Election 2016

   The victory of Donald Trump does not represent a victory of conservative or reactionary political views, policies and programs. Indeed, Trump himself has no real views, policies or programs. For him, is all about The Donald and his brand.
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Advice to Hillary

The latest Silly Season is weighing on me. I had the following dream last night

  Clinton has won the Primary and the General Elections. Between November and her inauguration, she has embarked on a a cross-country trek of ‘town hall’ meetings, ostensibly to thank the voters. For some reason, I am attending one of these meetings (What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment). Hillary picks me out of the crowd (my Abe Lincoln appearance, probably) and invites me to share the stage and talk with her, tell her what I think she needs to do, where I think the country needs to go. Mentally licking my political chops, I agree.

  You will make history as the first Woman President. That is largely due the change in the way Americans treat gender nowadays and is vindication of the efforts of a lot of women – and a few men – over the decades. It’s not you.

  You should understand that you won the election not so much on your own merits or positions on the issues. You won because enough voters realized that Donald Trump is a 4-door, brass-plated, air-conditioned, turbo-charged, 12-cylinder, 5-speed asshole. They were scared shitless at the thought of what he might do as President. Many – on both sides of the aisle – are also worried about what you will do as President.

  Much has been made of the fact that Trump’s campaign fed on and fed racism, bigotry and xenophobia. But the bottom line on his support and the support for Bernie Sanders should tell you that a great many Americans realize and resent that they have seen their income, privacy, freedom, security and future worsened or destroyed by the policies and practices of the Money Elite, many of whom contribute heavily to your financial undertakings and campaigns – and we both know they expect the favor to be returned. Screw the bastards.. They richly deserve it.

  A woman President was inevitable. It happened to be you. If you want to be a great President, you need to address the real problems of people, both here and abroad. Some of the solutions are not under your direct control but will require action by Congress and the Courts, but even there your leadership could wield influence, as a ‘bully pulpit’ and through appointments in various departments, particularly Justice and Defense.

  Get big money out of politics. Finance elections from tax money and limit spending to some reasonable amount. Ban lobbying. Entirely.. Proposals for government action should never come from corporations with a financial stake in that action. It’s bad enough that when the government puts out an RFP, those who respond will naturally toot their own horn, but we don’t need retired generals/admirals or bankers bullshitting the selection process via the Old Boy Network. Stop it.

  Implement Single Payer Healthcare by simply expanding Medicare to everyone. The procedural and IT infrastructure is already in place and functioning pretty well. At most, it might require an upscale of computer hardware. Healthcare, like education, clean water & waste disposal should be the right of every citizen – and on a not-for-profit basis.

  Stop trying to control the entire world. We are no longer the envy of the world we once were. Instead we are much of the world’s worst nightmare. Our wars, our financing and support for any petty dictator that we approve of, our CIA-led coups in various countries for decades should stop. It is true hypocrisy to criticize and even hate refugees who are are fleeing the hell we created or support. When we destroy Iraq, Syria, Libya, we can’t complain about the consequences. Stop it.

  Stop supporting privatization of things which are inherently public. Prisons and schools and water systems are not being privatized to improve efficiency but to enrich those with friends in power. Stop.

  End the ineffective (though profitable) war on drugs. Just stop it. Legalize and regulate (reasonably) all drugs.Empty and issue a blanket pardon for the thousands of people in prison for posseesing pot. If that’s their only rap sheet, wipe the record clean. And always help them reintegrate into society.

  Instead of prosecuting whistle blowers, prosecute the high-level, wealthy and well-connected criminals. The financiers responsible for the economic meltdown (and who have continued to profit). Politicians for war crimes, torture, the lies that put us in Iraq, the indiscriminate use of drones. Stop it.

  End the militarization of non-Federal law enforcement. All it does is enrich crony capitalists and facilitate an authoritarian mindset among officers who are supposed to be public servants and are increasingly acting as public masters. Stop it.

  End the NSA’s and DOD’s over-the-top spying on innocent people. Put all wiretaps and snooping back to requiring a traditional search warrant – person(s); item to be searched for; reasonable cause – before a judge. And if that overwhelms the judges, it might just indicate too much snooping. You think maybe?

  Note that most of the items involve stopping what we’d doing. It’s enough to make one contemplate the virtues of a government too small to make the mistakes we have inflicted on our people and the world. Unfortunately, the modern world does require Big Government. Stopping the misuse of government power would meet stiff resistance from those who profit from the status quo. But perhaps if we stop wasting time, money and effort on the wrong things, we would be able to spend our time, money and effort on things like improving peoples lives (at home and abroad) and limiting or even reversing Global Warming – for the sake of your new grandchild and and my great-grandchildren.

  You will make history as the first woman President.
  You could make history as a great President.
  Or not.
  It’s up to you.

Village drools over Obama as George Herbert Walker Bush's second term

The village loves a politician who can fuck the people. In their view the cycle of the Nixon era is “right ward ratchet, centrist clean up.” Nixon is cleaned up by Ford and Carter. Reagan is cleaned up by George Herbert Walker Bush and Clinton. George W. Bush is cleaned up by Obama. They are happy with this, because, while they really might prefer not to have a homophobic and xenophobic America, their theory has always been that power and connections will buy them an exemption from social restrictions, on say, drug use, paying taxes, homosexuality, racial integeration, and contraception – they get the money.

This is why grand fiscal reform aka economic human sacrifice, is such a big deal. Since the 1983 change from Social Security as a pay as you go proposition, taxing inflation and demand spreading paying for it, to Social Security as a regressive tax, to be used for anything at all, and then not repaid later, the great obsession with the inside has been to find a way to cram down Social Security benefits. Privatization would, of course, be best, since that would allow the inside to directly sell snake oil investments, similar to the great rip off which is a 401k plan. However, second best is to spend the money in ways that the inside likes, and then cram down the public in the name of “responsibility.” Just so you know, popping out nuclear powered aircraft carriers, losing foreign wars, jet fighters which have no enemy, and endless expansion of subsidies for corporations are “responsible.” Doing things which save money and make people’s lives better are “irresponsible.”

Obama, in their view, could be the perfect Democratic President: spend on term cleaning up Bush’s fiscal mess, his foreign policy mess, cram down Democrats on their favorite program, force people to buy health insurance at an enormous profit to insurance companies, and then be washed away by a corporate Republican who goes back to tax cuts for the wealthy.

Continue reading Village drools over Obama as George Herbert Walker Bush's second term

Unity Goes Obama for the Repbulican Party, Progressives Cheer Getting Screwed

The centrists get it. This political fight is between the “centrists” and the people. They want it all, they want it all, and they want it now. Liberals have to get bupkis before Obama gets a single Republican vote. If liberals were smart, they would draw the line here and tell President Obama that if he makes more concessions, they walk, and he gets nothing from them and will have to govern as a Republican from here on in. Last time that happened was NAFTA, and the Democrats are still smarting over how long they were out of power. So it won’t happen now. So America, bend over and lube up, because you are about to feel the Unity Pony.

Let’s be honest, because right now the blogosphere is packed wall to wall with people who want something, a job, a program passed, influence. I’m not looking for these things, and would not get them even if I was. Instead, since burning down to the numbers, important or small, is what I do, let me do the numbers.

Number of Republican Votes for the Stimulus Bill: 0
Number of Depression Dog defectors: 11

Obama isn’t a Democrat giving things up to get Republican votes, he’s a conservative mugging liberals for a conservative agenda that includes:

1. War in Afghanistan
2. Paulson’s version of TARP where taxpayers buy all bad assets.
3. Slash social security and Medicare
4. Tax Cuts
5. No Comprehensive Health Care, but huge subsidies for Health Insurance companies instead.

Taken as a whole, Obama is offering small concessions to the left, in return for trillions of dollars that are coming directly out of the pockets and veins, of ordinary people. He couldn’t even come up with a bit of money to help poor women pay for birth control pills. But he could cave on Pay-Go. Pennies for the people, pounds for the powerful.

Right now, your liberal leadership is selling the country out for little things. Game theory has something to say about this, it is called the stag hunt.

Continue reading Unity Goes Obama for the Repbulican Party, Progressives Cheer Getting Screwed

The Bell Tolls for Us 2.5

Before getting to the deep historical basis, it seemed worthwhile to summarize the political backdrop of why it is important to see political economy through a new lens, namely the reality of the political exhaustion of the dominant neo-conservative ideology of the last 30 years. We have emerged outside of a political realignment, which has not yet found its dominant ideology. Just as 1848 represented a nascent realignment that would only later bear fruit, and 1912 did as well, 1992 should be seen as the political realignment moment which is only now finding an ideological realignment.

Realigning moments are not always clear at the time. Nixon’s victory in 1968 became a realignment in 1972. Dukakis’ defeat of 1988 was actually the seeds of a realignment, which was confirmed by Clinton’s 1992 victory. While much was made of Clinton being a Southerner, the Democrats did not win southern states in 2000 and 2004, but they held on to the other realignment that Clinton augered in. Since 1992 New England and the Pacific West have been reliable members of the Democratic political coalition. This is important because California had been the epicenter of Republicanism’s rise post-war, giving them two Vice-Presidential nominees, Warren and Nixon, and four of their terms in the White House. Eisenhower won California twice, Nixon three times, Reagan twice, Ford once, George Herbert Walker Bush once. In all after 1948, the Democrats would carry California only once, in Johnson’s 1964 landslide, until Clinton in 1992.

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Continue reading The Bell Tolls for Us 2.5

A War of Words

The New Republic declares war on Feldman, with the New York Times turning what is minor publication into a major platform. But let me start with the truest thing in the attack – it isn’t a review because it never correctly states what is in the book:

To believe that the ”œenemy” frame is impossible for us to resist ”” that our behavior as citizens flows, robotlike, from the way we are manipulated by buzzwords ”” is to see us as Shakespeare saw those laughably malleable Romans in ”œJulius Caesar”: they are inspired first to hate Caesar by Brutus’ speech and then to love him by Antony’s, in the space of minutes. This scene is terrifying because it reveals that even though Caesar has just been assassinated to preserve the Republic, the Republic is already dead. Its people are unfit for it. So, too, with us, if our minds are governed by keywords.

Yes, Eve Fairbanks, the old Republic is dead, and the minds of people in a media state ebb and flow around keywords. But it is not our minds, but our actions which are so governed. The attack by Fairbanks disguises a profound agreement with Feldman about what, and a profound greed and arrogance on the part of Fairbanks. There is a brew of self-interest here, and that she is unable to sort out her parochial interests from her disagreements with the author, shows how muddled and confused thinking is at the highest levels of our society.

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Impeachment in Absentia

With the House voting to approve subpeonas in “purgegate”, we have entered a new phase in constitutional crisis. What had been a rolling absence of boundaries, and a series of failures of checks and balances, is now a specific conflict, similar to the moment when hearings on Watergate began. This is the bottom of the curve that leads to a general repudiation of Bushism by the American public, backed by specific acts that show that the people who have implemented the latest wave of the neo-conservative state have been disgraced.

As Churchill reminded us, it is not the end, nor the beginning of the end, but it may well mark the end of the beginning. The point where the initiatve has shifted, not between mere partisan forces, but between different views of society. Views that have ben in increasing conflict since the 1930’s.

The moment of action is upon us. This is an impeachment in absentia of George Bush, and cannot be allowed to let pass.

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The Bush Bottom

If you look at the indespensible Dr. Pollkatz you can see that there is a very strong indication that Bush is now at his floor of support. This is not to say that he cannot break through this floor, and indeed, it will be when this base finally abandons him that his power to act dictatorially will collapse – but as long as the economy holds out, this is what the shape of the body politic is going to look like outside the beltway. When you see an anti-Bush super-majority in both houses of Congress, you will know that the elites have caught up with the rest of us. That is, were it up to the public, you could probably get a constitutional amendment passed against at least the worst of what Bush has done.

It’s about the gallupliers.


I’ll explain. Continue reading The Bush Bottom

Isikoff: Plame was still covert

Michael Isikoff is keeping his nose to the grindstone, while most people think of Plame as a few scandals ago – before Katrina, before the oil spike, before Alito, before Murtha. He has been going through court documents and reports that Fitzgerald has indeed established that Plame was still covert when she was outed. More importantly, he has located Libby’s testimony that “Cheney told Libby” about Plame. This is old fashioned reporting, and deserves recognition in an era where the standard of professionalism in journalism has been openly questioned because of signal failures to do the digging. Isikoff digs into the court documents, and finds some bones.
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The Constellation of Impeachment

In the last week the nation has turned the corner on impeaching George W Bush. It has gone from a cry of protest and anger, to being the subtext of what is said and done at the highest levels of government. The tumblers are whirring, and one by one falling into place. The force of gravity is now on the side of it occurring, rather than it not occurring. Impeachment is a Trial by Constitution, and the search for probable cause has begun.

The reason for this is that scandals do not happen, they are allowed to happen. Either they are the product of desperation, as a side that is defeated in a political bout grabs for any weapon to use in a last ditch attempt, or they are the product of a general disgust and desire to force out a government that has lost all connection with those it governs.

Once the star of impeachment was only only glimpsed in the distance, now the planets are aligning. Inching closer with each new confirmation that the case for going to war in Iraq was a crude forgery – the “Italian Job”‘s source is now established fact, not speculation.
Continue reading The Constellation of Impeachment