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Money , Politics, Religion

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If money does not make the world go around, it certainly moves it forward. Therefore, the greatest international threat over the next decade is the prolonged deflationary recession of debt laden developed nations. The threat comes from both the burden of debt itself, which subjects nations to undue influence by their creditors, as well as the potential for exploitation by every ilk of bottom feeder in existence wanting to seize upon the opportunity to advance their agenda during the economic maelstrom.

The susceptibility of nations to social volatility during a sustained period of economic downturn is perfectly illustrated by recent events in the United States. Social mood pushed the pendulum further left in 2007 than it had been since the late 1970s, then fully recaptured the period with an accelerated swing back to the right in less than two years. The speed of this mood swing is remarkable and accentuates the tumultuous double edged sword of pure capitalism during a prolonged economic downturn.

Additional capitalistic openness of US society puts us at risk in an economic downturn. Due to the lack of financial limits on total campaign funding and a free-for-all revolving door policy between regulatory agencies and industry, sponsorship bias exists for elected officials and industry favoritism for regulators. This is another example of the double edged sword of unadulterated capitalism since industry and special interests may not align with the Federal Republic in a prolonged economic downturn.

Exploitation of religiosity is of particular concern during periods of prolonged economic downturn. Religiosity in the United States is significantly greater than the vast majority of developed countries in the world, and when measured in  “number of people” it is greater than or equal to all of them combined.

A severe economic depression combined with natural disasters of a cyclical nature, like earthquakes and powerful solar storms capable of disrupting computers and communications, and other natural disasters stemming from global warming, such as flooding and drought, all of which are predicted by scientists over the near term, could produce a formula for apocalyptic fervor.

The term “scapegoat” stems from religion, both literally and etymologically. It is a favorite method of exploitation used by provocateurs for political change, gain, or disruption within a nation. It can quickly and easily turn into human rights abuse. Current scapegoats within the United States include Muslims, Gays, Indians (Asian), Hispanics and comedians.

A scapegoat can be externalized as well, for example a nation or movement will blame their downtrodden existence on a particular country, region, religion, government, culture, or race. For example, the United States is a popular scapegoat of Islamism and many other anti-capitalist movements throughout the world. The rhetoric of Islamism toward the “Great Satan”, which is primarily used to preside over their own, is in turn amplified as a threat and device for political gain by movements within the United States. A continued global downturn of developed nations could provoke an escalation of rhetoric on both sides and lead to armed conflict.

Continued economic malaise significantly amplifies the opportunity for exploitation by faith based radical movements both foreign and domestic, other anti-capitalist movements, nationalistic movements, and those who are only interested in exploiting the disrupting nature of changes wrought by movements for profiteering.

In a continued economic downturn, the potential exists for a movement to exploit previously moderate members of developed nations, who recently led comfortable lifestyles and feel that the rug was pulled from under them, and accumulate windfall support. This could dwarf plodding gains previously made of exploiting a narrow stratum and catapult an extremist movement to wield significant power overnight.

When the economies of developed countries stop moving forward, in a sense, the world does stop spinning. However, it is during these times that the ideological spin to capture your brain reaches a fever pitch. It is possible that a change in your economic status makes you vulnerable. The bottom feeders are vying for your brain. I am only trying to make it hurt with this article. Vote.

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About David Waggoner, CMT

  • Clavos

    The word “evil” sure gets overused these days…

  • Baronius

    Handy, I already addressed that question, and came up with a different answer than you accuse me of.

    “A good thing, Handy? I don’t know if I’d go quite that far. The right to political speech is a good thing. The relative goodness of a particular ad or campaign depends on whether or not it’s true.”

  • Well then, for someone who apparently prides himself on being moral, your principles in this case are remarkably twisted.

    Lying attack ads are evil, pure and simple. They do not accomplish any good in the world. They have made the electorate sour and cynical. They do not promote sound policy or ideas. Their only purpose is to “drive up the negatives” on one’s opponent.

  • Baronius

    “I wonder if Baronius’s stance would change if most of the anonymously funded attack ads were running on behalf of liberal Dems rather than conservative Republicans.”

    Honestly, Handy, I don’t know the stats one way or the other. Considering we’re talking about anonymous donors in the current campaign cycle, I’d be stunned if you knew the stats either. But I don’t care. It’s the principle of the thing.

  • The right to form a group, Baronius, or to communicate as a group, is not what is in question. What is in question, I should say, is the matter of equal protection.

    Is a group entitled to the same protection under the law, I’m talking strictly privacy now, mind you, as the individual?

  • Sorry for any confusion, but I meant organizations with the same tax status, not the same politics, as Rove’s Crossroads, which happens to have been in the news lately.

    I absolutely object to anonymous donations [and especially big ones] from liberals as well.

    I would also like to put the muzzle on attack ads and remove the distorting power of money from campaigns, but that is a separate issue. McCain/Feingold tried that, and, apparently, failed.

    The campaign finance/advertising laws in the UK seem more sensible than here [like a lot of things there, health care for instance]. No ads at all — people actually, you know, listen to speeches and read interviews and so forth. This year, they even added an “American-style” debate.

    Very little good, and much demonstrable harm, comes from our current method of funding and conducting political campaigns.

  • David Waggoner

    Bigotry and hatred have grown up in America. They used to hide behind masks and their tools of intimidation were lynchings and torches. Now they hide behind nonprofits who intimidate with rhetoric.

  • Handyguy, I was responding to your comment that The only anonymous donations are to organizations like Karl Rove’s various “Crossroads” entities, suggesting some conservative or Republican uniqueness.

    I would also like to know who is saying what. That’s why I post articles and comments under my own name, why where I live is posted on my BC writer’s page and why I provide additional information here.


  • I wonder if Baronius’s stance would change if most of the anonymously funded attack ads were running on behalf of liberal Dems rather than conservative Republicans.

    I don’t see how your position is defensible. Are you saying that individuals who give $2,000 to a candidate and corporations who give $20 million to a money-laundering “grassroots citizens’ committee” are doing basically the same thing and should have the same accountability or lack thereof?

    [Only currently, the individual has to reveal his name, and the corporation does not.]

  • Dan (Miller), although you rarely make a comment that is not steeped in snark [once in a long while you are even amusing], I will answer you straight:

    I don’t want to silence people. I want them to be open about who is contributing money. I wouldn’t be surprised if you perhaps even agree with me. It’s hard to tell where you stand sometimes, because you issue your sardonic/ironic zaps and then quickly exit. Little actual communication ensues.

  • “I don’t see why there should be a distinction between the right to communicate as an individual and the right to assemble a group of Chinese gov’t officials, to help you communicate. As long as you support the free market.

  • The Law is my king! I shall not want (to think for myself). I know the law is made so the world will be a fair place for everyone, especially if they are rich, white, and male.

    People who object to The Law are usually evil or criminal or some other nasty thing. Just remember this handy slogan the next time you get confused and think some law or other might be wrong:

    “Choosy people choose The Law.”

  • Yes handy,

    Acorn should start soliciting contributions from the Chinese gov’t. and put the money toward attack ads. No one is stopping them from taking advantage of their rights, that is what we have loopholes…er…laws for.

  • The only anonymous donations are to organizations like Karl Rove’s various “Crossroads” entities.

    Uh, according to right wing ABC News,

    An ABC News review of Internal Revenue Service records finds that the Chamber is one of at least 90,908 nonprofit groups that enjoyed the same political campaigning and financial disclosure privileges in fiscal year 2009.

    Under the 501(C)(6) section of the tax code, “leagues, chambers of commerce, and real estate boards” that promote a “common business interest” can register with IRS for tax exempt status and engage in political campaigning relatively unrestricted so long as it’s not their primary activity.

    They must all be silenced! Immediately. Such is the word of your king.


  • Baronius

    Handy – You’re right that I’m talking about loosening the laws at a time when others want them tightened.

    Roger – I don’t see why there should be a distinction between the right to communicate as an individual and the right to assemble and communicate as a group.

  • The anonymity allowed under current law doesn’t cover Baronius’s hypothetical anyway. Anyone who has ever donated to a candidate in a federal election [in the last 30 years anyway] has had to reveal their name. [Rules on other elections vary by state.]

    The only anonymous donations are to organizations like Karl Rove’s various “Crossroads” entities.

    Anonymous donations of $100,000 or a million or 10 million [or more] are allowed to those types of tax-exempt groups.

    Pretending that this is about the privacy of individuals is, you will pardon the expression, disingenuous.

    If someone is harassed because of their political contributions, and the harassment rises to a certain level, the persons involved can sue or seek police protection. Did the Prop 8 protests reach the point of criminal mischief? If not, they are protected by free speech rights.

    I haven’t heard that the current requirement for campaigns to record donors’ names has led to widespread harassment or problems. No one is calling for this law to be changed [except maybe Baronius]. We’re talking about closing the loophole that allows money-laundering donations by big donors.

  • Are the beneficiaries of so-called independent contributors to pro-conservative and pro-business causes pose such a menace to liberals so as to warrant protection under the guise of the right to privacy? The American people are divided but I don’t think we’ve reached such a point yet. Unfair analogy, I should say.

    Besides, it is you who seem to be evading the all-relevant distinction between the individual’s right to privacy and protection under the auspices of free political “speech” and similar right/s claimed on behalf of a collective, such as unions or lobbying groups or PACs whose sole purpose is to serve as a smokescreen for mega-corporations.

    It’s still a democratic and an open society, And the public right to know and the right to full disclosure must trump the right to protection of “political speech” when that right is claimed on behalf of a collectivity,

  • Baronius

    No one’s addressed my comments about Prop 8.

    Let’s switch the story a little. Say there was a proposition in Arizona that would repeal the state’s anti-immigration law. Say you contributed to its supporters. Say someone posted your name and address on the internet, and Minutemen started protesting outside your business. Would that be right?

  • All in the name of protecting the individual’s rights to privacy.

  • Almost any sensible person, left or right, would support the same rules applying to ‘issue groups’ and to labor unions.

    Maddow cited a Bloomberg poll last night that found 84% agreeing that campaign donations should not be allowed to be anonymous.

  • Individual donors to campaigns do have to disclose their identity.

    Corporations [and wealthy individuals] can contribute unlimited amounts to certain types of ‘nonprofit’ ‘issue-oriented’ groups and remain anonymous.

    As Rachel Maddow has pointed out, there is another term for pouring money through an anonymizing front group to hide its source:

    Money laundering.

  • More fun than a barrel of lawyers!

    Ah, but then again, what isn’t? 😉

  • Cindy, posting under another name! Must be fun!


  • But mom!!! The unions do it too!

    I want you both to keep your hands to yourselves.

    (grow up! or better yet, step aside time for a new paradigm…)

  • Obviously, the unions better start making some contributions and airing some ads. Alas, they are above that sort of thing. Purity is the curse of the working class!

    Oh? They already do? Well I stick to my analysis.


  • Baronius: Mega-corps playing the system to divert billions into paying politicians for favors is exactly the same as an individual voting in a private booth. Besides, all the billions that are funneling in are being used for stuff that doesn’t work.

    Give me a break.

    That Baronius (and by extension, others) can be so absurd makes me wish for neural implant.

  • Baronius’s principle of protecting the privacy of the individual via the concept of secret ballot and all such might make sense in a perfect world, a world in which the electoral process is not stained with big money. In the real world, his principle needs to be offset by another principle, the public right to know.

    Besides, his argument is flawed by what is called a “category mistake,” in this instance, the mistake of conflating the privacy of the individual with the privacy of a group, a clique, or a faction. In effect, therefore, his argument is an argument on behalf of secret societies – not exactly in keeping with the spirit of a democratic form of government.

  • Baronius

    I’m being completely ingenuous. I believe what I wrote, and I’m not crazy about you saying I don’t.

    Why should a campaign contributor be required to disclose his identity? We’re allowed to speak in public or in private on a candidate’s behalf without giving our names. This country has a tradition of political speech under pseudonyms. I’m guessing that your parents didn’t name you Handyguy, and my (first) name is more common than Baronius.

    Anonymous political contributions are analagous to secret ballots. Surely you don’t oppose the privacy of the voting booth.

    On a practical note, we’ve seen the harassment of supporters of Proposition 8 in California. Disclosure of their names has affected their livelihoods in some cases. How does that serve free speech or the election process?

  • One more thing: attack ads are often as not circulated on the web now. And in a high-spending, nasty race like the Connecticut Senate campaign going on now, TV viewers are simply bombarded: 5 or 10 times in a 1-hour prime time show.

  • You’re being completely disingenuous. 30 second attack ads work. That’s why campaigns use them, and that really is what most of the money will be used for.

    “Political speech” has to mean more than that — it’s such a degraded form. And with the rampant lying and exaggerations on the web and on cable news, there’s precious little undegraded political speech left.

    I hope you at least agree that donors shouldn’t be allowed to be anonymous.

    This is separate from the other problem of campaign fundraising: from the time a politician is elected, he must immediately begin begging for money for the next cycle. When that money is readily available from lobbyists and ‘special interests,’ distortion if not corruption results. “Freedom” and “democracy” that are dependent on that pernicious cycle are bound to be damaged if not destroyed.

  • Baronius

    A good thing, Handy? I don’t know if I’d go quite that far. The right to political speech is a good thing. The relative goodness of a particular ad or campaign depends on whether or not it’s true. I don’t believe that money ruins the process.

    Anyway, political advertising on TV is doomed to be as irrelevant as any other TV advertising. If campaigns want to pour money into 30-second spots that everyone fast-forwards past (if they watch TV at all), that just shows how out of touch they are. In another twenty years, when all communication takes place through neural implants, this won’t even be an issue.

  • David Waggoner

    RE: Religion

    The article does not say we were drifting toward religious violence, it talks of exploitation of religion. It does say an escalation to armed conflict is possible.

    Religious exploitation is already rampant in current politics: “Obama is Muslim”; “Man was created in God’s image, homosexuality is a societal induced personality disorder”; “Dearborn Michigan is under Sharia law” etc., etc., ad nauseam.

    I do believe that If the economy worsens so will scope of exploitation.

    Campaign contributions:

    I will stick with my analogy of a double edged sword over a “chicken-and-egg thing”.



  • Campaign money is used almost entirely for 30-second attack ads.

    This is not a form of communication that actually makes the world a better place or provides anyone anywhere with genuinely useful information. Those ads [all parties, both sides] are just about entirely destructive vehicles designed to discourage people from actually thinking or forming meaningful, fact-based opinions.

    Add to that the large number of anonymous donors [larger than ever this year], and you have a very unpalatable brew. I’m surprised anyone would defend this as a good thing.

  • Baronius

    I should have said that better. I was thinking of something like “a catastrophe of zeal”, but that wasn’t quite coherent. The article does, as you say, suggest a danger in religiosity, but it doesn’t back it up with any reasons for alarm. I don’t think we’re seeing any signs that discontent is drifting toward religious violence in the US.

    I’m sure you don’t think that you’re using campaign finance as a scapegoat, but where’s the evidence that it’s a source of corruption? There’s a chicken-and-egg thing here. A congressman isn’t going to vote for the environment because of Sierra Club money. He’s going to get Sierra Club money because he votes for the environment.

  • David Waggoner


    The history of campaign reform is one of thrust and parry. BCRA was promising, but now support is wide open again with unlimited “free speech”.

    RE: Money

    Money is not a scapegoat or even a problem. Conversely, the absence of money is our current problem.

    Unfettered industry sponsorship of politicians in this country is a problem. Unchecked abuses by industry in the attainment of money is a problem.

    Abuses of unchecked capitalism and tainted politicians facilitating a vicious boom and bust cycle is a problem.

    RE: Religion

    The article does not predict doom. It mentions natural disasters could cultivate religious beliefs to perceive doom. It also suggests religiosity will be exploited if the economy worsens.


  • zingzing

    well, baronius, your religion predicts doom as well, and doesn’t base it on any trends or evidence, but on some strange hallucination some guy had. so does religion scapegoat existence?

  • Baronius

    I should have mentioned the two scapegoats of this article, money and religion.

    With regard to money, the article mentions campaign donations. Are they such a bad thing? We haven’t had restrictions on campaign budgets for most of our history, and I don’t see any sign that campaign finance reform has improved our country. The most recent Supreme Court decision on campaign finance didn’t set any precedents, and we haven’t had an election since it was written, but people on the left are making it out to be a game-changer. That’s a scapegoat.

    The article mentions the number of religious people in the US, then predicts doom. It doesn’t base that prediction on any trends or evidence. Again, that’s scapegoating.

  • David Waggoner

    Larry – This is a “drive the money lenders out of the temple” thing, right? I don’t think I could write about it as eloquently as you do.

  • zingzing

    “Oh, and “activist” judges.”


  • zingzing

    “Big Insurance,”

    deserve it.


    deserve it.


    deserve it.

    “Fox News,”

    deserve it.

    “Ayn Rand followers,”

    eh? who cares?

    “and every white person south of the Mason/Dixon line.”

    oh come on, that’s ridiculous. i know plenty of white dems down there. so they’re not all bad, obviously.

    “the liberal media,”

    if they are liberal, rather than just not conservative enough for the wingnuts, they should be more objective, and therefore deserve it. daily show doesn’t count.

    “illegal immigrants,”

    they should have come over legally, but the real scapegoat here is the “mexican” of all nationalities and legal statuses, who don’t deserve it.


    deserve it. sigh.

    “and teacher’s unions.”

    teachers? we don’t need no stinking teachers! i am a bit rusty on my long division, but hell, if i don’t never use it, my kids won’t neither.

  • Doug Hunter

    Has there ever been a society of any significant numbers that didn’t naturally form into some sort of Pyramid type social structure?

  • Arch ConscienceStain

    Current scapegoats in the United States include Big Insurance, Diebold, Blackwater, Fox News, Ayn Rand followers, and every white person south of the Mason/Dixon line.

    You forgot the liberal media, illegal immigrants, democrats, and teacher’s unions.

    Oh, and “activist” judges.

  • Baronius

    Current scapegoats in the United States include Big Insurance, Diebold, Blackwater, Fox News, Ayn Rand followers, and every white person south of the Mason/Dixon line.

  • Wingnut


    Will you write about pyramid schemes?

    Author, you DO see the pyramid scheme symbol on the back of the USA one dollar bill, right? You DO see the servitude infestation in capitalism, right? And do you see the “pay up or lose your wellbeing” Chicago mob-like felony extortion widespread within capitalism? Do you see the “join or starve” felony extortion done to the 18 year olds… by this ugly competer’s church called capitalism? See how forcing competer’s religions onto 18 year olds… kills membership in the cooperator’s church (Christianity/socialism)?? Do you understand that AmWay (American Way) (New World Order) got “the exclusive” (legal tender) on the TYPE of survival coupons (money) accepted in supply depots (stores) and leverages 18 year olds into the organization via that felony activity as well? (It puts AmWay-coupon slaving requirements called price tags… on all the survival goods). Do you understand how farmyard pyramids work… from your childhood?? Remember?? Upper 1/3 are “heads in the clouds” while the kids on the bottom ALWAYS GET HURT from the weight of the world’s knees in their backs? Still with me? Do you see anything illegal, immoral, or just plain sick… in any of this pyramid scheme’s activities?

    Us American Christian socialists are still patiently awaiting the natural fall of the pyramid-o-servitude, or the busting of the free marketeers felony… by the USA Dept of Justice. Us Christians are VERY CLOSE to issuing a cease and desist order until the servitude and inequality goes away… which means it turns into a commune. Commune is a word we LOVE when used in the word “community”… but its one the caps HATE when used in the term “commune-ism”. Go fig. PROGRAMMED!!

    Do a Google IMAGE SEARCH for ‘pyramid of capitalist’ to see a full color picture made way back in 1911, when capitalism was first discovered to be a con/sham instigated by the Free Masons/Illuminati. Folks sure bought into the thing… hook, line, and sinker just the same. The caps didn’t even check if a string was attached! Now THAT’S easy fishing, eh?

    Time to level the felony pyramid scheme called capitalism. Abolish economies and ownershipism worldwide, and hurry. Economies just cause rat-racing, and rat-racing causes felony pyramiding. BUST IT, America! Look to the USA military supply/survival system… (and the USA public library system) for socialism and morals done right. Equal, owner-less, money-less, bill-less, timecard-less, and concerned with growth of value-criteria OTHER THAN money-value. Quit doing monetary discrimination immediately, and make it illegal. There are MANY measurement criteria of “value”… not just dollars. Try morals, efficiency, discrimination-levels, repairability, etc etc. Economies are cancerous tumors, and to cheer for their growth… is just insane. Profiting causes inflation, so if caps LIKE inflation, and if they LIKE a terrible time in afterlife when they meet the planet’s ORIGINAL OWNER before caps tried to squat it all with ownershipism, then keep it up with the felony pyramiding. I dare you. While us Christians are finally bulldozing that pyramid scheme back to level, lets make servitude and “join or starve” (get a job or die) illegal in the USA, and lets level the architecture seen in USA courtrooms, too. Right now, USA courtrooms are church simulators or “fear chambers”, by special design. Sick.

    Isn’t that back-of-the-dollar pyramid… a Columbian freemason symbol? And WHERE is the USA gov located? District of Columbia? (Not even part of the USA!) How much more blatant can ya get? The “Fed” runs a pyramid scheme called the free marketeers. If you’re using the “federal reserve note” certificates, or using no-other-living-thing-on-the-planet entitles of ownership, you’re bought into a servitude/slavery con/sham… called capitalism. Pyramiding 101.

    Larry “Wingnut” Wendlandt
    MaStars – Mothers Against Stuff That Ain’t Right
    Bessemer MI USA