusions on the character and fitness of Donald Trump for the office he now holds.

The hope one hears from even some of Donald Trump’s critics is that this moment might change him. Perhaps, as he stood there on a grey, drab, January day, reciting the solemn oath of office demanded by our Constitution, as he looked out across what Charles Dickens once called the “city of magnificent intentions”, he would somehow grasp the importance of what he was undertaking. Perhaps he would understand that he must be the president of all the United States, in action as well as in word. Perhaps, but there has already been so much past that is prologue.

There is usually much fanfare around inaugural addresses. They are also usually forgotten - with some notable exceptions. I think today will be remembered, not so much for the rhetoric or the turns of phrase but for the man who delivered them and the era they usher us forth.

Mr. Trump’s delivery was staccato and there was very little eye contact as he seemed to be reading carefully from a teleprompter. His words and tone were angry and defiant. He is still in campaign mode and nary a whiff of a unifying spirit. There was little or nothing of uplift - the rhetoric of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, or Reagan. We heard a cavalcade of slogans and one liners, of huge promises to “bring back” an America - whatever that really means to many who look at our history and see progress in our current society.

The speech started with a message of an establishment in Washington earning riches on the back of struggling families across the country. It was an odd note, considering the background of many of his cabinet picks. President Trump painted a very dark picture of the current state of our nation, beset by gangs and drugs and violence, regardless of what the data shows. His words swelled with his economic populism and the nationalism of “America first.” The applause was sparse, and I imagine many more being turned off, even sickened, rather than inspired by what our new President had to say. President Obama looked on with an opaque poker face. One could only imagine what he was thinking.

It bears remembering that one never can predict the arc of a presidency. It is an office that is far too often shaped by circumstance well beyond its occupant’s control. Those challenges, wherever and however they may rise, now will fall on the desk of President Trump. We can only see what will happen. We hope, for the security and sanctity of our Republic, that Mr. Trump will respond to the challenges with circumspection and wisdom. Today’s rhetoric was not reassuring.

Our democracy demands debate and dissent - fierce, sustained, and unflinching when necessary. I sense that tide is rising amongst an opposition eager to toss aside passivity for action. We are already seeing a more emboldened Democratic party than I have witnessed in ages. It is being fueled by a fervent energy bubbling from the grassroots up, rather than the top down.

These are the swirling currents about our ship of state. We now have a new and untested captain. His power is immense, but it is not bestowed from a divinity on high. It is derived, as the saying goes, from the consent of the governed. That means President Trump now works for us - all of us. And if he forgets that, it will be our duty to remind him.

It’s good to be home. My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes we’ve received over the past few weeks. But tonight it’s my turn to say thanks. Whether we’ve seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people – in living rooms and schools; at farms and on factory floors; at diners and on distant outposts – are what have kept me honest, kept me inspired, and kept me going. Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.

I first came to Chicago when I was in my early twenties, still trying to figure out who I was; still searching for a purpose to my life. It was in neighborhoods not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills. It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss. This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged,
and come together to demand it.

After eight years as your President, I still believe that. And it’s not just my belief. It’s the beating heart of our American idea – our bold experiment in self-government.

It’s the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It’s the insistence that these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing; that We, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union.

This is the great gift our Founders gave us. The freedom to chase our individual dreams through our sweat, toil, and imagination – and the imperative to strive together as well, to achieve a greater good.

For 240 years, our nation’s call to citizenship has given work and purpose to each new generation. It’s what led patriots to choose republic over tyranny, pioneers to trek west, slaves to brave that makeshift railroad to freedom. It’s what pulled immigrants and refugees across oceans and the Rio Grande, pushed women to reach for the ballot, powered workers to organize. It’s why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well.

So that’s what we mean when we say America is exceptional. Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow.

Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard, contentious and sometimes bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.

If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history…if I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, and take out the mastermind of 9/11…if I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high.

But that’s what we did. That’s what you did. You were the change. You answered people’s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.

In ten days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one freely-elected president to the next. I committed to President-Elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me. Because it’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face.

We have what we need to do so. After all, we remain the wealthiest, most powerful, and most respected nation on Earth. Our youth and drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention mean that the future should be ours.

But that potential will be realized only if our democracy works. Only if our politics reflects the decency of the our people. Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.

That’s what I want to focus on tonight – the state of our democracy.

Understand, democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders quarreled and compromised, and expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity – the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.

There have been moments throughout our history that threatened to rupture that solidarity. The beginning of this century has been one of those times. A shrinking world, growing inequality; demographic change and the specter of terrorism – these forces haven’t just tested our security and prosperity, but our democracy as well. And how we meet these challenges to our democracy will determine our ability to educate our kids, and create good jobs, and protect our homeland.

In other words, it will determine our future.

Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. Today, the economy is growing again; wages, incomes, home values, and retirement accounts are rising again; poverty is falling again. The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records. The unemployment rate is near a ten-year low. The uninsured rate has never, ever been lower.

Health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in fifty years. And if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system – that covers as many people at less cost – I will publicly support it.

That, after all, is why we serve – to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But for all the real progress we’ve made, we know it’s not enough. Our economy doesn’t work as well or grow as fast when a few prosper at the expense of a growing middle class. But stark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic principles. While the top one percent has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many families, in inner cities and rural counties, have been left behind – the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and health care worker who struggle to pay the bills – convinced that the game is fixed against them, that their government only serves the interests of the powerful – a recipe for more cynicism and polarization in our politics.

There are no quick fixes to this long-term trend. I agree that our trade should be fair and not just free. But the next wave of economic dislocation won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete.

And so we must forge a new social compact – to guarantee all our kids the education they need; to give workers the power to unionize for better wages; to update the social safety net to reflect the way we live now and make more reforms to the tax code so corporations and individuals who reap the most from the new economy don’t avoid their obligations to the country that’s made their success possible. We can argue about how to best achieve these goals. But we can’t be complacent about the goals themselves. For if we don’t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come.

There’s a second threat to our democracy – one as old as our nation itself. After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were ten, or twenty, or thirty years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.

But we’re not where we need to be. All of us have more work to do. After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. If we decline to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we diminish the prospects of our own children – because those brown kids will represent a larger share of America’s workforce. And our economy doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women.

Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, in housing, in education and the criminal justice system. That’s what our Constitution and highest ideals require. But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change. If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.

For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ‘60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.

For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, Italians, and Poles. America wasn’t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; they embraced this nation’s creed, and it was strengthened.

So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.

None of this is easy. For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.

This trend represents a third threat to our democracy. Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.

Isn’t that part of what makes politics so dispiriting? How can elected officials rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschool for kids, but not when we’re cutting taxes for corporations?

How do we excuse ethical lapses in our own party, but pounce when the other party does the same thing? It’s not just dishonest, this selective sorting of the facts; it’s self-defeating. Because as my mother used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you.

Take the challenge of climate change. In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet. But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change; they’ll be busy dealing with its effects: environmental disasters, economic disruptions, and waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary.

Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to the problem. But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders.

It’s that spirit, born of the Enlightenment, that made us an economic powerhouse – the spirit that took flight at Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral; the spirit that that cures disease and put a computer in every pocket.

It’s that spirit – a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primacy of right over might, that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression, and build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but on principles – the rule of law, human rights, freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and an independent press.

That order is now being challenged – first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies, and civil society itself as a threat to their power. The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile. It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.

Because of the extraordinary courage of our men and women in uniform, and the intelligence officers, law enforcement, and diplomats who support them, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years; and although Boston and Orlando remind us of how dangerous radicalization can be, our law enforcement agencies are more effective and vigilant than ever. We’ve taken out tens of thousands of terrorists – including Osama bin Laden. The global coalition we’re leading against ISIL has taken out their leaders, and taken away about half their territory. ISIL will be destroyed, and no one who threatens America will ever be safe. To all who serve, it has been the honor of my lifetime to be your Commander-in-Chief.

But protecting our way of life requires more than our military. Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are. That’s why, for the past eight years, I’ve worked to put the fight against terrorism on a firm legal footing. That’s why we’ve ended torture, worked to close Gitmo, and reform our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and civil liberties. That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans. That’s why we cannot withdraw from global fights – to expand democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights – no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem. For the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression. If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened.

So let’s be vigilant, but not afraid. ISIL will try to kill innocent people. But they cannot defeat America unless we betray our Constitution and our principles in the fight. Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world – unless we give up what we stand for, and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors.

Which brings me to my final point – our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions.

When voting rates are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should make it easier, not harder, to vote. When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service. When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.

And all of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power swings.

Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power – with our participation, and the choices we make. Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.

In his own farewell address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but “from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken…to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth;” that we should preserve it with “jealous anxiety;” that we should reject “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties” that make us one.

We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character are turned off from public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but somehow malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others; when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them.

It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.

Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America – and in Americans – will be confirmed.

Mine sure has been. Over the course of these eight years, I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates and our newest military officers. I’ve mourned with grieving families searching for answers, and found grace in Charleston church. I’ve seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and our wounded warriors walk again.
I’ve seen our doctors and volunteers rebuild after earthquakes and stop pandemics in their tracks. I’ve seen the youngest of children remind us of our obligations to care for refugees, to work in peace, and above all to look out for each other.

That faith I placed all those years ago, not far from here, in the power of ordinary Americans to bring about change – that faith has been rewarded in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined. I hope yours has, too. Some of you here tonight or watching at home were there with us in 2004, in 2008, in 2012 – and maybe you still can’t believe we pulled this whole thing off.

You’re not the only ones. Michelle – for the past twenty-five years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend. You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You’ve made me proud. You’ve made the country proud.

Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.

To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware’s favorite son: you were the first choice I made as a nominee, and the best. Not just because you have been a great Vice President, but because in the bargain, I gained a brother. We love you and Jill like family, and your friendship has been one of the great joys of our life.

To my remarkable staff: For eight years – and for some of you, a whole lot more – I’ve drawn from your energy, and tried to reflect back what you displayed every day: heart, and character, and idealism. I’ve watched you grow up, get married, have kids, and start incredible new journeys of your own. Even when times got tough and frustrating, you never let Washington get the better of you. The only thing that makes me prouder than all the good we’ve done is the thought of all the remarkable things you’ll achieve from here.

And to all of you out there – every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town and kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change – you are the best supporters and organizers anyone could hope for, and I will forever be grateful. Because yes, you changed the world.

That’s why I leave this stage tonight even more optimistic about this country than I was when we started. Because I know our work has not only helped so many Americans; it has inspired so many Americans – especially so many young people out there – to believe you can make a difference; to hitch your wagon to something bigger than yourselves. This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic –
I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, something not to fear but to embrace, and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.

My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my days that remain. For now, whether you’re young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President – the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.

I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.

I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every

American whose story is not yet written:

Yes We Can.

Yes We Did.

Yes We Can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

—  President Barack Obama, Farewell Address, January 10, 2017

anonymous asked:

If you were the leader of North Korea and wanted transition North Korea into a nice place to live as a common citizen what would you do? (Note, you only have the power of a leader of North Korea, you do not have complete control and if you try to change to quickly, you may find your self ousted.

I was originally going to skip out on answering this one with the reason “that’s above my paygrade,” but I think I have an idea on it now.

The good news is that you already have the atomic bomb, so you can remain sovereign and avoid U.S. invasion so long as you can maintain reasonable control over your nuclear war command and control.

Your friend in this is going to be China, not the United States.  In the United States, the ruling party, no matter which of the two it is, will attempt to take credit for disarming you and try to push for democracy before that would remotely make sense.

The key thing is that, apparently, the military has most of the power in North Korea, especially its leadership tier.

1. The first question is, does the power mass,

(mean_power(population) * population),

of potential supporters for reform in the military exceed the power mass of their rivals?  If the answer is no, then the first step, before even admitting you’re doing this, is to increase the relative power of the potential reformers until their power mass is greater than the power mass of the likely opposition.

2. The second question is why people with power cling to the current order.  Is it wealth?  Status?  Power?  Wanting to avoid repercussions for their past behavior?

Can you buy them off while liberalizing or making DPRK a nicer place to live?

There are various ways that this might be accomplished, but the exact choices depend on the environment.

3. Can you prevent minor degradations in the regime’s power from resulting in a sea change that topples the government?

This can happen in some situations, where a slight loosening can result in the whole thing liberalizing far more quickly than would otherwise be expected.  That probably isn’t the case in North Korea, but if you’re promising your guys in step #2 that they won’t be hanged, then you have to mitigate this.

I would suggest avoiding increasing political freedom while simultaneously improving the economy during the early phases.  Get help from China to help bring in money from multinational corporations by laundering it through Chinese companies.  (Don’t let them mess up the environment too much, though.)

To keep your allegedly-socialist bona fides, issue dividends from this.  To bribe your guys at the top, however, arrange for them to get a larger share of the dividends, on a more permanent basis, so that they don’t feel compelled to just take all of the dividends right now.

One thing to consider is having a sort of “national company store.”  Again, illusion of Communism - you have money coming in from Chinese companies.  Arrange for mass, standardized runs of various goods for distribution into the country via DPRK money.  (Control of this enterprise may be how you control the guys at the top.  Maybe split half the proceeds to the citizenry and half the proceeds to your guys.  Slowly cut out the guys you don’t like who aren’t getting with the program.)  Your citizens will only be allowed to have DPRK money, but you’ll arrange the transfers with China using something else, most likely.

Especially in the initial stages, I would avoid distribution of electronic communications goods (such as televisions or radios) and focus on mundane quality-of-life items - toothpaste, nail clippers, fruits, etc.  (The Americans will attempt to use any electronic communications channel to undermine you before you can complete the project so that they can look good on TV.)

One of the main things China wants to avoid is a large stream of DPRK refugees fleeing across the border.  Not only do you avoid this, but you’re importing Chinese consumer goods, so you should be able to do reasonably well in the eyes of Beijing.  

(Again, don’t show weakness towards America.  Only cut deals with China.  This is a “new era of national development” that will “strengthen the eternal power of Socialism in Korea”.  You can halt nuclear weapons development both to lift sanctions and save money, but do not give up your bombs.  You may even want to provoke them slightly in order to prop yourself up in internal propaganda!)

While this is going on, hire personnel to create a new media environment for your new ideological configuration - books, manhwa, radio programs, plays, etc.  Put these in the company store, too, and save money by mass production.

As this economic development moves forward, overall wealth will increase substantially, so the effective relative amount going to bribing the old guard will decrease even as the effective absolute amount they receive increases.

Create virtual state-owned corporations to manage your resource allocation, assisted by the Chinese, and close them if they are too unprofitable.  There are ways you can obfuscate that this is what you’re doing.  Allow personnel to rise in the ranks if they can create profitability without too many side effects.  Convince China to send you plenty of food.

Be sure to constantly talk about how great you are for causing all of this.  And I mean plural “you” here - this should be attributed to the government in general as a foretold era of cooperative socialist prosperity.  You’re going to have to do a lot of political theater.

4. Only after a period of prolonged economic development should you consider liberalizing the politics a lot.

At that point, it depends on whether you want to remain at the helm, or move to and live in China.

If you want to remain at the helm and not allow the government to slide into Liberal Democracy (or corrupt liberal democracy), then the interests of the People and the interests of the Party need to be more closely intertwined somehow, and a more-or-less dummy Opposition Party setup that you won’t allow to actually gain power.  Probably this would work with some kind of weird recursive voting scheme for electing Party representatives.

If you want the nation to become a Liberal Democracy, then at the end, only after you have achieved all that economic growth, should you ask the American professors and various members of the broader American establishment for advice.

For “democracy” or the “democratic spirit” (diabolical sense) leads to a nation without great men, a nation mainly of subliterates, full of the cocksureness which flattery breeds on ignorance, and quick to snarl or whimper at the first hint of criticism.

C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Proposes A Toast

If the espada had a democratic government...

As requested by @29thspirit. :)

In this AUverse, Aizen has been kicked to the curb (or, more likely, chose to leave), and the espada have installed a democratic government. With themselves as the parliament of course. How would their meetings work out? Let’s look at a representative sample!

Halibel: I, President Halibel, am calling this meeting to order.

Grimmjow: Okay but seriously - how come SHE gets to be president??

Halibel: Because we voted, Grimmjow. And literally everyone voted for themselves except for Ulquiorra, who voted for me.

Ulquiorra: I am emptiness.

Ulquiorra: Giving myself a vote seemed wrong.

Zommari: And you voted for her because…?

Ulquiorra: She is the only one of who is even remotely reasonable - aside perhaps from Starrk, who did not want the job.

Starrk: Yeah I only voted for myself because that was easier than thinking.

Aaroniero: I still say I should have gotten two votes! There’s two of me, you know!

Szayel: Yes, because giving more voting power to gillian. That’s what we want.


Barragan: Could we PLEASE get this ridiculous and undoubtedly short-lived farce started? The sooner it starts and fails, the sooner we can get back to monarchy, the only form of government that actually works so long as I am king.

Halibel: Our first order of business is old business. We still need to set a date for general elections. So long as we remain in charge unelected, this is not a true democracy.

Barragan: Oh. The horror.

Nnoitra: What, you think the hollows won’t vote for us?? Of course they’ll vote for us! Unless they want to be fucking slaughtered!

Halibel: Do I need to explain what democracy is? Again?

Nnoitra: Hey, I get what democracy is! It’s something that makes no fucking sense for hollows like us!

Nnoitra: I think we should reopen the matter of a fightocracy!

Halibel: That’s not a thing.


Starrk: But I don’t want more power…

Yammy: Uh, I’m actually the strongest, remember?? I love the idea of a fightocracy! Don’t you like it, Ulquiorra?

Ulquiorra: As I said the last three times we discussed this - no.

Yammy: But WHY

Halibel: Enough, please. We are not going to all fight each other to the death until one remains. We are going to do this. We are going to have elections and all sentient hollows will vote for their representatives.

Nnoitra: That is so unfair. It’s prejudiced against people who used to slaughter lesser hollows for fun!

Zommari: Sentient hollows, you say? What, so the Steves don’t get a vote?

Halibel: They have a hive mind and are controlled by other hollows.

Zommari: And that means they’re not worthy of being represented??

Zommari: This is supposed to be a government by hollows and for hollows - all hollows!

Zommari: I am so going to be the Steve representative.

Szayel: So…you’ll get them snacks?

Zommari: If that is what they want!

Grimmjow: Wait…so power will go to whoever gets voted for?

Halibel: Yes. I am glad that you have finally figured that out. After a mere five meetings

Grimmjow: Oh man, I’m hot, I’m cool, and I go around shirtless all the time with great hair!

Grimmjow: Everyone’s gonna vote for me!

Nnoitra: You think you can get more votes than me? Ha! No one can resist my rad spoon hood!

Grimmjow: Rad?


Halibel: Enough! I will choose a date and bring it to you all for approval.

Halibel: Before we end, does anyone want to discuss anything about how the voting process will actually work? We need logistics.

Barragan: Here’s an idea: if one of us happens to get all the votes, that person becomes supreme ruler.

Halibel: No.

Szayel: I would like to volunteer to make electronic voting machines! I can promise that they will not be rigged in any way.

Halibel: …

Szayel: They won’t! I don’t care about elections. But I DO care about planting my bugs in as many people as possible, which my voting machines will do.

Halibel: No.

Szayel: Is this government anti-science??

Yammy: I want to know if puppies can vote!

Halibel: We are all animals except for Zommari who is a pumpkin. I don’t see why not.

Yammy: Awesome!

Zommari: If his puppy gets to vote, then my Steves get to vote!

Halibel: We will consider it.

Grimmjow: I think we should make a law that humans can’t win the election!

Halibel: That is smart. That way Aizen cannot sneak back in.

Grimmjow: Aizen? Fuck that guy! I’m worried about Kurosaki!

Grimmjow: That guy is always stealing my victories!

Aaroniero: We need to return to the matter of multiple votes for hollows with multiple consciousnesses!

Aaroniero: I have like a dozen, so…

Halibel: No.

Nnoitra: I would like to suggest trashing this stupid voting thing and just have a FIGHTOCRACY

Halibel: …and that is my cue. Meeting adjourned! 

Starrk: Meetings like this almost make me miss Aizen.

Halibel: No one said democracy is easy.

anonymous asked:

Hello! I love your blog, and I think you would be the right person to come to about this: I am having a debate for my high school debate class, and the topic is "communism is inherently more ethical than capitalism." We are focusing only on the theories of each. Do you have any ideas for some main points that I can use in my speech? (I'm pro-communism, both in the debate and real life lol)

It’s especially easy if you’re focusing on just theory, cuz then you don’t have to go through the draining process of explaining why attempts at communism have been unwieldy over the years (it’s got a lot to do with imperialism, historical poverty, it not really having been attempted in a late capitalist country yet, etc.).

Seeing as we humans produce our necessary goods collectively, the machinery that helps us generate those goods ought to be collectively controlled – i.e. democratically. If you’re debating for a high school class, I highly recommend taking that route – emphasize the hell out of economic democracy and how it’s a logical conclusion for our supposed love of democracy. Now that most necessary work can be automated, it only makes sense to collectively take command over the automation, divvy up the workload that can’t be automated, and free up people’s time for things they’re actually interested in (another good thing to emphasize; everybody loves leisure time, i.e. freedom). People not only have to work long hours under capitalism, it’s also that they aren’t even remunerated fairly for the work they do – profit is the surplus unpaid labor of the working class.

There’s a good quote by Marx that summarizes historical materialism nicely: “Society with the windmill gives us the feudal lord; society with the steam engine gives us the industrial capitalist.” It’s not an unalterable dogma, but it does lay out a proper framework through which history ought to be examined – that is, social systems are byproducts of technology and material conditions. Now that we’ve advanced well beyond the steam engine, getting to a point where we’ve been to outer space and where we can reduce the work week to 15 hours, the social systems ought to catch up. And that’s to say nothing of climate catastrophe that is being caused by a system predicated on endless unsustainable growth (as capitalism is).

If they try to reduce debate down to “freedom vs equality” at any point, call out that shit. That ideology is based on a faulty premise – that being able to command limitless amount of capital and workers is “freedom” in its default form (it’s not; it’s just another form of class tyranny). Communism is predicated on both more equality AND more freedom – what better representation of freedom can you find than bountiful leisure time, something actually possible in the democratic/for-need/automated system of communism? Communism is the natural conclusion of centuries of questioning authority and hierarchy; it’s putting actual material social power into the hands of the people, rather than just vaguely asserting that everyone has the same rights with no concern for real-life power dynamics (as capitalism does).

I hope this helps for your debate in some way! 🙂


2nd at Bat

The Cannibals

Slack jawed


Poison whole swaths of drinkable water

The cannibals

Use front groups

Taking over states

Choking out popular resistance

The cannibals

Wage endless unwinnable wars

To create new markets

For the manufacturing of weapons

That they become giddy over using

Obama in referencing his Yemen bombings

“I’m really good at killing people”

The cannibals

Deindustrialize cities

Deliberately flooding immigrants in

To Foster

A pit against each other


That forgets to attempt to Know

How they came here

Through programs like


Which left them



Still white men

Still white people in general

Still want social democracy

Still want to give capitalism a pass

By calling it

Corporate Capitalism,

They don’t have a true desire to end anything

Because it’ll take away their

Illusion of power

Their years of service to



Traditional Liberal mechanisms


Print journalism


Labor unions,

It’s the truth

It has nothing to do with them


Social Democracy

It makes no logical sense

To want something

That ultimately eroded in Europe for one

And two

Never can exist

Within a Earth

Where the Rich have ruled

Ad nauseam

Century after Century

: “Democracy does not require uniformity.  Our founders quarreled and compromised, and expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity – the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.” Honored to have met him. #obamafarewell #yeswecan

Western, Liberal democracies are “free” in an individual sense, but more than often come at the price of national or cultural sovereignty. The rising power of authoritarian, anti-american powers is a direct reaction to the havok uncontrolled individualism and liberalism has had on the west. Sure, you can watch whatever movies and shout as loudly at the government as you want, but your culture, nation, and purpose in life is gone.

Nations like Turkey, Russia, Iran, China, etc. aren’t turning away from america and coming together because they’re evil islamic communists who want to invade us, they realize we’re up shit creek without a paddle and don’t want us dragging them down with us.

Bail Organa Appreciation Post

It takes you to see Revenge of the Sith as a whole to see how a BAMF Bail Organa is. 


For 3 main reasons.

1 - He, along Mon, Padmé and other senators founded the Rebel Alliance. He even was the one who came with the idea! He was one of the first people who wouldn’t take any shit from Sheev and he continued to give Palpatine a lot of grief as a member of the Rebel Alliance and even more when he passed his mission to restore the Republic to his daugther.

2 - He helped Obi-Wan and Yoda when Order 66 was executed. He may had been discovered and even killed, but he didn’t care, he still helped the two Jedi to get out of the Sith and the tropers hands. And thanks to that, Obi-Wan and Yoda survived long enough to train Luke and left the Jedi legacy with him, so he could redone and restore it.

3 - He raised Leia, his friend Padmé’s daughter but also Darth Vader’s daughter IN FRONT OF VADER AND SHEEV’S NOSES and SUCCEEDED in hiding her true heritage. He and Breha are the people who shaped Leia into the awesome Queen of Queens we know and love. Leia’s strong sense of justice, belief in democracy, strong will, devotion to her cause as well her compassion and asistance to her allies no matter the risk were all given to her by Bail. So when Leia and the Rebel Alliance manage to overthrow the Empire and restore the Republic, she is restoring not only Padmé’s, but also Bail’s legacy. 

And that’s why Bail Prestor Organa is so important.