Caroline’s review of The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Riku (new)

Riku Sayuj i guess it would be more relevant to someone right there. i got a headache trying to parse everything to my political context. :)


message 2: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Riku wrote: "i guess it would be more relevant to someone right there. i got a headache trying to parse everything to my political context. :)"

For some reason I always thought you were a student - studying here in London. Where the heck did I get that from? Now I see you are in Bangalore. I shall have to heave you up across the internet universe and resite you in India....


message 3: by Riku (new)

Riku Sayuj Caroline wrote: "Riku wrote: "i guess it would be more relevant to someone right there. i got a headache trying to parse everything to my political context. :)"

For some reason I always thought you were a student ..."


I have been to London only once. I don't even read much about London. So it must be shared interests that made you think we have a shared geography. :) Don't blame me for all that work of heaving and re-siting.


message 4: by Caren (new)

Caren Caroline, great review! I have had this on my list of books "to read", and you have given me a nudge. It sounds as though Britain and the USA have some very similar problems. (As an aside, you sound just like me: I fill books that interest me with underlinings and notes!)


message 5: by Shaun (new)

Shaun He feels that this country is very much geared up to big business and people who are massively wealthy, and that they take, and take again from the purse of the ordinary man. But when we feel the pinch created by these mighty behemoths, we are asked (by the media, by our politicians) to blame those at the bottom of the pile, (immigrants, people on benefits, civil service workers) instead of the uber wealthy really responsible for the ills of our society.

He describes the serpentine and manipulative behaviours of big business (tax evasion, donating great big chunks of money to the Conservative Party, lobbying to get legislation that will help further their aims etc) as a firewall that they use to protect themselves from the powers of democracy.


Sounds like the US...


message 6: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Caren wrote: "Caroline, great review! I have had this on my list of books "to read", and you have given me a nudge. It sounds as though Britain and the USA have some very similar problems. (As an aside, you soun..."

Hi Caren. Yes, books need to be digested in a way - and making notes is a great way of doing it. I used to do what you do, but nowadays I nearly always just borrow books from the library - so I have to keep my pencil to myself. Or at least I have to keep it off the book. Instead I make notes. I find it makes a huge difference in terms of my levels of comprehension. If I am going to read properly, I have also got to write :O)


message 7: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Shaun wrote: "Sounds like the US..."

Maybe not that odd. The UK always seem to try and follow the example of the US :O(


message 8: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Riku wrote: "Caroline wrote: "Riku wrote: "i guess it would be more relevant to someone right there. i got a headache trying to parse everything to my political context. :)"

For some reason I always thought yo..."


I think the reality is you come across as totally cosmopolitan....and yes, it can lead to mistakes. And no, I wouldn't dream of blaming you for the hassle of relocation! :O)


message 9: by Ted (new)

Ted Caroline:

1) I loved your lead-in paragraph, LOL!

2) Loved the rest of the review too!

3) you wrote: "My politics are more middle ground than Owen Jones's, who has strongly leftist sympathies, but even so ..." To that I can only say, we'll keep moving you to the left, until some day you realize that's where you are 8)

4) And who do I mean by "we"? I don't know, myself for sure ... and I think probably a majority (certainly not all) of our mutual friends might be playing that position - left-field rather than right-field at least (pardon the baseball expression).


message 10: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Ted wrote: "Caroline:

1) I loved your lead-in paragraph, LOL!

2) Loved the rest of the review too!

3) you wrote: "My politics are more middle ground than Owen Jones's, who has strongly leftist sympathies, b..."


Don't worry Ted, I think I veer more left than right! There is hope for me yet. I think perhaps in this country in recent years there has been less difference between the major parties than there has been in America. Although that is not true with the current set up. Ed Miliband - the current Labour leader - is a much stronger flavoured leader than his recent predecessors. I think he's a good man...


message 11: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" Caroline, didn't know you were from the UK, I have some heaving to do myself. Wonderful review, as always. I do believe the U.S. is all of this x 10!


message 12: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Debbie "DJ" wrote: "Caroline, didn't know you were from the UK, I have some heaving to do myself. Wonderful review, as always. I do believe the U.S. is all of this x 10!"

Many thanks Debbie. I always watch American politics with interest (& far too much ignorance) from this side of the water. I am a great fan of your president :O)


message 13: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" I'm embarrassed to say I don't really know how your politics work! I need to change that. Great to know you are a fan of Obama, me too!


message 14: by Ted (new)

Ted One difference I think is that we here in the States will spend probably a billion dollars (maybe more) and from now until Nov. 2016 electing the next president. When the British get around to having their next general election the time spent on that election will be a tiny fraction of 20 months, and I'm sure the money will be much less, though I don't know how expensive elections are in Britain.

Is this more or less correct Caroline?


message 15: by Caroline (last edited Feb 08, 2015 05:16AM) (new)

Caroline Ted wrote: "One difference I think is that we here in the States will spend probably a billion dollars (maybe more) and from now until Nov. 2016 electing the next president. When the British get around to havi..."

Whilst the States is pretty notorious here for the cost spent on elections, I didn't know the figures. I just found this on a BBC website...

"It (America) makes UK election spending look microscopic by comparison. A total of £31m ($49m) was spent by all parties in the last general election in the UK two years ago - making US spending 120 times as much, and 23 times as much per person. "

Now that is an eye-watering comparison!

Another extract from the BBC which might be of interest...

"Campaign spending in each constituency is strictly limited and candidates are required by the elections watchdog to keep a record of all expenses.

The pre-candidacy spending limit, during the long campaign, is £30,700, plus 9p per voter in county constituencies, and 6p per voter in borough seats."


Our next election is on 15 May 2015 - and campaigning started on 19th December 2014.


message 16: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" The Koch Brothers alone will be spending one billion to get a republican elected!


message 17: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Debbie "DJ" wrote: "The Koch Brothers alone will be spending one billion to get a republican elected!"

Good grief - it really is mind-boggling!


message 18: by Ted (new)

Ted Caroline, your 120 x spending figure points to a really ridiculous situation here in the U.S., but the number doesn't surprise me. From that aspect at least, I would say the U.K. is being far more sensible than we are.

As for your current campaign lasting roughly six months, that does surprise me. I had no idea that it was strung out over that long a period. Ugh to that.

As Debbie says, the spending has just spiraled completely out of control. We had a Supreme Court decision 2-3 years ago called Citizens United. (See here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens... for as long as you can stand it.) This decision was sort of the final blow against keeping corporate influence out of politics, and represented a culmination of a long string of decision which ruled in many different areas that Corporations have the same rights as individuals under the U.S. Constitution. (For the sad details of this travesty, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_perso...)

Of course many books have been written in recent years on both these facets of our corrupt political system.I'm not able to recommend any because I can't read them, they make me sick. (Just to be clear, I agree entirely with their criticisms of the system - that's exactly why they make me sick.)

I'm just waiting - I'm sure it is coming, when Corporations will find some legal argument that they are allowed to bear arms. Put that together with _this_ and an incredibly dystopian vision will form in your imagination, as we proceed further into the 21st century with global warming ratcheting up and up thanks to the immensely powerful and wealthy fossil fuel industry (there's the Koch brothers again!).

Sorry for the rant, but it seemed like a point of view you might be interested in.


message 19: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" Great info links Ted! I also feel as you do, cannot read an entire book on the subject, as I would lose ALL hope.I was actually surprised Caroline, that your campaigns last about 6 months, thinking how nice that would be. While our next campaign for President hasn't officially begun, the incessant talk begins 2 years in advance. Also, the truth of what the news media says no longer matters. Check this out, http://www.projectcensored.org/11-the...
Yup, the media can legally lie!


message 20: by Bill (new)

Bill Sounds like the type of book that would really piss me off! After what we went through in the Great Recession you'd think our elected officials would learn a lesson or two. NO WAY! It is always about the $$$. I think any democracy is a very fragile experiment and incessant degradation by BIG MONEY will destroy it no doubt :{


message 21: by Caroline (last edited Feb 08, 2015 06:14PM) (new)

Caroline Ted wrote: "Caroline, your 120 x spending figure points to a really ridiculous situation here in the U.S., but the number doesn't surprise me. From that aspect at least, I would say the U.K. is being far more ..."

All the concerns you voice here seem absolutely valid to me.

Over here a lot of us are very concerned about the implications of the EU joining the TTIP, for various different reasons. One of the most important being...

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisf...

Thank you for that!


message 22: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Debbie "DJ" wrote: "Great info links Ted! I also feel as you do, cannot read an entire book on the subject, as I would lose ALL hope.I was actually surprised Caroline, that your campaigns last about 6 months, thinking..."

Words fail me! Unbelievable.


message 23: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Bill wrote: "Sounds like the type of book that would really piss me off! After what we went through in the Great Recession you'd think our elected officials would learn a lesson or two. NO WAY! It is always abo..."

Yes, sadly I think you are right....


message 24: by Ted (new)

Ted Caroline wrote: "Ted wrote: "Caroline, your 120 x spending figure points to a really ridiculous situation here in the U.S., but the number doesn't surprise me. From that aspect at least, I would say the U.K. is bei..."

That's exactly it! Except it's Transatlantic on your side of the ocean, not Transpacific.

Here's a scathing piece published recently by a progressive gadfly, Jim Hightower, who who served from 1983 to 1991 as the elected commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture. http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/...

(I get the newsletter this artcle appeared in. I already knew a lot about the TPP, and knew it was bad. But I didn't know it was quite this bad. As the article points out, of the document's 29 major sections, exactly FIVE address things like tariffs and real "trade" topics. The other 24 are there to promote and ensure corporate profits - in his words, they "consist of various ways to "free" rapacious corporations from any accountability for the havoc they wreak and from any responsibility to the world community's common good." I was sick when I finished reading it.

(For Hightower, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_High...)


message 25: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" Ted wrote: "Caroline wrote: "Ted wrote: "Caroline, your 120 x spending figure points to a really ridiculous situation here in the U.S., but the number doesn't surprise me. From that aspect at least, I would sa..."

Amen Ted!


message 26: by Mikey B. (new)

Mikey B. Great Review and great follow-up conversations

It's like that in Canada - maybe just a little better - with our health system still "free" (or parts of it)

Didn't realize university was so expensive in the UK, starting to approach that here.

Worried for my country and the world what will happen if a Republican is elected in 2016...

Just recently read an article where it wasn't always the case that top CEOs were making - let us 500 times the salary of the average employee of their company. During the 1950's and 1960's it was far more equitable.


message 27: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" Hey Mikey...Caroline always gets the best conversations going!

I too am terrified if we get a Republican President, with the House and Senate both controlled by them. One of the first acts with the new Republican control was to repeal The Affordable Health Care Act...for the 56th time. Like Obama is going to sign it! Do they have no ideas of their own? Okay, what do YOU propose? I think what they propose is the building of a lot of coffins.


message 28: by Mikey B. (new)

Mikey B. Debbie "DJ" for President I say!!


message 29: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" Hahaha! Heads would roll. Of course, it would be a silent roll, as they are quite empty!


message 30: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" BTW, if it weren't so cold, I'd hightail it to Canada!


message 31: by Caren (new)

Caren I wish this country would try something like Canada's health care system. Recently I watched a revealing little film comparing Canada's healthcare to that of the USA:http://thehealthcaremovie.net/home/
(There is a small charge to watch the film, but the shorts at this site are free and are interesting too.)


message 32: by Bill (new)

Bill The Republican Party is the party of NO - they offer zero solutions unless said solutions are advantageous to the Koch Brothers and their ilk. The Democratic Party wants to spend and spend and spend until we drown in debt. We desperately need new ideas, somewhere in the middle. With an election year upon us, fat chance of that happening!


message 33: by Caroline (last edited Feb 10, 2015 12:37AM) (new)

Caroline Ted wrote: "That's exactly it! Except it's Transatlantic on your side of the ocean, not Transpacific.

Here's a scathing piece published recently by a progressive gadfly, Jim Hightower, who who served from 1983 to 1991 as the elected commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture. http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/...

(I get the newsle..."


That was extremely interesting Ted - and worrying! But many thanks for passing it on. The more these plans issue are brought out into the open and given an airing, the better.


message 34: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Mikey B. wrote: "Great Review and great follow-up conversations

It's like that in Canada - maybe just a little better - with our health system still "free" (or parts of it)

Didn't realize university was so expens..."


Glad to hear that at least parts of your health service are free. It seems the bottom line to me for a civilized society.

Yes - the salary and bonuses of CEOs has multiplied exponentially in the last few years, and I think it is truly disgusting. I've heard various arguments justifying why this is so - but I still just think they are a bunch of greedy, greedy piglets.


message 35: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Caren wrote: "I wish this country would try something like Canada's health care system. Recently I watched a revealing little film comparing Canada's healthcare to that of the USA:http://thehealthcaremovie.net/h..."

I find it incredibly difficult to understand how the health care system works in the US, or how Obama's initiatives have altered the situation. But I know that the old system caused an incredible amount of distress in the lives of poorer people, or those who were not able to get insurance. The whole arrangement seemed desperately in need of an overhaul.


message 36: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Bill wrote: "The Republican Party is the party of NO - they offer zero solutions unless said solutions are advantageous to the Koch Brothers and their ilk. The Democratic Party wants to spend and spend and spen..."


Well, I must admit I warm much more to the Democrats than to the Republicans. I see that you (like a lot of other people on flickr) are a keen fan of Elizabeth Warren. Your review was the first I had heard of her....


message 37: by Ted (new)

Ted Caroline wrote: "Caren wrote: "I wish this country would try something like Canada's health care system. Recently I watched a revealing little film comparing Canada's healthcare to that of the USA:http://thehealthc..."

Caroline, the health care system in the U.S. doesn't work. At least not very well. Though one's judgement on that would, I suppose, have to take into account the purpose of the system. In most advanced countries (and even in countries not "advanced") the goal of the health care system is (surprise!) to provide the people (all of them) with ... HEALTH CARE! In the U.S., the goal of the system is, (by actually providing some modicum of health care to a segment of the people) to provide corporations in the industry with ... PROFITS!


message 38: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" And, they are not required open disclosure of any costs in production or manufacturing of the drug. I take an injection twice a month, the medicine has been around for a long time. Price per month? $3000!


message 39: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Ted wrote: "Caroline wrote: "Caren wrote: "I wish this country would try something like Canada's health care system. Recently I watched a revealing little film comparing Canada's healthcare to that of the USA:..."

Yes, that makes total sense to me - and that is the complaint one hears from people over here, about segments of the NHS that have been privatized. Money and streamlining services comes to dominate other priorities - greatly to the detriment of the service provided (and often to the detriment to the people employed by these companies....)


message 40: by Caroline (last edited Feb 10, 2015 07:51PM) (new)

Caroline Debbie "DJ" wrote: "And, they are not required open disclosure of any costs in production or manufacturing of the drug. I take an injection twice a month, the medicine has been around for a long time. Price per month?..."

I guess one needs to factor in research and development, but even so, most pharmaceutical companies come across as massive cash cows. We recently had a documentary on television about how much money they spend on seducing doctors to use their products. On the more positive side, here in the UK we have a government organisation called NICE, which advises the medical profession on which are the cheapest/most efficacious medicines and medical procedures and routines to use. It's a kind of watchdog, offering practical advice in the face of all the balony put out by pharmaceutical companies.

I agree, transparency is always a good thing.


message 41: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" hey caroline, do you remember the name of that documentary? Always wondered how doctors are making money from promoting a specific drug. Also, only the UK would have a program called NICE!


message 42: by Caroline (new)

Caroline I'm sorry Debbie, I can't remember the name of the documentary. I tried googling it, but still couldn't find it. This article here seems to cover a lot of the same issues....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26....

Yeah, NICE sounds really cosy doesn't it!


message 43: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" No worries, thanks so much for the effort! Looking forward to reading the link. I just don't get how DOCTORS are making money promoting certain drugs. OMG, anti-depressants for everyone!

Cannot even imagine NICE in the U.S., and a government organization? We want government out of our lives. At least that's the line used for everything around here.


message 44: by Caroline (last edited Feb 11, 2015 10:38AM) (new)

Caroline Debbie "DJ" wrote: "No worries, thanks so much for the effort! Looking forward to reading the link. I just don't get how DOCTORS are making money promoting certain drugs. OMG, anti-depressants for everyone!

Cannot ev..."


The article explains how doctors benefit from promoting drugs for drug companies... I think it is done in the spirit of largesse (funding research etc), rather than grubby money changing hands, but it amounts to the same thing.


message 45: by Debbie "DJ" (new)

Debbie "DJ" Yes, just read the article. It said money is paid to doctors for "educational services." (So it looks good "on paper"). Also, really interesting, a provision of The Affordable Health Care Act which is little known is called Sunshine Act. In it, payments to doctors will be published on a public website. No wonder Republicans are doing everything they can to get rid of it! Wow, thanks for sending...really learned a lot!


message 46: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Debbie "DJ" wrote: "Yes, just read the article. It said money is paid to doctors for "educational services." (So it looks good "on paper"). Also, really interesting, a provision of The Affordable Health Care Act which..."

The Sunshine Act sounds excellent news Debbie!


message 47: by Bill (new)

Bill Caroline wrote: "Bill wrote: "The Republican Party is the party of NO - they offer zero solutions unless said solutions are advantageous to the Koch Brothers and their ilk. The Democratic Party wants to spend and s..."

Hey Caroline ... Senator Warren represents my state in Congress and truth be told I really didn't fully understand her until I read her book. There is talk of her making a run for President in 2016 but I don't think that will happen. I think her far left perception would hold her back. She has a lot of great ideas to protect the middle class from the 1% who run our nation but I just don't think the nation is ready for her. Another up and coming senator I really love is Kirsten Gillibrand from upstate NY. Her book was very enlightening as well. I am hopeful senators like these can push our government back to the center and embrace fairness and upward mobility for all without resorting to wealth re-distribution and burdensome taxation. Time will tell. The 2016 Presidential election promises to be a circus!


message 48: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Bill wrote: "Caroline wrote: "Bill wrote: "The Republican Party is the party of NO - they offer zero solutions unless said solutions are advantageous to the Koch Brothers and their ilk. The Democratic Party wan..."

I haven't heard of Kirsten Gillibrand either, but perhaps that will change as we near 2016.

We are approaching elections too, and much media time is spent blotting up election ranting issues...


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Again, remarkable summary and insight in "spoiler"! Thanks for the learning. Mostly, I reflected how Britain and the U.S. share the underlying political economy and the role of the Power Elite in employing similar processes (including tricks and always new "formulas" to justify and keep lawyers busy) that have undermined much sense of democracy on both sides of the pond. Sad.


message 50: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Christy wrote: "Again, remarkable summary and insight in "spoiler"! Thanks for the learning. Mostly, I reflected how Britain and the U.S. share the underlying political economy and the role of the Power Elite in e..."

Yes indeed.....


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