The Tally Stick

Taking measure in our times

The culture of intolerance in a democratic society

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Over the last fifteen months we have witnessed the rise of intolerance in America.  From my perspective is started in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.  This incident involved officer Darren Wilson and the unarmed suspect Michael Brown.  It was alleged by the public that at the time that the shooting was unjustified based on accounts that Mr. Brown (African-American) was unarmed and got profiled by police officer Darren Wilson (Caucasian) in a case of a robbery at a local store.  The APB description was interpreted by the police officer to fit Mr. Brown’s profile.   There was an altercation in which the ultimate outcome was the shooting of Mr. Brown after he is said to have attacked the officer and went for his firearm.  After the investigation, the Grand Jury did not feel it had enough facts that support an indictment of the police officer for an unjustified killing of the unarmed suspect.

This sparked an outrage from swaths of the public and started riots in Ferguson and greater St. Louis area.  In the proceeding months, a few more high profile police officer shootings happened involving unarmed African-Americans.   Some of these cases had video evidence and that still did not lead to any prosecutions.  A growing section of the public was not accepting of these facts.  During the unrest and subsequent protests, we saw the rise of a new political activist movement called Black Lives MatterThis movement seeks to reform policing and seek justice in what they term “extrajudicial killings” of minorities by police officers across the United States.

As time goes, the movement have become more active and militant (in a non-violent but aggressive stance), infamously interrupting civil rights activist and Presidential hopeful, Sen. Bernie Sanders .  This is an important footnote because we have not seen a rise of cultural activism in America since the decade of the 1960s.  In the 1960s we have a major change in America, protests of Vietnam, rise of the hippie movement as a rejection of traditional America, killings of civil rights leaders (Dr. King, John F. Kennedy, Malcom X, Robert Kennedy, Fred Hampton and various others during this struggle).  This sent a stark message that is you challenge the status quo enough, you might pay with your life.   This not only derailed many of these movements but also chilled the era of grassroots activism.

Fast forward to 2015, we are now seeing the rise of new activism in America.  It is gaining strength while becoming more intolerant to any dissenting opinions or attempts to being more moderate views to address concerning issues that revolve about inequality, racism or cultural appropriation to name a few.  Its roots seem to be stemming from the college campuses which have always been a fertile grounds for alternative intellectual thinking and activism.  The problem is that many of these issues do not seem to carry the same breadth and depth of the civil rights era.  I mention the civil rights era because it seems like all struggles are compared to have the same gravity.  I don’t mean to offend but you had very overt actions and clear policies that were against minorities.  Other than the misplaced episode in which a line of student protesters got maced in full view of the public, we do not see the iconic pictures of African-Americans getting fire hosed, dog attacked or beaten fragrantly and in the open as we saw during the 1960s.  This is not meant to minimize these issues in any way but at the same time it is a short-sighted view to see any perceived affront as a good reason to appeals to other to support your protest in an aggressive manner like we saw in in decade previous.

Yes we have serious issues of policing in America and a disproportionate of our criminal proceedings are against minorities.   On the other hand, we have made real improvements since then and we are still progressing forward in these areas today.  What is happening is that progress is being slowed because we have people taking a divisive approach when we need an inclusive solution.  What this ultimately does it pushing people farther apart and if you are from a contrasting race and don’t fully agree with that side, you are called basically a racist sympathizer.

This brings us to the point of this article.  What I have witnessed during these protests is the growing intolerance of opinions people disagree with no matter the logic or solid reasoning.   In the example of Black Lives Matter, you saw when critics say All Lives Matter, this was a direct challenge to the idea that incidents that happen to African-Americans should be on a pedestal compared other races if the same incident happened.  It is ironic that when inequity happens, we should favor certain groups than all when solving inequity and that should be a long-term solution to bring us all closer as a nation.   Instead we see a media-fuel movement to Balkanize groups into identity politics where you need to look first at your racial background or social-economic position to see where you should stand and support.  That is completely in contrast to what America was founded for, even if it took us until to today (2015–beyond) to make good on that promise.

This has succeeded in turning huge groups of young adults into activist with a hammer looking for nails.  We are not a perfect nation and we don’t have perfect people and expecting more is wishful thinking.  Among democratic values, tolerance is one of the most important.  What is means that I accept in a free and open society, I am willing to tolerate opinions that I disagree with.   In exchange, I will be tolerated for having opinions that may be outside of the normative consensus or what others call, political correctness.  Democracy is not a winner takes all endeavor.  Functioning democracy means you incrementally progress with debate, compromise and using the bully-pulpit to influence public opinion so that truly universal ideas are moved ahead for the whole nation, not just small segments that scream the loudest (not saying there isn’t time to be loud).

The Atlantic recently published two articles have been written addressing this grow intolerance and confusion about what society is suppose to provide and how we should handle these issues.  In The Coddling of the American Mind & The New Intolerance of Student Activism they addressed issues that are all revolving around this issue of how we should react to things we find offensive and what kind of environment we should creating to train our younger generation.   A quote from The Intolerance of Student Activism sums it up, this is an exchange between student protesters and administrator about an email addressing appropriate Halloween costumes; “Then why the fuck did you accept the position?! Who the fuck hired you?! You should step down! If that is what you think about being a master you should step down! It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not! Do you understand that? It’s about creating a home here. You are not doing that!“. This was in response to an email sent around to students on this subject that if you are offended, look away or go tell them you are offended, not to appeal to a third party to solve their problems.  In the video you can see the Yale students using the same tactics as Black Lives Matter to shut down any two-way discussion that we would expect in a civil democratic society and instead shouted the opposing opinion down and ultimately telling him that he was not even worth listening to and he was “disgusting”.   That is not tolerance and honestly sounds very authoritarian at its core.

Now I am witnessing many young people looking for any issue that may be unfair or mean and using that as a platform to demand change no matter how trivial it may seem in a manner that is not collective resolution but instead a demand or else.  With this rise of political correctness and the idea that they know (intolerance) the right way to handle it and aggressive activism, has lead to a very divisive environment where it chills (censors) free speech, which is suppose to be one of our highest values in our democratic culture.  We are regressing in this area and it gives rise to more extreme ideological elements which have a form of intolerance to opposition in their dogma and more extreme solutions if they do not get their way.  That is dangerous if you let it grow without challenge.  I can not explain to you the utter demonization that is happening in American politics to the political candidates leading up to our Presidential Election in 2016.  Each side is making the other into literal monsters so that even if you agree with one of their positions but disagree with many, you are a political pariah and should be socially shunned.  That is a sad state of affairs if we truly embrace our democratic values.

This was written to illustrate how this movement of intolerance on the back of real issues and injustices is growing and it is drowning out many reasonable voices that dare challenge the popular consensus.  This is feeding the extremes and we will continue to see it pour into our politics, daily lives and relationships.  I personally have felt more isolated in my social media because I see pot shot taken on all issues that are said to be conservative or traditional.  I see the strong support and many mindless opinions.   I makes me almost not want to bother engaging because of the backlash you have to endure just to reason a contrarian opinion that challenges any current political correctness.   We did cover a lot of ground in this piece but I hope that will show you that these are not isolated incidents but actually a growing trend that could lead to a cultural revolution under everyone feet and once it is complete many will feel like strangers around their fellow citizens.




Written by Tally Stick

November 22nd, 2015 at 6:55 pm

U.S. codifies two-tiered justice system with landmark HSBC settlement

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Like most people, it still is just starting to sink in that we are officially in a two-tiered legal system in the United States of America.  The precedent is now set that law can be arbitrary base d on the economic and political effect that legal prescription would have on different social-economic systems.  Some would argue this has always been the case but it has never been to brazenly admitted in a criminal Investigation.  This company’s (HSBC)  influential and economic place in the global financial system, allowed  it is support terrorism, trade with the enemy (Iran) and give material support to Mexican (likely other) drug cartels that I know the Mexican state sees as domestic terrorists.

We are now officially in a society where the wealthy and powerful can now break some of our most precious laws with almost impunity.  This is not meant to single out HSBC either.   All major U.S. commercial and investment banks have all been given the same treatment by the Justice Department (Justice for who?), by allowing them to settle without any admission of guilt and avoid criminal prosecutions.

Links to Settlements:   Bank of AmericaJP Morgan ChaseGoldman SachsWells FargoCitigroup (This list goes on)

What message does this send to the people?  Following the law is only for the common-folk?  Who is to say that this will not lead to general lawlessness among average citizen who now have perfectly clear evidence that the system is rigged and the deck is stacked against them.  These are not just petty crimes either, the entire U.S. foreign policy for the last 4o+ years has been built against the actions that HSBC committed (War on Drugs & War on Terrorism).

Anyone else would of, if they even committed one of the 17,000 noted infractions in this case, served hard prison time or ended up in a military prison and or court.  Instead an economic calculation was made that ended up saying that this companies position in our financial system was so great (Too Big to Fail), that a tarnish of its reputation would actually bring an economic collapse (not likely).  Even if you take that statement at face value, if our system is built upon this sort of foundation, then maybe it deserves to collapse so we can find our moral center again and learn what the “Rule of Law” & “Precedent” means.

An option would of been to fine “AND” jail the perpetrators.  I believe when history looks backs, this will be looked upon as a watershed moment of this current regimes fall from grace and decency.  To look on the bright side, this likely means we are closer to the end than the beginning.  We have lost our center and direction and now we are rushing faster than ever to prop up failed states, we just haven’t found the courage to admit it.  If it does come to that, please so not throw all the good we have done when finding ways to deal with your anger and frustration.  We still have the capacity to great good and unmentionable acts of evil.

Here is a great writeup about this from The Guardian, please take a hour to read the comments that are over a thousand now.  It really enlighten me on how people can justify these actions.


Written by Tally Stick

December 17th, 2012 at 12:34 pm

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Occupation Wall Street Political Party?

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While looking at this movement and how it is evolving, a political organization was my pick as an eventuality in its natural progression.  They have tapped into a current expression of distrust and disgust with corporate and financial greed, corruption and as facts come to light, likely outright fraud.  Once I heard the media bringing up this subject relentlessly, I knew it was only a matter of time before something would form from the ether.

I have found two websites that seem to fit the bill.  I am not sure if either are official or affiliated and we don’t even know what official means in this movement yet.  With this being such a growing subject and movement.  I thought some people might be interested in the more serious and formal progress of protest.

Here are the two links:

Occupation Party (Has a forum for discussion and discourse)

The Occupation Party (Seems to be more motivational than political orientated at this point but it does have discussion but in a non-forum format)

Written by Tally Stick

October 17th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Renaissance 2.0 – Economic Explanation of the American Economic Empire (Must Watch)

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It has been a minute since I have post on the Tally Stick.  It will be getting much more information.   My work life has been very busy but now my time is freeing.   With such a long hiatus I am coming back with some very hard hitting information.  I implore everyone to watch this and send it to your friends.

This video is the best example I have found that actually explains our monetary system.  It goes over the history of its formations and what happened at each turn that brought us to this financial empire we are living in today.  The first step in any solution is to understand the system and its flaws.  Please add your comments.

Lesson 1 ”

The Rise of Financial Empire

” (6 part series):

Link to all six lessons (Click Here)

Written by Tally Stick

October 11th, 2010 at 11:45 am

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American’s : Are we Consumers or Producers?

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We are now in the middle of the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.  After much review of the facts, debt and leverage are at the core of the problem that helped lead us to this point.  During this process since the deregulation in the 1980’s the savings rate in the U.S. declined until we as a whole were net borrowers to the rest of the world with most of that new debt going to oil producing countries, Japan and China.

A majority of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is based on consumption.  Our current public debt is officially over $12 trillion dollars with our ratio of debt to GDP over 80%.  In the media we keep hearing American’s referred to “consumers” in every report.

They tout us as a “serviced-based economy” which sounds friendly but in effect it is a cover for the fact that we have let light-manufacturing get incentivized and outsourced to low-wage countries while we let the finished products brought back the the United State to not only provide “cheap” goods but also made native producers uncompetitive unless they did the same.  But these goods were not cheap other than in price.  They actually had a very real cost to the economy and a large reduction in jobs that traditionally provided jobs that we considered “middle class”.

It is illogical to think that we can reduce our production to a few sectors of the economy and a majority everyone else would have “service based” job, but the question is who are they going to serve?  Are we satisfied with an economy with this concentration of wealth were we have people serving a smaller portion of the population that has the wealth to afford all these services from flipping burger to being a real estate agent or attorney?  There is only so many of these jobs a growing and opportunity-driven economy can have and still provide a normal standard of living that this country has provided through its laws that protect our basic rights to liberty and property.

We have seen a rising standard of living in America and that is undeniable with the flood of cheap goods and services we enjoy.  The problem is that all of these goods and services require “income” to support their demand.  But as a country we are allowing our jobs to get outsourced under the guise of “free trade” which is not free in the fact that we have unlimited access to other markets but more all other countries have unlimited access to our market.  I do support free capital flows but some form of protectionism is not all that bad if it is focused on U.S. based multi-national corporations that use “free-trade” to dump good on the U.S. with their focus on the bottom-line and not the national goal of employment.  Our system is eating itself and it will not end good if we do not start being vocal about this issue.

We need to start focusing on producing good in the U.S. that not only the world needs to help us balance our flow of trade but also goods that our own domestic market has a demand for.  We also need a push of education to the American people about the “real cost” of these cheap goods so they understand that the price is not the only factor to base a purchasing decision on.  Supporting companies that are foreign or domestic that produce in America are good for our situation and provide jobs that bring the income we need to support our businesses that deperately need the help.  We can’t rely on the government to take this issue on and provide a solution until we get educated and start engaging them and explaining this “service-based” economy is a front for gross profiteering and we need laws that bring native and foreign producers on a even footing so we go from “free-trade” to “fair-trade” which is good for everyone.

Written by Tally Stick

December 13th, 2009 at 10:06 pm

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