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I think it showed regular people how above it all these congressmen think they are. All the bickering and fighting, but not a thought as to how this affected those down in the real world.

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2 days ago

The overlying context of this issue is geopolitical wrangling between Russia and the European Union, and by extension, Washington. Either Ukraine ends up under Russia's thumb, or under the EU. But it should be noted that the EU here is simply acting as a proxy for Washington to essentially strip Ukraine from Russia and weaken and isolate Russia even more. So the geopolitical stakes are huge in this.

The Ukrainian government, allied with Russia, made a colossal blunder. It is the same blunder that Bashar Assad made at the onset of the protests in Syria--and that is to react with state violence, because that is exactly what the opposition was hoping and praying for: that they would lose their cool and give a red flag for the protesters to come out en mass. And that's precisely what has happened. Like in other instances of political passion, the protesters themselves many times are acting out of emotion, not out of reasoned logic in most cases. In Egypt the emotion was freedom, democracy--and that was manipulated by the backers of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi, et al., to bring the Brotherhood into power and discard the legitimate student democratic protests. Oftentimes, the opposition is worse than the current government, especially when it is born out of political turmoil.

In the case of Ukraine, the same networks that created the Orange Revolution back in 2003/04, namely the NED, Freedom House, and various other front organizations of the US State Department have been quite active in this protest and are trying to steer it and build it in a very professional, guided way. Another kind of color revolution, a redo of the original aborted one almost 10 years ago.

Like in other cases, this is a long-term geopolitical agenda, it's much bigger than Ukraine, it's much bigger than tens or hundreds of thousands of protesters on the street. It's part of a broader battle to secure control of energy-rich Eurasia and the pipeline networks that cris-cross it.

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6 days ago

I read somewhere that when adjusted for inflation, we still haven't recovered from the dot com bubble, so... count me as unimpressed.

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7 days ago

I don't think that the pope is opposing markets by equating it with the type of capitalism is he denouncing as unjust and immoral. Indeed, there are many different flavors of capitalism. He is pretty specifically opposing the contemporary neoliberal brand of "capitalism," as in financialized economies, overleveraged speculation, and the imbalances that it creates within the global economy.

Economic liberalism is the enemy of democracy whereby in such a system, workers have the political means to reap the benefits of the wealth that has been created. As a result, owners of capital have had to be creative in maintaining power by convincing workers to vote against their interests. Billions are spent in this endeavor, but it's a pittance compared with the ROI. The pope is essentially saying enough is enough. It is puzzling watching people call Francis a Marxist, especially given the effects that 70 years of atheistic communism had on the church, which Francis himself experienced.

The pope is in opposition to deifying markets in the sense of making them the sole or even chief arbiter of social, political and economic policy and outcomes. Markets are to serve people, rather than people, markets.

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8 days ago

Our economy is run by dicks... I'm glad someone had the sack to say it.

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