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When Roger Stone turns on Trump, you know the "Big Guy" is in trouble. But these recordings also graphically show how insanely corrupt all these cretins are. And stupid, too, not to think they were being recorded or the recordings would ever be made public. Let's hope that Stone and Gaetz will finally find their way to prison, where they belong.

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Jul 31, 2022·edited Jul 31, 2022

Michael, these are men who have operated outside the rule of law, successfully, for their entire adult lives.

While we gasp at Dr. Richardson’s well written reveal, the behavior she captures is exceedingly common among white men in America.

I worked in three American corporations and was promoted into “management” around age 34. As I gained access to more and more “upper” level meetings I grew ever more horrified at the meeting conversations. Not only were the meetings not about leading the company to new products, they were often similar to middle school girl talk - mean gossip.

However, the talk sometimes included lawyers that provided advice on how to shaft employees legally. Hard working, dedicated employees.

When the talk turned to a massive layoff that was caused by poor management decisions not employee work I resigned. It felt criminal to me but to the white men in the room?

Those guys were willing to do anything and screw anybody to keep their bonuses coming.

And. They did. Screw the employees.

That company? Eastman Kodak Company. Now gone.

White men have been culturally normed to feel empowered to screw anyone, anytime without consequences. Especially those from the upper class, private, white schools like Harvard.

Hence: The existence of Matt Goetz.

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Given the stature of Kodak in my youth (much of the work I did had a technical photography component) and the company's marketing power, I was surprised that the company could not adequately keep up with the emerging technologies. It's probably complicated, but I get the sense that those who control large organizations become too focused on just milking the cash cow. Graphic interface windows and the mouse was Doug Englebart's work at Stanford Research Institute, and Xerox, but only Apple and then Microsoft saw the potential. I think that the self-serving internal politics of so many sorts of organizations (including government) is their Achilles' Heel.

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Jul 31, 2022·edited Jul 31, 2022

It certainly appears that way. I was dumbfounded when Kodak closed their doors. Kodak to film/cameras was like Kleenex to tissues! Selfish white men only thinking of themselves and losing site of the big picture. I believe they realize the error of their ways and are now panicking that women will step in and not simply fill their shoes… but their suits as well! One reason, I’m assuming, is why there is so much misogyny in our culture today.

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Spot on Sharon. The primary colors saturated Big Picture circa the 1950's.

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Most of Kodak's profits were derived from sales of Film, Photographic Paper and the chemicals used to create prints from negatives. Essentially all of their manufacturing and marketing capabilities were totally focussed on enabling the company to be the dominant player in these lines of business. Investing aggressively in digital imaging technologies would have had the effect of reducing their profits and their ROI. Kodak was put into a lose/lose situation by "Creative Destruction"

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Ed Even in Kodak’s core business, Fuji began eating Kodak’s lunch. Kodak arrogantly ignored digital (remember Hollywood; ‘Who would ever watch talking movies?’). Kodak underwent at least 5 major restructurings, none of which avoided destruction. In lilly-white Rochester, Kodak’s treatment of Blacks was abysmal.

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True, but they might have developed a better shot at sustainability with some plan other than to keep selling cocktails on a ship that is sinking. I know that Kodak did enter the digital market, but it seemed like "me too".

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This is a well-known management structure "flaw" that I actually see as an unavoidable blessing. It's basically corporate senescence: old-age, followed by death. A corporate "circle of life."

The management structure breakdown you describe is just one of the ways the corporate arteries harden and the corporation starts to lose its mind and start dying. To be replaced by the next generation of businesses.

I've been thinking that this is a reasonable metaphor for the United States right now.

There is a pathetically decrepit quality to the Jan 6 coup. The US Revolution and the US Civil War were both physical debates over what was to become of the "endless opportunity" of this "new" land, with opposed, but strong, well-articulated visions. The Jan 6 coup was a toothless struggle over scraps in a land of declining resources and ruinous climate change. The soldiers were few, and they were all fall-guys in a feint -- the object was not to take the chambers, only to disrupt/delay the proceedings -- fools deceived by ignorant fantasies, set up by a cabal of shrunken, shifty-eyed trolls whose ONLY goal was to hold The Precious for one more term while doing nothing about the impending collapse of technological civilization. Unlike Tolkein's fictional Great Ring of Power, however, the Office of President does not confer immortality. It was a greedy power-grab by dying old men, supported by enthralled lickspittles.

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Well said. I think often of those "declining resources" and the "ruinous climate change." Where in this country would anyone want to relocate, given what has taken place here due to those "greedy power-grab" types. To the coasts - in anticipation of rising oceans and hurricanes or earthquakes? To the mountains - in anticipation of massive forest fires? To the flatlands - in anticipation of flooding? To the midwest or the southwest or the southeast- to drought, to excessive heat, excessive cold, to tornadoes and massive storms? We have so very little time left to save what remains. I just hope enough of us realize that sad fact to actually show up in November and get rid of some of those "shifty-eyed trolls."

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No question that you are right, but those junk-yard dogs who mounted this toothless struggle don't know they're toothless and very often they do the most serious and lasting damage of all because--why not?

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That makes me feel truly sorry - for the too-often underfed & underloved pooches

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I agree, Deb. And, in some way, I can look at their human equivalents and feel that same sadness. But both with humans and with those underlined dogs I am a fool and do no good if I hold out a hand full of food believing they will take it and leave my hand intact. There is a point, I think, when we/they are so badly damaged that we lose our humanity. It is that absence of humanity that frightens me the most in this current crop of Republicans. I have no idea how to deal with them but I'm convinced it isn't by walking into the arena with all my vulnerability and idealism as my banner. I've got a long history of doing that. It hasn't worked yet.. I'm working on a Plan B and meanwhile I'm not bringing home any strays. Thanks for your comment. It got me thinking.

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Lovely. And I thought I was the only one who felt Mordor breathing down our necks recently!

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so we'll said!!!

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They are laser-focused on the image in their mirror

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It reminds me of a story a friend told about buying a motorcycle. He was, on a whim, looking to buy a Harley (he was a sport-bike guy) and did a lot of motorcycle travel; very safety and gear conscious. The bike was advertised as "low mileage and pristine condition." He got on the bike, and noticed that the rear view mirrors were not aimed at traffic, but right at him. He asked about it (he was similar height and build to the owner), and got the reply that the owner needed to "see how he looked on his Harley" rather than to what traffic behind him was doing. (My motorcycle training and experience emphasized there are 3 times the number of divided attention tasks performed while riding a motorcycle vs. driving a car, and we had 2/3 of the rear vision utilized on the motorcycle vs. the car. Thus, the two rear view mirrors must do more for us that the three in a car do.

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Too funny.

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Their universe.

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Enlightening!

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JL

The real problem at Kodak was a bias to hiring and promoting relatives. As a PhD I was one of those hired for credentials and experience.

It was at Kodak where I came to understand real affirmative action based on non competitive hiring, in America, is for white people, mostly men.

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It was not "Apple'"; it was Steve Jobs pre-Apple. I will lbe nice and call Steve an "Early Adapter". Also. Palo Alto-Mountain View had an informal network of talented & driven cliques who exchanged solutions. The Vibe is still there & has expanded from SF to San Jose. Also, attracts the "FAKE-IT-TO-YOU-MAKE-IT Operators. Many, never make anything.

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"they were often similar to middle school girl talk - mean gossip."

Or maybe they were just representative of how rich white men behave. No need for the sexist cliché about "middle school girl talk."

White men. Far and away they do more staggering damage to this world than any other demographic. Let's start shouting that from the rooftops.

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Why is "mean girl" talk the default for asshattery?

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Good question Ally.

I used that term for two reasons.

1. Everyone has a mental model that can process that phrase as negative. For better or worse.

2. My daughter was mercilessly tortured in her public middle school by other girls. I can tell you stuff that was said that would turn your hair white and make you consider murder as a solution option.

Not that I availed myself of that option just fyi.

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Yes, I know exactly what you mean and exactly how you felt. It is horrifying.

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Aug 13, 2022·edited Aug 13, 2022

I was mercilessly tortured in middle school by girls AND boys. Boys can be horrible too. And they often are. The term "mean girls" lets them off the hook.

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You are so right about that. My middle daughter and her friends were taunted by some of the boys as "the losers". Ugh. Junior High is the worst and what I can see of the Republicans right now is Junior High revisited big time. Ugh. Ugh. and again Ugh!

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All of us work from our existing mental vocabulary, based on experience which may already be as obsolete as dinosaur bones.

When I was young and forming those now-obsolete experiences, girl-violence was mostly verbal, and only occasionally became physical. Boy-violence was primarily physical. Verbal girl-violence was aimed at character assassination, and was a direct route to harm. Verbal boy-violence was aimed at provoking physical violence.

So to me, "mean-girl" and "bully-boy" mean something common, but "bully-girl" and "mean-boy" mean something entirely different and far less common.

I would not know if that has changed. My grand-kids might be able to tell me.

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Interesting perspective Joseph

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Yes, why is that ….

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“You can touch them and grab em by the Pussy…” if you’re a white man with power.

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I was appalled when most people heard that and reacted that all men talk like that to one another. I had 7 brothers. I didn't hear anything like that in or out of our houses.

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Me neither. I had 9 brothers!

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If I had heard that at home with my brother, my dad would have grounded him for life. My minister grandfather would have done the same. Identical reaction if I knew my 2 sons said any thing like that.

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These "pussy grabbers" have to go.

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Actually, having had three daughters and listening to their conversations, I think the metaphor was apt. Adolescent girls can be vicious. Not all of them for sure, but it's not the best of times. The good news is that most grow out of it. The bad news is that the white males described here kept it going into what passes for "adulthood." It is a sickening thought.

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Well, I'd argue these men started out as "mean boys." Yet we never use that term.

KIDS can be vicious. There's a bitter misogyny in the term "mean girls."

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"what passes for adulthood"

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I taught school for 35 years. I don't know why they always use middle school girls. The boys were just as bad, but louder. Bullying, gossip, telling false statements on others, and just plain being mean.

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I am constantly reminded of the German sculpture featuring various torsos of business and political leaders up to their necks in water due to climate warming — with nary a plan in sight!

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Agree

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Yikes.

About all I think of when Eastman Kodak is mentioned is that summer's cross-country road trip, when my little girl swam in a river in TN (with many other local children) while we were waiting for an old friend to get off work. A few months later, reading in my National Parks magazine, that river was mentioned as Highly Polluted by Eastman Kodak. Certainly not fit for any being to swim in it!

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Jul 31, 2022·edited Jul 31, 2022

I remember a conversation with my brother-in-law, a high-flying ATT exec, about their pollution of the James River in VA, late 60’s I think. When he saw no problem, I saw him as THE problem. Never had an iota of respect for him after, although he was a repub do-gooder for his own ilk.

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G.E. Too. Don't get me started on Jack Welch, "Manager of the Century." https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/05/briefing/jack-welch-david-gelles.html

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My cousin worked for Kodak and then GE. I always loved him and thought he was such a great guy… 8 years older than me. A few years ago we visited …he was a great joke teller ( being in sales ). It wasn’t until then ( when I was an adult woman) that I was struck by his jokes and his casual comments calling women cunts that I realized, he’s one of those misogynistic white men! Broke my heart. My husband left the room in disgust ❤️… which my cousin noticed and toned his rhetoric down.

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Jack Welch led the effort to maximize bonus while screwing capable Americans by offshoring.

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Noam Chomsky and Robert Reich both explain very well many of the phenomena of the progression from the post war era to the 80's and on.

Requiem for the American Dream https://youtu.be/hZnuc-Fv_Tc

Inequality for All https://youtu.be/zvAFPHLFMa0

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Thank you Michael for the link to "Inequality For All". It's an important piece of information. I watched it and have shared it to most of my FB groups. I think we need to make people aware of where we might be headed.

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For some insight as to corporations' influence on the economy, please read this Thom Hartmann Report essay: https://hartmannreport.com/p/unequal-wealth?utm_source=email

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Aug 1, 2022·edited Aug 1, 2022

Barbara, thanks for that.

Alongside Hartmann's take on feudalism and the oppression of the many by the few owners of wealth and power, there is an added aspect which did not apply so much in earlier centuries of feudalism due to limits of available technologies. That is the means the owners of wealth and power now dispose of to further anesthetize the masses; namely, media in all their forms, which they control.

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Welch, a graduate of U. Mass. (Amherst), was beatified after his death: https://www.umass.edu/magazine/spring-2020/welch

I had already heard stories about the behavior of GE under his tutelage, when many corporations were bragging about becoming "nimble". No further comment.

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OMG! I had to get the definition for "beatified", and I'm agast!

Beatification” is the step right before sainthood. By beatifying someone, the Church proclaims that the person in question is a) definitely in Heaven, and b) definitely able to plead to God on your behalf if you pray to him. (This is theoretically true for any other Christians in Heaven, too.Apr 26, 2011

I wonder if THE inflatable, (no. Spell Check, no!) infallible church (according to itself!) asked God what he thought about it first? Of all the gaul!

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Addendum: as the article at the link above states, Welch contributed a lot of $$ to U.Mass. Similarly, the Koch brothers, Charles and David, contributed a lot of $$ to MIT and other worthy causes. As far as I'm concerned, whatever good these contributions do, they don't wipe out the evil and damage caused by these people. (I'm a retired U.Mass. faculty member. David Koch was in my graduating class at MIT , and the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski was a classmate at U. Mich.; I didn't know either Koch or Kaczynski personally. I seem to have associated with a lot of nefarious types over the years, but at a distance. )

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I know the type...

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I didn't know that but I'm not surprised, though my estimation of Eastman Kodak is taking more hits. That tends to happen when I discover the details of any large company. The "surprising" yet not uncommon thing is that they could get away serious, ongoing pollution. The exclusionary "love of money" is public enemy #1.

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I agree, I suspect that it is the fault of the Business Schools at the University level. I doubt that they teach or include much in the way of ethics anymore. I think this started with The Chicago School of Business that started teaching that the only duty of a Corporation and it's Management is to the profits to the stockholders and bonuses for themselves of Course! Before that, there was an understanding that a Corporation and a Corporate leader had an obligation to society as a whole, also. You used to have to be of good character to be hired. Didn't Trump attend the Wharton School of Business? Fine example of the newer breed of business leaders!

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Jul 31, 2022·edited Jul 31, 2022

Your comment reminds me of when the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire. Many corporations used it as an open sewer. Here's a good article from 2019 about the history of that river and how is is faring today. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/cuyahoga-river-caught-fire-least-dozen-times-no-one-cared-until-1969-180972444/

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EK never cared on whit about the River they dumped all chemicals into that Fed into Lake Ontario.

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Indeed. I was an editor at HBR. Before I left in '09 I ran a series of blogs about the lack of ethics in management that led to the '08 collapse.

'Twas ever thus.

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Jul 31, 2022·edited Jul 31, 2022

Bronwyn When I was a MIT Sloan Fellow (1971-1972), despite an intense 12-month schedule (including thesis), two of us went to the dean to request an additional spring semester course related to corporate (and societal) ethics. After some initial resistance, two courses on Power and Responsibility were created and over 30 of 45 Sloan Fellows enrolled. This course continues 50 years later.

I believe that this was the first course in ethics provided in an American business school—certainly light years ahead of Harvard Business School.

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Keith, you never cease to amaze me !

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Kathy My ethics-seeking buddy and I had developed sharp institutional elbows. We knew that the dean would reject our ethics course suggestion—-too heavy a course load, impossible to get a professor at this late date. We had already lined up the MIT Provost—a forward-looking guy who had been president of a major public university before the baddies forced him out.

When we said that Provost Hollohan (who the dean detested) was ready to conduct Power and Responsibility from his home, the dean found a philosophy professor who led a second P & R course. Remember that Arab proverb; “Never mind his eyes, my dear, watch his hands.”

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So completely agree, Kathy!

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I have only superficially read bits of Milton Friedman, but he seemed to posit business as an ethics-free zone, and made pointed mention of the word "fair" never appearing in the Constitution (which does however, speak of establishing justice, which seems to me to be closely related). It seems that were a corporation considered to be a person, we would be speaking of a sociopath.

If, however, the rules of our society are the prerogative of the aggregated governed, then the rules of commerce are no more than a subset of whatever "the People" decide is just.

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I may steal your last sentence

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Good for you. What useful and necessary courses to have developed!

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Related but also appalling... My former cousin-in-law was a Harvard B school student in the mid- 1980's. In his last year I asked him what business he was going to go into... he said it the product/field didn't matter. I was shocked. No difference between publishing and textiles and agriculture and oil and finance? It's part of the rot. They all think its the same and we as consumers suffer as they gobble up smaller niche companies.

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Annamarie. Absolutely on point! This is why hospitals are in such a mess! The business school execs gobble up the small community hospitals and become mega systems where those who actually provide care are nothing more than a line item on a spreadsheet. An expense to be trimmed.

This nurse went 3 years with a 1% raise while the C suite pigs raked in huge bonuses. Two community hospitals in the system closed because they weren't profitable. Ill and injured people now have to drive 45 minutes for care.

The nursing shortage? How long could the average person survive in current hospital working conditions? Twelve hours of running at a steady trot, making life and death interventions. No break to eat or pee. Nurses required to handle more and sicker patients. Wearing garbage bags as personal protective equipment because the real gowns cost too much.

The essence of nursing, LISTENING and CARING, has been stripped away in favor of the widget manufacturing model. How many units per hour can a nurse produce?

We are heartsick and leaving in droves.

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Understandable and a huge loss to everyone.

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Cheryl, the stories I could tell after working 40 years in the lab of several Chgo area major medical complexes!! Way too lengthy to get into here, but I'm sure we'd have many common experiences!

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I'm sure! Short staffed and everything is STAT. JCAHO and state surveyors. 24 hour coverage. Christmases and Easters away from family.

One of my dearest friends is a tech in micro and people call for results before the specimen is even plated. She left the hospital for a position in a research lab. The mass exodus of skilled healthcare workers is real.

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I was a geriatrics nurse for 42 years. Fortunately, I ended up @ a highly respected county nursing home for the last 35 years of my career. It wasn't nearly as bad as the hospital paradigm. What has been making hospital work even more difficult is that Catholic hospital chains have been enforcing their religious principles on the hospitals they take over. My sister is a Labor & Delivery nurse. Her hospital was sold to a Catholic chain. From what she's said, the L & D dep't is no longer an official part of the hospital and their rules prevent controversial procedures being done.

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Same battle here in Seattle. Seattle Pacific U (Catholic) is suing our State AG because he responded to employee reports of discrimination against LGBTQ relationships (not allowed at SPU for employees)

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You are describing the fate of all workers at this date: widgets — always replaceable with cheaper (less qualified) labor. Remember once upon a time when many professions were considered “callings”?

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One of the callings was for teaching. The "Conservatives" have decided that teachers are widgets and interchangeable. They've been trying to kill public education and have been working hard @ it in Republican legislatures across the country. For some insight, please read: https://www.salon.com/2022/07/12/we-dont-need-no-education-now-arizona-says-teachers-dont-require-college-degrees/?fbclid=IwAR0Cm_0CBj7bZOTTQBAxOT_a200mdOHN8xm2hMMw_sNO4LW9WD0klr58b2Q

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Annamarie Harvard Business School was devoted to business case studies. Over the years I read a number of these. My recollection is that they focused on financial/marketing/product strategies. Employees were considered widgets rather than human beings. I don’t recall, years ago, reading a single HBS case study that even touched on ethical issues.

A number of HBS graduates flocked to McKinsey & Company. In the past three years McKinsey, a management consulting company, has been embroiled in massive ethics scandals ranging from the Guptas in South Africa and the deadly Sachler opioid scandal to other double dipping.

It appears that when McKinsey must obtain $10 billion in revenue annually, ethics are not an impediment.

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We must do better.

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And t’ever will be.

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Problems with ethics in trade probably go back to the stone age, but some trades are considered fair by mutual intention. A lot of work went into taming Gilded Age "Robber Barons" and immunizing against a repeat of the "Great Depression", and I think that for much of the 20th Century, there was more, even if uneven, demand for business ethics, and more legal inhibitors to the kinds of risks that converged to precipitate the '08 crash.

Also, I recall a chart in the NYT contrasting the government's response to the "Savings and Loan" collapse (let alone the "Great Depression", with '08, which involved far less investigation, correction, and prosecution than the scale of damage to the public and irresponsible behavior on the part of financial firms in the recent event seemed to warrant. The more hands-off, laissez faire approach seems both more unwise and more extreme than in the mid 20th Century, or so it appears to me from afar.

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My own brief experience in corporate America highlights how right on your assessment is. I was recruited by a top 50 corporation out of an “ Alternatives Careers” program at an Ivy at age 45. I'd had 20 years experience in academia, but retrenchment put me out of a job. I retooled to enter the non academic workplace. I faced (and failed) all the tests set up to determine if I qualified for any place on the ladder. The first was to write up everything that was wrong with the work of an employee I managed so she could be fired. There was nothing wrong with her work. “Find something” I was told. I couldn't. Grade: F. Several more tests came my way, and my failure on those ( lying, fudging numbers, participating in bribery of a public official) led to a transfer out of corporate headquarters. In the next division, I’d be given a job and when it was 3/4 finished, I’d be assigned something else and told to turn over my work to someone else. I'd get an 'incomplete' on that project in my evaluation. Took me three years to figure out I was screwed from the day I refused to screw the kid who worked for me. I quit and went back to academe. What a lesson learned. Not sure I'd ever have really understood how insidious the corruption in these organizations is had I not spent time in one.

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Holy sh*t Carolyn. You should be working for the FTC as a plant to find corporate corruption. But I do have to say that your experience is a perfect example of tokenism: this is not unusual, I suspect, among a lot of women and non-white men in the corporate world. Academia is f*cked up but you're right: it can't hold a candle to the kleptocrats in corporate Ammurrika.

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We the public first have to decide that corporate corruption is no longer tolerable and produce enough demand for reform that the government can no longer get away with being an unindicted co-conspirator. As head of the CFTC, Brooksley Born got shut down by the "powers that be" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooksley_Born and Congress hobbled her agency in general outrage over her efforts to hold derivatives traders accountable. Lessons learned when the lack of derivatives regulation greatly worsened the 2008 crash? Not much. In 2009, Sen. Dick Durbin remarked:

"And the banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place,"

Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, saw it this way:

"But it remains true that, at some institutions that engaged in inappropriate conduct before, and may yet again, the buck still stops nowhere. Responsibility remains so diffuse, and top executives so insulated, that any misconduct could again be considered more a symptom of the institution’s culture than a result of the willful actions of any single individual."

Deliberate crimes and negligence with no perpetrator; possible only through the magic of corporate virtual personhood; the rights of a person without the responsibilities.

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Yes. If you cannot kiss arse and mercilessly and lie? Going nowhere.

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Worse than kissing arse….selling your soul …for what? Glad I asked myself that question.

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More like bowing down and then kissing arse.

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Carolyn, bravo to you for not playing their game! 👏🏼👏🏼 I worked in corporate also, in the insurance industry. I saw the execs make deals when they were golfing. I am certain they still do this crap.

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I agree and the Ivy League schools succeed in passing on a form of brazen arrogance and greed in many of these privileged white men— a license to steal and the skills to get away with it.

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It's not really skills to get away with it that these schools develop. It's connections. When you get in trouble there's always someone you can call who will clean up the mess for you. If they can't, they know someone else who can. The weaker, dumber or more venal ones get special protection because if their weakness, stupidity or greed were actually revealed to the public the image of the whole group would suffer.

If the privilege came from actual skills, we'd be in much better shape. These guys are just a tribe looking out for their own.

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Matt, the best example of what happens when money and bad parenting hitch up…

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I keep remembering these days that I read somewhere that our cowardly Hawley is the spawn of a political lobbyist mother and an investment banker father... Oh my.

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Jeri, teaching your kids how to dominate and manipulate is good parenting for rich white folks.

No joke. No lie.

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Jul 31, 2022·edited Jul 31, 2022

Corporations have no conscience. Think of capitalism like football - without refs (We The People) and rules (Laws), it is money mayhem.

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Corporations are NOT people!!!! “Citizens United” is a sham allowing massive flow of money to politicians—and guess who is making those decisions? The same, corrupt basTURDS we are discussing here. Talk about Repugs voting more than once!

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Corporations are not citizens, but if we insist on treating them as if they were, then they, and their owners, should be expected to pay taxes the same as any other citizen.

I'm going to go read some more about Eleanor Roosevelt. I'm on Volume II and it reads like the morning papers. I'm at the part before the New Deal when business leaders were running everyone, including veterans, into the ground.

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Susan, not only taxes. If corporations are people, there should be corporate jails and even a death penalty. Just as fines are not enough to rein in people like Elon Musk, they are not sufficient to keep corporations in line.

Every decision becomes a bottom line question: do we stand to make more in profits than we would lose in fines if we get caught? Donations become investments; bribes become donations; ethics is reduced to a simple profit and loss calculation.

When we draw an equivalence between corporations and people, we pretend that the people running companies are somehow separate from the company itself. When bad decisions are made we punish the company. The people who actually made the decisions walk free. It is an ethical nightmare and we will never fix it as long as corporate interests are allowed to fund the campaigns of the people who are supposed to oversee them.

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Thank you for that. I read an article a long time ago that said the upside of Citizens United might be that rather than punish individuals, you could hold the entire corporation accountable. I assumed that that included the leaders of the corporation. This is really messy.

I completely agree that unless we can get corporate money out of elections, we the people will continue to get clobbered by corporate greed. Do you have any hope that this can change, and if so, what do you think that would take?

Thanks again for your thoughtful and helpful response.

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We the People v. We the Persons!

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In the spirit of Orwell's cautionary tales, "Citizens United" is anything BUT citizens united. The right wing seems particularly fond of "War is Peace" preposterous labeling, such as "Patriot Act" or "Defense of Marriage Act". There are lots more. Would you believe the violent, well documented J6th assault on the US Capitol was "ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse". Orwell would blush, but not the RNC.

Democracy withstands and at times, even thrives on controversy, its bug and feature; and even withstands consequential lies*, provided they are vigilantly detected, called out and rejected, just as the human body ordinarily, eventually, rejects disease. But a compromised "immune system" puts persons and societies in grave peril.

* such as Joe McCarthy and "Dred Scott"

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You are so correct about this. Let us hope we make it past this awful time. I'm tired of being badgered by blowhards. So, I'm off to write some more postcards for Seniors Taking Action. It helps.

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Perhaps I should add that the purist, centralized-state left wing is as capable of garbage propaganda and mischief as the the right, and while Republicans and the media like to pretend that the US really has a significant and troublesome extreme left, I don't see it. Republicans ran an ad equating AOC with Pol Pot.

My ideological preference is the right tool for the right job, and "liberty and justice" for ALL. I am certain that if some of the salient social philosophy of Republican Lincoln or T. Roosevelt were to be rephrased by a modern speaker, Republicans and much of the press would label it "extreme" or "hard" left.

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True except I think that's the Reaganomic (neo-fuedal) strain of it. There is an eternal tension between concentrated power (of which money is a major species) and egalitarianism, but "the people" were making headway through much of the 20th Century, until we let the right wing capture so much of the communications media. It's just nuts to conflate armed gangs (the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called them "the people we fought in World War II) with the militia described in the Constitution:

"To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"

Or to grace massive, corrupt,and coercive market domination with the Orwellian label "free market" (a free society is definitely not one dominated by concentrated, unaccountable power, think third world). Free enterprise is, I think, a legitimate human freedom, and there are things it can provide better than the public sector; yet especially in the realm of vital societal functions and the exercise of potentially dangerous public powers (imprisonment for example) it is just nuts to to introduce conflicts of interest, or isolate their execution from direct public inspection and control.

Because abused power (corrupt government, monopoly, or a thug in an alley with a gun) robs others of their fundamental rights, genuine liberty rules out irresponsible choices, such as rape, theft, fraud*, pollution, etc. That should be self-evident; but those obsessed with domination spin elaborate and seductive lies to justify their agenda of bullying. It's nuts for us to go along with it.

* Reportedly the "subprime crash" era "Reaganomic" head of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan thought financial fraud should not be considered a crime; but if it robs like theft, and corrupts like theft, it's theft.

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How sad to hear how things were going with that company. Eastman Kodak was consistently rated an enlightened and humane company before it went belly up.

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I worked for Kodak ‘78-‘79. Regional meetings featured conservative ideologue speakers to motivate us field reps. I had the impression that our pretty decent benefits were meant to make unions seem unnecessary.

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No doubt.

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Mike - you talk about "middle school girl talk - mean gossip". Girls and women are stereotyped as gossips but, honestly, men can be just as bad.

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Right - pretty sure it's called "locker room talk" - a different flavor of "girl talk" ....

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Men are worse.

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Did Mat Goetz actually attend Harvard? He looks like a moron. But I get what you are talking about and I saw it played out while my husband was in retail. Lots of takeovers by companies that didn't know how to run the kind of business they took over. And they failed the company and the employees. Bad business all the way around.

Watching the January 6 Hearings I was struck by how weirdly entitled many of the white, male witnesses were. They looked like people who had been protected their entire lives and never thought their actions might be considered wrong. It's beyond entitled. It is a way of life that my mother once described as "screw all but six and save them for pallbearers."

It's way past time for them to go.

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Your mother's quote is perfect!!

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I agree. Thanks.

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Hi, Susan. Just a response to your opening question. There are plenty of morons who attended Harvard, and there are all kinds of smart. Gaetz is a moron.

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Despite the fact that my parents met while attending Harvard, there are definitely some really bad people who have gotten degrees there.

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It's Matt Gaetz, not Goetz. Just as bad either way.

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Thanks for the clarification. But, as you say, both are bad and need to go.

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"screw all but six and save them for pallbearers."

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Mike, as you know the city of Rochester was so dependent on Kodak that they were willing to have what became an EPA superfund site in the middle of the city in order to keep them happy. I lived in that part of the state for 17 years, and I loved Rochester. But dang: what a mess. Their lackluster interest in innovation was obvious as early as Polaroid "instant" cameras. And yet they continued to drink the kool-aid of magical thinking about their products and the future. And ignored what they were doing to the city they (and the Erie Canal) created. It is a textbook American tragedy from which I think Rochester will never recover.

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Rochester has many of Americas problems. Segregated schools.

High gun crime.

Poor city schools because of forced segregation and a criminal named Urbanski at the head of the teachers Union.

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I appreciated your point about the

low-level backbiting that occurs high-level corporate settings. However, it’s unfortunate that use an inherently misogynistic stereotype “ they were often similar to middle school girl talk - mean gossip…” to do so.

As Trump and his wealthy white middle-aged and old men cronies have shown, this petty, vicious verbal abuse ( often extremely misogynistic also) deserves its own stereotype of vindictiveness.

The right-wing use of misogynistic stereotypes is becoming more overt and widespread ( e.g. statements by JD Vance re “ childless cat ladies” ruling this country .)

My hope is those who support women and do not consider themselves in that part of political spectrum do not slip into this very damaging characterization of abhorrent men by essentially saying they are acting like bad girls or women.

(These vindictive men need to own their vicious behavior as a kind of vindictive man — that a kind of behavior that belongs to them — not girls.)

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Listening to a program on climate (NPR), I was surprised to hear that no one at PG&E was held accountable for the poor line maintenance (due to budget cuts)/slow response to alarms (saying that a section of line was broken) when people were killed in the resulting fire. The company paid a paltry fine.

Once again, if you’re not held responsible and a poor choice puts more money in your pocket, greed will tend to lead to bad decisions for humanity.

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Yes, INFURIATING! They have literally murdered people for years and they escape prosecution. They do not escape getting fined and have to make monetary payouts but that does little to console what families have lost. Loss of homes and loved ones is tragic. They too, are the enemy from within.

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The fines are “just the price of doing business”. Shameful.

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Mike S, I have been reading your posts for quite a long time now. I believe you have a unique perspective and story to tell. I encourage you to perhaps write a book? Frequent commenter TCinLA is a published author. Perhaps he could give you some advice?

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Miselle. Thank you. I appreciate your positive assessment. I am fairly occupied with my return, after 40 years of absence, to farming and projects in reforestation here in NY State.

Also. I lack the English formalism training that HCR and Steven King acquired.

But. Thank you.

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Jul 31, 2022·edited Jul 31, 2022

Key word: "s.c.r.e.w' {{with a capital F.U.}} ... every which way but sideways ... and what makes anyone think the games will stop if these players wind up inside prison walls ... more likely, a change of venue, closer to the core ...? Don't you know they will enjoy the best of everything - heroes of the oppressed general population ((the p.e.o.p.l.e.)) - including free passage in and out the door with roast turkey and champagne for holiday feasts - all compliments of the hard working, tax paying American citizen ... talk about a free ride!!!

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Remember Flynn and Bannon, too.

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The list is, and should be, long..............

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We need to clear the marijuana convictions and make way for the cretins for chump. I won’t live long enough to see Stone turn on chump, won’t happen

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Hang in there, Jeri. I want to stay alive long enough to witness these bastards do their time.

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An Homeric catalogue of crimes and criminals...

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And Barr.

Gah. Everyone out for himself. You'd think our whole society was narcissistic.

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We all have an ego (Latin for "I", for Freud it was "Ich") and we all of necessity pursue self interest. My impression is that we all have a narcissistic side (I do) but that is generally moderated and integrated with other sensitivities. Trump seem a poster child for malignant narcissism that seems to objectify other human beings; they are mere means to the narcissistic agenda. I think of war crimes as extreme examples, but there are many degrees. I think demagogues play to the narcissistic side of human nature, and that we vary in our susceptibility. Exclusionary, supremacist cults apply flattery (like "the master race") and scapegoating and demonization of the other to cultivate passionate, conscienceless adherents in a play for total power. I fear that the modern Republican Party has taken that road.

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Mary Trump told us as much about her uncle years ago. And as I've said numerous times, my single personal encounter with Trump at a real estate broker event in the 1990s, in which I found myself in line to shake the his hand, it was as if I had touched Voldemort.

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And you did

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One of Trump's reoccurring nicknames is "He Who Shall Not Be Named".

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Best pay attention to cues like that!

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J.L., Freud also postulated the superego, our ideas of right or wrong. Stone, t, Gaetz, et al., must’ve stopped developing around the age of 5, when most of us begin to actively develop a conscience.

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They weren't born with a conscience in their inventory.

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It is learned, in my view. never thought that we were born evil, but it seems to be acquired by osmosis. In “Get Me Roger Stone” doc, he explains when he first learned the power of lies to get what you want. Whereas, my first conscious experiment with lying got me in deep dodo at home. The lessons happen early enough to appear innate. My humble opinion.

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Sickly mother, con father...

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Stark inability to postpone immediate gratification to plan for long term goals meaning zero maturity.

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Well stated JLG. All of it. Thank you.

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No doubt you nailed them, and your assessment covers the deliberately ignorant, the stupid, the puppeteers, the greedy bastards, and the those doing constant searches for others to look down on. About covers it. Thank you.

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Judging from my own siblings, Jeri, I think some these folks you list here were born with a conscience but they worked their butts off, skimped and saved, and raised kids in difficult times and finally got their heads above water. Now they want to and need to hold on to what they have b/c they are too old to work and earn more. They might appear greedy or selfish to others but they need to live too and they see the Rs as protecting their lifestyle (which is not lavish by any stretch of the imagination). They will die before the Rs cut off their Social Security, and they are letting their children deal with that possibility.

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Well done, Mary. When I drive through the Midwest (where I still have much family), and see little towns all boarded up, it gives reason for local folks to have voted for Trump. (At least in 2016.) People want to believe. And the so-called reality show did their best to make him look golden. (I, who cannot abide "reality" tv, absolutely could not stand his crude, mean nature, and yet, for an instant, even I wondered if he could bring change. Positive change, not the change that was wrought.)

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Yes, I find that some reflexive Trump supporters are complicated , even in other respects "decent" people. "Doublethink and cult ideology seems to have usurped parts of their ability to question, and sabotages conscience. That state of mind seems to come in waves in societies around the world when it spreads from the fringe to enough of the mainstream. People are our species worst enemy.

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"...constant searches for others to look down on." Sad isn't it.

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The result of 40 years of “Greed is Good!”.

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“Greed is still good” all over the land. Sad to say…

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The whole society is not narcissistic; it’s just that corporations tend to reward those who are because they often make/support decisions that improve the bottom line and disregard the human cost.

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Hmm. Hadn't thought of it that way. (Crap.)

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If you are around people long enough with a camera, they tend to forget you are there...you really become wallpaper...they especially forget they have live mics on. But then I've also had elected reps say things when you are setting up an interview shot, or just finished one, that they would never want made public...and the camera is rolling. The rule is when a film crew is around...don't say stuff you don't want public. And now with cell phones...those shots have become the big news breakers in BLM.

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Just over 30 years ago, a fellow named George Holiday offered LAPD the video he took of officers making an arrest that he thought they'd be interested in. They laughed him out of the office. He took it to KTLA. They aired it. The arrestee was a Black fellow named Rodney King.

I started teaching use of force classes in 1994, eventually designing policy and procedures, and becoming our department's use of force expert. From the get-go, I told cops I was training two things: Never say anything to a civilian that you would not say in front of your grandmother or minister, and ALWAYS assume that someone is making a video of you. We had in-car cameras for a brief time in 2008-2010 (we had purchased outdated technology, and lacked the storage capacity for the videos), and to my knowledge, had no reports of rights violations, etc. during that time. Interestingly, it was our administration that was opposed to the in-car video, and not line troops.

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So true! In nursing school (48 years ago!) we were taught to never say anything you wouldn't want published on the front page. ANY inappropriate speech or rough behavior got you thrown out of the program.

Problem with excessive force among cops is there are no consequences. They get a write up in their file. In the Akron case (unarmed Black man panicked when cops pulled him over for a headlight violation) was shot 46 times. Several of the involved officers had multiple write ups in their files.

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The problem lies in the case law that was handed down in (mainly) 2 cases: Tennessee v. Garner (1985) and Graham v. Connor (1989). Garner dealt with a Tennessee law that said cops could shoot a suspected "fleeing felon". Garner was a 15 year old boy shot in the back as he ran from a house that he had burglarized. Using the 4th Amendment, Garner gave a "police standard" that before deadly force could be applied there were criteria: a felony crime, reasonable suspicion that the person was armed and/or presented a violent risk to the community, and that (if possible ) a warning had been given.

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/471/1/

Garner moved all police use of force under the 4th Amendment (previously, Circuit Courts had utilized the 6th and 8th Amendments to define use of force). There are "4 prongs" of Graham: Severity of the crime at issue, immediacy of the threat, actively resisting arrest, and evading arrest by flight. At the time (and this was before I became an instructor) it was held as "making our job impossible." When I read the case for myself, I realized that rather than being limiting in scope, it was actually very freeing. In addition to those 4 Prongs, there is also the Court's utilization of the phrase "tense, rapidly evolving circumstances" that confront some of these police interactions. There is also the "No 20/20 hindsight" rule, that says that officers must depend on information available to them at the time, and not anything that is learned later.

It is not hard to see how so much police use of force is "excused" by this case. If an officer can articulate that they are at risk of serious physical injury/death at the hands of the suspect through active resistance, or that the suspect's actions create a substantial danger to the community, or that their escape could endanger the community, then the level of force necessary to prevent these is justifiable. Sometimes it is physical force, sometimes it is deadly force.

I have seen this in every case that has come up since Ferguson: some form of "reasonable belief in the dangerousness of the suspect" (Tamir Rice: playing with what could be a deadly weapon. Philando Castille: moving his hand towards where his lawfully carried firearm was when asked to produce identification. Eric Garner: very big scary man resisting arrest. So, so many more, but these are the ones I could think of off the top of my caffeinated head this morning.

Just for fun, here is a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center link on the 20/20 hindsight rule:

https://www.fletc.gov/use-force-part-ii

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Thanks, Ally! I'm very pro-police and agree what we ask of them is impossible. In addition to protecting and serving, they are expected to be social workers, mental health experts, and soldiers. As I commented about Uvalde in another thread, cops storming a room where the subject is armed with an AR15 is guaranteed suicide. Cops are not soldiers. If they were, there would be equipment like tanks and armored battering rams that could be driven inside a building and actual combat training.

In the Akron case, 90 shots fired, 46 hit him, most in the back. Not reasonable.

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Excellent info. Thanks Ally.

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Like

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2016 is six years ago. What makes anyone think that justice is just around the corner? Why do we continue to delude ourselves into thinking that democracy and rule of law will prevail? What we see happen with the corruption of our organizations and institutions should lead us to very different conclusions.

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Which is why the DOJ needed to meticulously investigate The Don from the ground up, to assure an air tight case. He shall be Al Caponed.

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Seems to late to me to make much difference, even if he is indicted.

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NEVER too late! Look, DNA has brought Cold Cases from many years to the forefront. We have DNA and tons of video. Citizens found insurrectionists from those videos and informed the FBI. The J6 committee keeps getting new evidence daily. Jean, don’t give up!

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Jul 31, 2022·edited Jul 31, 2022

You remind me of something not getting adequate media attention: why has the Biden Administration allowed Trump holdovers to remain in important jobs. The obviously corrupt DHS inspector general is a stark example. It's not as if the administration doesn't know that Trump put these people in their posts because they are likely to be dishonest and loyal to him long after he's out of office.

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Jean. If you have read some of my other posts you will see that I have assigned a less than 10% probability Trump will be charged with a crime based on past data.

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I'd say the chances are 90% that Trump will be charged. If he's not, game over for democracy.

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Sad, very sad, but we know it's true. No sense deny it. We must adjust to what it means for going forward.

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What does it mean for you, Jean? How will you adjust, going forward? Are you looking for "sunnier" climes? Where?

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As I used to tell my kids, “Someone is always watching and if you don’t want the world to know what you’re doing, then just don’t do it.” That was decades ago and now, in our connected world, someone really is always watching/listening. Stone and Gaetz having a conversation while being filmed for a documentary is not surprisingly stupid. There are so many examples of people thinking no one will find out. My favorite is President Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, a really smart guy, messing with an intern outside the Oval Office and then lying about it. A special combination of stupidity and brillance.

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If someone hears or finds out, so what? Nothing seems to change much. We aren't even surprised anymore.

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There's something about politics & rock n roll...lots of horny guys...and more than a few women/girls who are "willin' "

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Add corporate execs and cable news personalities to that lineup. What I don’t understand is why people in visible leadership roles (politics) still think no one will know.

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It's just hormones.

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Testosterone poisoning? 😜

(Sorry, couldn’t resist, but these stories tend to be gender specific.)

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Stupidity & brilliance. Yes. That was depressingly disappointing.

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"these recordings also graphically show how insanely corrupt all these cretins are." We all know it, there is evidence aplenty to prove it, and yet they still walk free. WHY?

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Right good question here. Where is a guru/chef to tell us how to fix it? We need to plug into an energy source that will power some utensil, and add a little fat and fry them; treat them the way they treat others, as apperitifs.

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Or plug into some energy source that changes the whole field. Upgrade to a new paradigm.

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Hi, Michael, you've highlighted something that still puzzles me. What was it, in the very beginning of Trump's presidency, that attracted--nolt Stone especially but some very smart people who didn't tend to be deep in corruption--them to Trump? What was it that; turned ;those who had been loudest; in their dismissal of him? I know he was probably applying his combination of praise and condemnation, he was after all now president. But we have had a lot of dynamic presidents who could not have gathered an almost cult-like following as Trump has done. With Trump, it is only now that a very few of the rats are leaving the ship.

I also know that a great deal of strategy and planning have gone into this takeover by the alt-right and it's possible was just the right guy for for the job. But still, what are the qualities in the man himself that have him politically alive.

I can come up with the dozen or so obvious references that address my question but they don't answer it. What the heck is it with this guy??

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The razzle dazzle of power, money and the charm of a good liar huckster.

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I believe that got Bill Clinton a blow job in the White House but Trump has taken this to an extreme that, to me, isn't even in the same category. I sometimes speculate that it's the mental illness that really does turn him into a child below the level of being able to make a connection with anyone but his own image in the mirror. Do all these screaming devotees want to make that connection, to break down that wall?

I think you're right when you say it's simpler than that but still there have been other public figures who possessed all the ingredients in your formula and have not had this affect on their followers- and others. I'm thinking about Lindsay Graham and the hearings for Justice Brown. Graham was out of control entirely--I saw a man desperate for the love of his master and panicked that he had lost it, ready to demean himself and do any amount of damage to prove his loyalty.

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There are a number of books out on "ponerology," or "the study of evil." They mostly center around "high-functioning psychopaths."

I noticed that with Graham as well. And also, right after Jan 6, with Mick Mulvaney. These guys become Renfield to Trump's Vlad.

I read years ago that something like 5% of people are "essential psychopaths," meaning they aren't wired for empathy. For most, it's a deficit that makes them outcast: they become violent street thugs, and quickly end up dead or in prison. But the "high-functioning" sort are intelligent enough, at an early enough age, to learn to emulate empathy, though they do not feel it.

I also read that something like another 10-15% are "latent psychopaths," meaning that they can become entrained within the orbit of an essential psychopath, and become -- well, Renfields.

I don't know if you ever saw the film, Pan's Labyrinth, but I was fascinated -- and horrified -- by the gradual transformation of the men under Captain Vidal's command. My recollection -- I only saw this once, and I don't think I could watch it again -- was that the two officers who flinched at the beginning at Vidal's brutality, were eager to emulate him by the end. It was fiction, but I think it rang true to life.

I think that the people close to Trump at the end were all psychopaths or latent psychopaths who had become entrained. Each had a different point at which they snapped out of it, and then they quit.

And as Mike S notes below, when you get into these kinds of toxic work cultures, even if you are not a psychopath, you get sucked in. You make excuses. You pretend you must not have understood the full story, and you extend trust to the leadership which is not warranted. You give in once, twice, and now there is -- figuratively -- blood on your hands. You don't sleep well at night. You understand that compliance is the cost of employment.

Some people just give in. Others break away, and are replaced with more compliant people. Look at the employment churn in Trump's orbit. He was never looking for smart or competent people.

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This is brilliant, Joseph, a revealing new vocabulary for the very familiar phenomenon. I saw a film years ago that I could never be persuaded to watch again, "Straw Dogs," in which a very mild--almost a parody, as I recall--of a maybe a mathematics professor--is in a cabin with his wife and a gang of thugs shows up, the wife flirts a bit, the men outside begin to circle the cabin day after day, getting closer clearly intending now to rape the wife--anyway the upshot is that there's a gun, the math guy gets hold of it and shoots the men. I have forgotten the details of the plot, but what I remember is the transformation of this husband. At some moment as he begins to shoot bloodlust takes over, he shoots more of them and more period than he needs to and in a close-up of his face at the end you can see that he liked it. I found it terrifying. We all have that violence, and that craziness, in us, and I often think it's pure grace or the luck of the draw that dictates that some of us stay out of its clutches.

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Thank you for your insights.

There are some films that have an element so close to truth, I also, get the shivers...and don't care to re-view them!

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Trump is the P.T. Barnum of the Repugnikan ideal.

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Good question. I don't know but can speculate. Let's take Cabinet members. An allure for some likely was power and prestige of a kind that they hadn't had in business, where many of them were very successful. Those roles enabled them to impose new federal regulations, which in some cases might have benefited them and the former industries they worked in. Some were known for self-dealing to help themselves financially. Some saw the roles as a way to achieve philosophical and political ends (Betsy DeVos comes to mind).

It appears that many of them had no idea that Trump would prove to be so extreme yet so inept. I wonder how many of them regret ever signing on for what clearly is the worst presidential administration in history.

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Stay tuned.

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Do we have any choice?

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I'm so sorry, but anyone who idolizes Nixon the way Stone does tells us loud and clear that a screw is loose somewhere.

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I came across this interesting website tonight.

wtfhappenedin1971.com

(Nixon era.)

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The President of the United States should not have the power to pardon anyone for crimes associated with his office, family, businesses or associates. Period. Reform is needed.

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I don’t understand why the president has the power to pardon anyone for anything. It seems to me the very notion of a presidential pardon undercuts the integrity of our legal system.

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I don't know the history or legal theory but it smells of a hold-out from monarchy. A pardon process, yes, but why leave to presidential whim? I never understood how the preemptive pardon of Nixon was considered legal. Irrespective of whether he should have been prosecuted or not. I see pardon as revisiting a questionable conviction, not capricious obstruction of justice.

Significant events are usually a convergence of preconditions, not just a single cause, but I think the "pardon" helped to launch a new level of institutionalized contempt in the Republican party for equal justice and rule of law.

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It's only been by whim with Trjump. Usually, it's been a formal appeal for a pardon, with evidence why submitted, researched by the pardon office, and a recommendation given to the president. Two presidents abused it - Trump and Clibnton (surprise surprise) at least no Democrat ever did it.

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