Election 2016

December 4, 2016

On Election Day the slumbering barbarians and Barbies of ignorance, once again roused by the clarion call of fear, stormed the polls and vanquished tolerance and economic recovery for a generation. Sated by their victory over a majority, they inhaled deeply the narcotic of righteousness. Will their leader leap onto the back of this unleashed tiger and bring it to heel for the good of all or will it turn on him and consume him as a sellout? Perhaps in a few months they will slip back into their coma. As the foggy blanket of hidden persuaders gave them the warm release of wetting their bed, they will coldly awaken to find their hopes smothered by evil greed. But there won’t be anyone left to show compassion. One only hopes they won’t continue to suck on the teat of bitterness and prejudice when it’s them In the block. 

Make America Great Again?

October 28, 2016

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,
the motto of the Trump campaign, is seen as an opportunity on the part of their opponents to ask, “WHEN was America great?” The most common response is the 1950s. That response allows the Left to spring their trap, “You mean the decade where the highest marginal tax rate was 98% and the private union participation rate was over 70%?”  But these questions don’t have the desired effect of separating any Trump supporters who might be working class, from the oligarchs (see Jane Meyers book Dark Money), who’s bugaboos are high marginal tax rates and union collective-bargaining. These conservatives respond with their stock answer that American was more moral and godly in that decade (see Thomas Frank’s book What’s the Matter with Kansas). They see this judgment as the reason God blessed the US with economic gains. When this response happens the Lefties usually just shake their heads and wander off. The Trumpers are impervious to facts. But the missed opportunity is to question the true morality and godliness of that time. Was it more moral to violently suppress demands for racial equality? Was it more godly to hide domestic and child-abuse? Was it more moral to treat women as second-class citizens? Was it more godly to cover up for religious pedophiles? Was it more moral to demonize gays? It was a pretty good decade, if you were a White, Christian, adult Male. They may be impervious to facts, but are susceptible to emotional connections. Think lizard brain. America is already Great but can get better for everyone.

GOP Pipe Dream

April 10, 2015

     After Reagan’s landslide in 84 the GOP thought they had finally recovered from FDR era. The traditional legs of the GOP, the 1% and the military-industrial complex, had been joined by the conservative “Reagan Democrats”. Since the 70’s those blue collar jobs in the Midwest had been under pressure and anxiety was rising. The new coalition was able to hang together enough to get Bush I elected despite the extreme right-wing doubts about him. The corporate media said it was the end of the Democratic Party forever. When Clinton won in 92 the shock was extreme. How could a Governor from a small state with marital issues win despite an emerging extreme media collaboration? While there was gnashing of teeth on the national level Karl Rove was working on the fix, bring the fundamentalist believers from their spiritual isolation to the secular political world. By bringing a blank slate Texas Governor with a famous last name to national attention Rove showed the way forward for a decade. Despite watching 911 occur on his watch and the Iraq war fiasco the Rove coalition used fear to get Bush II re-elected.
    But while all this mixture stewed, a much deeper problem for the GOP was emerging. By wining 41% of the Hispanic vote Rove realized the coming problem, demographics. The rising birthrate of minorities coupled with the passing of older white conservatives was growing a progressive majority and surpassing the GOP three-legged stool. Despite vicious voter suppression acts in the states , data driven gerrymandering and increased extreme social media the unthinkable happened, Obama won. The GOP refused to believe it and stalled everyday to thwart Obama’s agenda  and 60 vote Senate as long as possible. By delaying and filibustering his economic recovery they were able to blame him and convince frustrated voters to take back the House in the off year. When he was reelected by a greater margin they knew it was absolutely time to reach out to enough Hispanic voters to offset the loss of white conservatives. By photo-shopping a few brown faces in the group scenes  and repeating the Family values message to Catholic Hispanics the GOP hopes they have a new coalition.
    The fallacy of this tactic is that unlike the white Union voters of the 70s and 80s, who forgot that the Democrat policies has brought their prosperity , minorities have fresh experiences with GOP/TEA  policies. e.g. racial profiling, payday lenders, privatizing Social Security, voter photo ID, food deserts,  ripping the social safety net, border militias, maximum sentencing, crushing student loans, defense contractor payoffs, predatory home lending, gutted public education, public displays of intimidation by open carry advocates, executions of the mentally ill, routine murder of unarmed civilians by local cops and vigilantes, mass incarceration, outsourcing to China, etc. So unless the geniuses of Madison Avenue can package the purveyors of these practices as healthy for new voters, the GOP will fade like the Whigs. I can’t wait.

Strange Encounter

January 23, 2015

I attended the 2015 swearing-in of the Texas legislature. While waiting the office of a Rep. I saw a band of TEA partiers activists (TPA) return from the floor after the vote for house speaker. After the Turner Massacre (Scott not Nate) they were consoling themselves by plotting revenge on the defectors and promising to march to the offices of the Naughty Nineteen to express undying gratitude.  While they were waiting a Lyndon LaRouche activist (LLA) came calling in the long stream of lobbyists of all sorts. A TEA Party activist  (TPA) seated by the door asked who LL was. The LLA instantly lit up , after a long morning of rejections, I suppose. He said LL worked on the Strategic Defense Initiative under Pres. Reagan (hoping to ingratiate himself by invoking St. Ronnie). But the TPA interjected, “Star Wars” (which really surprised me since I thought in the TPA world only DC Liberals called it Star Wars). Undeterred The LLA proceeded to say that LL had been railroaded by Pres. G. H. W. Bush to jail for five years .The TPA added she disliked the Bushes too and asked what LL had been up since. This question really invigorated the LLA. He reached in his bag and pulled out a glossy brochure. He flipped open to the International Development Bank article. The TPA asked,  “wasn’t that like the IMF or the Federal Reserve “,which she really didn’t like either. The LLA reassured her the IDB was the opposite of those.   She said she only liked her local bank. At this point the LLA decided he had done all he could and excused himself. Another TPA ambled  over and asked what that was all about. The first TPA recounted the conversation but when she got to the part where LL was “railroaded” by GHWB, the seconded TPA responded that no one was railroaded to jail for five years without cause. I hung my head and feared for the fate of the nation.

Sequestration Rope-a-dope

February 26, 2013

The GOP is counting on the short game by letting sequestration go into effect. Claiming that they compromised by letting the tax giveaways to those with incomes over $450k the GOP believes they have boxed Obama in to accept only deep spending cuts. The effects of austerity will not be distributed evenly. Obama will now be able to state that spending cuts have matched the pain of lapsed tax cuts. It is time for those who have benefitted from the recovery to share and build the economy.

Out on a limb.

December 13, 2011

OK, I am going out a limb and predict Obama will win a second term. The question is then,  “what will he do in a second term”,  assuming approximately  the same Congressional split ( a little more Democratic House and a little more Republican Senate). Also assuming the economy has improved just enough to get him back in. Will the GOP just stall and obstruct knowing he’s now a lame duck? Will Harry Reid then take the gloves off, go nuclear, and let a majority move legislation and nominations in the Senate?  Will Obama hold steady (Rope a Dope) for more two years and hope an even better economy and demographics will give him a “mandate” in 2014? Will the ChiComms put a Technocrat in power to satisfy domestic demand for the benefits of the consumer society to take the internal pressure off?  Will there be a worldwide movement to prize the people over the bond market? Will the moneyed interest accept sharing the benefits of technology with displaced workers?  I don’t recall there being a mention of the unemployed on Star Trek, despite replicators and warp drives. While many of my generation wax nostalgic for the 1950’s, I can’t wait for the 2050’s and beyond.

 

Currently Reading: Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome by Anthony Everitt, Jazz  a History of American Music by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns.

Who’s Got the Numbers?

January 4, 2011

We have heard a lot since the election from the Republicans that “the people have spoken”. They claim the change in the House shows that the American public have flocked to their philosophy and rejected President Obama’s agenda. They point to the enthusiasm boost the the TEA Partiers brought to their party. But do the numbers actually support their claim? In 2010 the combined total of votes for GOP House candidates was 45,091,248. Which certainly is a large number of the 308,000,000 Americans. However, Obama in 2008 received 69,456,897 votes out of a smaller population. That’s 54% MORE than the entire GOP total two years later. This vote deficit was despite a massive corporate disinformation campaign, thanks to the Citizens United decision, and despite the . So some Obama voters in 2008 have voted for the GOP House candidate in 2010 but certainly not a “mandate” to reverse course and go back to the Bush agenda. To be sure some of the GOP vote was a protest that Obama had not pushed his mandate for “Change” hard enough.