Friday, January 27, 2017

Trans Pacific Partnering

Here's an interesting take on the TPP.
But yeah. Looks like the Chinese won that one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Race and the anti-class

"Identity politics" and the "political economy" is essentially the schism between Blacks and Whites in America.

Marx is pretty much the father of all modern thought on the political economy. Even anti-Marxists have to go over to Marx's house to pay respects before moving on to complain about his math, or how his analysis of the present system held up but his predictions for the future all fell apart. And mostly, ever since Marx, economists of the left and right have wanted to put everything under an economic header.

So things like racism and sexism were always put under economics, even by left-leaning economists. To them, racism and sexism exist to support the economic hierarchies. So we have to get rid of economic oppression before anybody can really be "free". And, in fact, sexism and racism are just part of capitalism and once we're rid of them everything will be just all right.

And, of course, this has turned into "If we fight sexism and racism and homophobia now, we're just wasting time because we really need to be fighting banks [or something]."

But my treason is thus: 
  • Racism and sexism are completely unexplained by Marx or any other governing philosophy
  • Homophobia: also unexplained by Marx.
Even Bernie Sanders has missed the bus on this one when he complained about "identity politics" and how he's sad the Democratic Party "can't talk to the white working class".
“One of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics" -- Bernie Sanders
See, "beyond" means that we get to the "superior" thing which is the political economy. Or in other words, "what white people care about."*

Vox put it best when it said:
Sanders’s comments represent a flank of the Democratic party that partly blames Clinton’s loss on her strong embrace of race and gender issues, which could have turned off white male voters in particular. Meanwhile, the marginalized groups who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats fear being thrown under the bus, as they have many times before, so that the party can curry more favor with white Americans.
(This is where I put out that Sanders more often says things which contradict his quote above. He's coming along, albeit too slowly for my tastes.)
White progressives, well-versed in traditional left-wing notions of how workers trump (heh) women and blacks, are completely down with marginalizing a majority of the population as long as white men get good jobs. And that's because traditional leftism and actual anti-racism are mutually incompatible. 
It is increasingly clear that it was neither white economic anxiety operating in isolation nor the white working class as a monolithic group that won Trump the White House. Rather, it was the fact that Trump’s campaign, in an extension of at least five decades of Republican strategy, was able to use overt white racism and white racial resentment to exacerbate and manipulate misplaced anxieties about relative group power and privilege in American society.
Historically, to be white was to be the quintessential American. In the United States, whiteness also proceeds from an assumption that white people are always and forever to be dominant and consequently the most powerful of all racial groups. This is white identity politics as both a practice and ideology. It is also the not-so-subtle meaning of Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again!”
People aren't racist because it helps them economically. The capitalist ruling class isn't actually helped by racism (note the revolt among businessmen when Gingrich targeted affirmative action.) But there are a lot of racists. Most of these racists are on the right. But we ignore the racism on the left at our peril.

*I'm caveating that Sanders seems to be able to be talked out of this nonsense though. His hard-core supporters are a different matter.

Monday, November 28, 2016

My letter to selected Electors in the Electoral College



Dear <<name>>,

I am writing you with great concern regarding the influence of the Russian Federation in the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

I recognize that your election implies that you may vote for Donald J. Trump when the Electoral College meets. And I recognize that from a constitutional perspective, choosing to not vote for Donald J. Trump is a matter that necessitates grave pause and reflection. However, for the first time in my 50-odd years I believe we have come to the time where our country will seriously be imperiled by a president-elect.

The Russian Federation and its security services have repeatedly attempted to influence the American presidential election by using teams of hackers and cyber warfare agents aimed at servers housed in the United States.

Although Russia initially denied interfering in the election, the Vladimir Putin-controlled Russian media made clear their preference for Trump throughout the campaign. Trump has repeatedly expressed his admiration for Putin. Trump’s indications that the U.S. will no longer support NATO, the Kremlin’s bold moves to put missiles back in range of Germany, and Trump’s willingness to allow Putin’s government to operate unilaterally in Syria create, for me, a stunningly dangerous precedent and put the United States in clear and present danger.

It is my sincere belief that honorable electors, such as yourself, have a duty to prevent a president from taking office under the shadow of such foreign influence. I ask you, with my allegiance to the United States and not to a party, not to vote for Donald J. Trump for president of the United States of America.


Andrew Bellware
Note that I didn't get terribly specific about Russian influence. The reason is that every dang day something new comes out. I mean, it's a real nightmare. I figure that by the time any Electors get this letter there will be more information about the closeness of the Kremlin to Trump. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Soooo Much Better Without the Clintons. So much. Soooooo much.

This Guardian editorial about how thankful we should be that we've gotten rid of the Clintons.

First of all, "moving the Democratic party – the party of FDR – away from what it once was and should have remained: a party that represents workers. All workers." -- now THAT's some ahistorical nonsense. Because the DNC was majorly split on race. Remember that? When the Democrats were the party of segregation? 

Huh. Any difference in coverage you can see here?

Secondly, complaining about how there was a delicate balance between the party that represented the capitalist class and another that represented workers is also ahistorical and has a very strange relationship to reality. "This delicate balance ended in the 1990s." Really? What else happened in the 1990's. Oh wait! I know! The Republican monopoly on the US Presidency ended in the 1990's.  Before Bill Clinton the DNC had only held the Presidency 4 years in 22. He ran the only way he could get elected. And it worked.
Thirdly -- we're making some wild suppositions here that if HRC ran a more left-wing campaign that somehow she would have won. The American Left loves to think that -- but every Democratic president (including FDR) has run from the right of the party. 

I mean what's going to happen? "Oh thank god we got rid of those Clintons, now let's elect Jim Webb"? Every single time the DNC loses and the country shifts to the right. Every. Single. Time. The next DNC President has to run to pick up those right-wing votes.

Note, for instance, that Obama's health-care plan was to the RIGHT of Hillary Clinton's 1992 plan. That's what he ran on as a platform in 2008. (HRC has since adopted the Obamacare outlook.)
"Many blame Reagan and Thatcher for destroying unions and unfettering corporations. I don’t." Well, why not? What union-busting did Bill Clinton do? The incredible level of damage to labor under a Republican president stacking the NLRB is staggering. 

Finally, Bill Clinton actually closed the School of the Americas. The American left HATES to admit this. That the nightmare of fascist revolutions in Latin America was brought almost to a complete halt by Bill Clinton. GHW Bush tried to start it up again in Venezuela but his coup failed. (And no, HRC did not support the Honduran coup.)

The shortness of memory is disturbing. The Left doesn't really remember when George HW Bush lied about intelligence in Iraq, manufactured intelligence, outed intelligence officers who opposed him, and started a war we're still in. But they "remember" a time when America the Democratic Party was great

Gimme a break.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Quite Worrying

If we follow the GW Bush administration example, there will be about 9 months of Trump's buffoonery and incompetence and high-hilarity followed by a dangerous attack on the United States which sweeps him into greater power and war.
The incompetence of the Administration is what brought us 9/11. At all levels the Bush Administration was warned of an attack by al Qaeda, the FBI knew some of the operatives and the CIA knew they were in the country. But the Bush Administration did not want to focus on terrorism because that had been what the Clinton Administration had done.
The incompetence of a Trump Administration could bring us anything. And the press, as they did with Bush after 9/11, will be eating out of his hands even more than they are now.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Germany in '33

If indeed we are standing on the precipice of Germany in 1933, where a racist demagogue will be swept into office, we are certainly in a Constitutional crisis.
Let's not normalize fascism.

We throw around terms like "fascist" and "traitor" all the time. But those words do actually have meaning. Until now, we've never actually had a fascist President. Sure, through some tortured logic you could say that someone had some authoritarian impulses, but not actual fascist ones. Not Nixon or Ford or Reagan or either of the Bushes. Some might have been war-mongering, some might have done spectacularly illegal things, but non have been actually fascist.
Until now.
And we (or more accurately, the Right) say people are "traitors" all the time. But treason is a very very specific crime in the US. The Constitution even defines it. And now we actually have a President Elect who is a puppet of a foreign state.
Now, it's also true that the FBI is in the bag for Trump. So much so that it's clear they will look the other way when Trump's Kremlin masters start pulling the strings. Arguably that, too, is treason. But not hyperbole. My guess is that they will be good at covering it up.
There is merit in having the Electoral College refuse to elect Trump. This is an actual Constitutional crisis but unfortunately the "good" people of the country are the ones who want to hold it together and there's a feeling that we can just ride this out
Even when the country starts "registering" Muslims. 
Relying on the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center to protect us is problematic as wars can be started with impunity as there will be no war crimes trials. The courts can be loaded and there will be no repercussions for any domestic or foreign actions. And then by the time a reasonable President is brought in they will have to spend all their political capital fixing the mess. 
A theoretical fix, which is actually enshrined in the Constitution even though it hasn't really been used, is the Electoral College. This would be a drastic measure. But a racist demagogue who is a puppet of a foreign state, indicates a drastic time. 

Otherwise we need to ask: what exactly do we do when Trump orders the Night of the Long Knives?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Just When You Think the Election Has Jumped the Shark...

This is really beyond the pale. I mean, this is really deranged fantasy bad political noir paperback novel nonsense, where the ACTUAL candidate is an ACTUAL dupe, patsy, and agent of Russia. 

I mean... really? This is actually happening? After all those years of the right sneering "If you love socialism so much, why don't you live in Russia?" they're actually throwing their lot in with this? 

Getting stuff to blackmail Trump with can't be, I suppose, terribly hard for a state actor